As the Olympic torch makes its way around Scotland and the rest of the UK, the Glass Baton created for the special Glass Games begins its journey.
Glass Games 2012 is a nationwide Olympic-inspired programme of events that celebrate the skills of glass artists, taking place across the UK from June 1 to September 30. Glass Games has been brought together by The Contemporary Glass Society (CGS).
The stunning glass baton links the events for Glass Games 2012. Seven major venues will host the glass baton, created especially for the Games by artist Bruce Marks.
The baton starts its journey today at the CGS’ exhibition, Glass Games: a desire, a dream, a vision, held at the Gallery in Redchurch Street, London from 13 to 23 June 2012.
Bruce Marks, who was commissioned by the Contemporary Glass Society, based the design of his torch-like baton on the colours of the countries competing in the Games, the shared striving for gold and the red of the Olympic flame.
The baton was made using the cup casing method. A layer of golden yellow colour was blown into a cup shape and kept warm in the kiln. Two gathers of clear glass were then coated in a special dichroic layer to give it sparkle. This was then used to pick up the cup, coating the diachronic layer in golden yellow. Clear glass was gathered over this and the piece sculpted into the baton shape. Once annealed, the baton was cold worked and polished to reveal the inner layers of colour.
Bruce has won a silver award in the Craft&Design Selected National Awards, and one of his works, Horned Vessel, is in the public collection at the Turner Museum of Glass. He has also created an installation of glass raindrops for the London Wildlife Trust.
After leaving the Glass Games exhibition in London, the baton will be hosted by the National Glass Centre in Sunderland for two events.
From here, the baton travels to the National Waterfront Museum in Swansea for Games, an exhibition of glass panels, organised in conjunction with the British Society of Master Glass Painters.
Next stop is Grass Games at Parndon Mill in Harlow, where workshops, studios and design offices will be open for demonstrations and making sessions. Designs by the pupils of a local school, based on the Olympic Games, will be cut into 30 acres of grass in the adjacent meadows and will be viewable from the Stansted flightpath. Glass artists Heike Brachlow and Jon Lewis are constructing a camera obscura to be fitted on the 40-foot mill chimney so that visitors can enjoy the work without taking to the air.
The baton will then be carried to Norfolk’s Belfry Arts Centre for Snakes and Ladders, a unique take on playing games and on the ups and downs of life. The exhibition shows some of the best contemporary glass artists, who will be stretching themselves intellectually and physically to try out new ideas and new techniques.
Last but one stop in the marathon journey is The Ruskin Glass Centre in Stourbridge for Medallions, an exhibition based on imaginative interpretations of the Olympic medal by leading glass artists. The event, which runs from 22 August to 15 September, includes a treasure hunt and an opening event.
The baton finally comes to rest in Scotland at North Lands Creative Glass, Caithness, for the international conference, Give and Take. The Scottish Glass Society has collaborated with North Lands to present a special Glass Games event that includes hands-on sessions and demos on throwing, flameworking, sandcasting, lobster creels, collaborative engraving and architectural puzzles.
The Give and Take conference explores conceptual and stylistic exchanges over time, and between different cultures and media.
Find out more about the North Lands Creative Glass 2012 international conference.
The Glass Games 2012 festival, supported by supported by a National Lottery grant from Arts Council England, aims to bring the artistry, innovation and sheer brilliance of glass to more people than ever before.
Pictured: Glass Games Baton by Bruce Marks - photo Ester Segarra
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