Last week I was lucky enough to go behind-the-scenes at The Canberra Glassworks again for a new studio shoot with Christine Atkins. I love the Glassworks, if you haven’t been you really must go. The workshop floor is open to the public for viewing and you can also learn different techniques through workshops. I’m personally a bit terrified of all the complicated machinery and red-hot, molten glass – but I’m scared of my straightening iron. You can watch the artists at work from a safe distance and marvel at the complexity of this art form.
I first met Christine about this time last year while shooting the studio visit with Emilie Patteson, Christine was the extra pair of hands Emilie needed on the workshop floor for shaping and sculpting her pieces. This time I was here to learn Christine’s process, thoroughly different from Emilie’s.
While Christine does work with blowing molten glass, today she was demonstrating the surprisingly simple process she use to make her stunning black and white textured tile pieces. You start with black glass cut to size and prepared for the kiln. Finely ground, powdered, white glass is shaken onto the black sheet through a sieve. Christine then tilts the sheet of black glass and carefully trickles water onto the white powder creating a natural delta effect. The powder clings to the rougher surfaces of the glass and runs away from the smoother. It’s such a simple technique with an incredibly beautiful effect. The tile is then put in the kiln until the white powder fuses to the black tile and leaves a beautifully sandy texture. “This series was developed in my residency at the Canberra Glassworks and during the Talking Water residency from Craft ACT: Craft and Design Centre. I have been exploring water systems and the replication of these patterns that water makes in glass powder to create this series. I have focused on examples of watercourses and patterns made by water that I observed in the Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve.”
Christine strikes me as a very clever and dedicated young artist. You only have to look at her CV to see how involved she is with the Canberra art and design scene. Each body of work varies in medium and subject matter, though remains focussed and thoroughly researched. She never lets an opportunity slip her by, I personally find it very inspiring. In my experience, artist’s emerging from Canberra are a great pleasure to work with. They are professional, dedicated and make fantastic, unique work. If you’re thinking about studying art or design, ANU is definitely worth a look!
Minutia features the most recent works by Christine Atkins across several of her series. Moments in time experienced within the natural world captivate Christine and inspire her work. Simple phenomena witnessed in nature become the launch pad for her ideas. The exhibition opens this Thursday with an opening night on Friday June 10th from 6-8pm – a fantastic way to kick off the long weekend!