Emma Rawson – Reflections on materials, process and space

My immediate response to the theme Sensorial Object was of one relating to ongoing interests to communicate and explore a remembered sensation.

Sensations of time spent in a quiet front room.  Sitting in with a terminally ill loved one.  I was intensely aware of it at the time and ever since.  The ability of human memory to store and absorb an experience, to accommodate it

I am interested in storage, I love hoarding programmes on television. I am intrigued by our attachment to things as signifiers of human relationships and mediators of memory.  I am interested in the spaces these things occupy more than the actual thing itself.  For me what remains is the sensation of the space where these ‘things’ I recall resided …

Glass is a difficult material to manipulate and form.  I have become very aware that my interactions with it are through the intermediary of tools and machines.

It is heavy yet very fragile.  It can be opaque, translucent, transparent and reflective.  It can appear soft and be razor sharp.  It reflects, bends and conducts light.  It is brittle, technically demanding and unforgiving.

I see glass as a very quiet almost silent material, with an interior realm

I am drawn to the challenges and love the problem solving that the material demands.  How to support the glass while the heat work is completed, how to do the cold work, how to cope with the weight if making larger pieces.

When I am grinding glass I count the number of moves around the flat bed grinder.  I rotate the direction after 25 or 50 cycles and do this up to eight times for each side of the object I am working on. I have to stay very aware of the glass and my posture and the position and pressure of my hands but I can slip into a very quiet mental zone with the sweeping rotations and counting.

When I am grinding and polishing work I am aware of the movement of the arms, the sound and rhythm of the machine, the correct flow of water over the glass.


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