SHINING glass objects have given a new look to the normally historic ambience of Bede’s World in Jarrow.
Showcasing a varied selection of artworks, A Journey in Glass and Ceramics is an exhibition featuring work by MA students from the University of Sunderland.
With exhibits on show both in and outside the museum, the display explores the full artistic possibilities of glass and ceramics, with students drawing on facilities available at The National Glass Centre in Sunderland.
Wearside-born Jonathan Smith said the exhibition project started last autumn, when MA students began working towards the Jarrow exhibition.
He said: “For me, a lot of glassmaking is about technique and the bare essentials of what’s possible in glass.
“I’m interested in classic forms and also with creating objects which look functional and have a purpose.”
Appropriately enough, Mr Smith’s exhibits include a glass plate and vessel, which were both created at The National Glass Centre.
Asked what the future holds for a glassmaking artist like himself, he added: “I would like to either take a PhD in glassmaking or get involved in research projects.”
Glass objects both large and small feature in the Jarrow exhibition, which is open at Bede’s World until April 29.
Artist Li Yuanman has created the largest object in the exhibition, called Memory Record: Coka Coka, 2012.
Inspired by a dark childhood memory of a crow living in a cage, the artwork is made up of an upright chair, encased within a large frame, decorated with crows fashioned from glass.
Exploring the idea of human entrapment, the artist explained how the image of the crow inspired the work, stating: “Sometimes, I thought he was dead, lifeless, not a live crow.
“Now when I think of this, I realise he needed freedom to fly.”
Artist Christine Sinclair explores what can be achieved by mixing silk and colours in shapely glass objects, while fellow student Chi-son Chang is inspired by what he called “chaotic and unpredictable” patterns of colour.
Glasgow-born Alex Brown opted for an outsize artwork, which takes pride of place on a grassed area outside historic Jarrow Hall at the museum.
Called Growth Type, the clay and porcelain creation is a highly tactile piece, exploring the idea of movement and expansion.
Alex said: “Ideally, I would like to work in public art.”
Although inspired by the relationship between humans and the animal kingdom, Runming Li creates glass-made human ‘uniforms,’ which catch the eye in the exhibition’s main area.
Holly Shand, meanwhile, takes her inspiration from her Scottish roots, while Amanda Elliott is interested in capturing – to use the title of her exhibit – Frozen Moments.
Hanging down from the ceiling of the museum, like an intricate lamp, a highly complex creation in glass by artist Nuttawadee Bhamornsuwarn is aimed at reflecting a stress-free existence.
The Vessel of Memory is the title of a piece by Gareth Fuke, with several glass containers representing a metaphor for storing and recalling memories.
A Journey in Glass and Ceramics has been organised in partnership between Bede’s World, The University of Sunderland and The National Glass Centre, with the exhibition curated by Professor Sylva Petrova.
Running side-by-side with the glass and ceramics exhibition is a separate display called Second Glance – Alternative Narratives on Peace and Conflict. Taking up an alcove area at Bede’s World, Second Glance uses work by an international field of artists to explore apartheid, geopolitics, the natural world and the imagination.
Artworks in the display examine everything from the brutalities of life in South Africa to the Kashmir earthquake of 2005.
Another partnership project – this time, between Bede’s World, The Peace Museum, Alchemy and the Ryedale Folk Museum – Second Glance is open until May 7.
Call Bede’s World, in Church Bank, Jarrow, on 489 2106 for more details about both exhibitions.