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Title: Glass as ink : seeking spontaneity from the casting process
Author: Labatt, Sheila
ISNI:       0000 0004 7426 0075
Awarding Body: Royal College of Art
Current Institution: Royal College of Art
Date of Award: 2018
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This practice-based research addresses internal form in cast glass. That is, ink- like imagery, which is wholly contained within clear, colourless glass. For the purposes of this project, ‘ink’ refers to liquid ink as is used in Chinese brush painting and calligraphy rather than to ink applications such as those used in print media. The aim is not to use ink itself. Rather, it is to emulate ink, rendered inside glass, while exploring the material similarities between the two media, including their liquid properties and their ability to be worked opaque or translucent. The project examines the interface between control and chance; where the artistic process ends and the unique properties of glass take over and are governed by heat, time and gravity. It also addresses the transformation of two- dimensional line drawing and ink wash into the third dimension. My research question is how the kiln and furnace casting processes can best be exploited to render the fluid, gestural and expressionistic immediacy of brush and ink painting, three-dimensionally, in solid glass. Following 14 years of studying and making art in Korea (1997‒2003) and China (2003‒2010), I have developed an affinity for brush and ink painting and, more specifically, for Chinese Grass script calligraphy and traditional landscape. This project aims to explore various methods of capturing apparent gesture and spontaneity in cast glass, in the form of ‘ink’ abstractions that evoke these styles of Chinese painting. My methodology includes identifying and isolating the elements that characterise Chinese brushwork in calligraphy and landscape painting, which are intimately linked fine art forms in China. Studio tests include manipulating different types of glass to create a dynamic, rhythmic, assured and graceful ink aesthetic, interpreted in the third dimension. I use flameworked inclusions to explore ink-like line and experiment with glass powders to evoke different intensities of ink wash. All tests are recorded in detail and are used to anticipate and loosely control glass movement. My research into Chinese brushwork characteristics is used to identify a framework within which the studio work sits. The variety, order and combination of techniques used to create the work constitute original knowledge in the field of cast glass. My method for reinterpreting the characteristics of Chinese painting, including line quality, ink wash, composition and balance, embedded three-dimensionally within the framework of cast glass, also contributes new knowledge. Based on systematic research and analysis, the terms ‘casting’, ‘moulds’, ‘spontaneity’ and the ‘third dimension’ are examined and defined anew.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: W770 Glass Crafts