Graphic Glass: Development of creative approaches to expressions of ethnicity.
Sarmiento, Jeffrey R (2011) Graphic Glass: Development of creative approaches to expressions of ethnicity. PhD thesis, University of Sunderland.
This study frames and records creative and technical processes behind a body of original glass artworks inspired by ethnic contexts. Foregrounded by my practice as a glass artist and post-colonial experiences as a Filipino-American, the content of the work is rooted in expressions of hybrid ethnicity. Encounters with foreign cultures stimulate the creative process in my work, an approach that is inspired by contemporary art in its various appropriations of ethnographic methods. This is also an important and emerging discourse within the field of glass art. The graphic image in glass offers potentials for using unique qualities of the material to express this content in artworks. This research aims to identify, develop and demonstrate how the graphic image in glass might be used to express aspects of ethnicity. The methodology consists of subject finding through personal experiences, interpretation of cultural contexts, and their visualisation through developing techniques to fabricate artworks in glass. Three case studies address specific cultural sites as the source of inspiration for glass artworks. A field study in the Baltic States observed Soviet-era architecture and interpreted its social impact. A study of ethnographic artefacts in Sunderland Museum revealed local connections to historical and contemporary Northeast England. The development of a layered plan explores one way of making a commissioned cultural map of Liverpool. My contribution to knowledge is the interpretation of a multiplicity of perspectives in ethnic contexts, a working method utilising graphic images, layered and encapsulated in unique glass sculptures that convey complex narratives. These are created through a novel combination of screenprinting, waterjet cutting, kilnforming and glass grinding techniques. As a model of practice for meaningful making, this research adds to conceptual discourse and technical innovation in the field of glass art.
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