Sunday, March 29, 2009

Sunlight & Water Worn Beach Glass

Whilst searching for pebbles the other week we found a huge amount of water worn glass at Half Moon Bay, Heysham. We collected as much of it as we could and then pondered some ideas for how to use it.

Although I usually only use natural materials I felt that water worn glass found on the beach still fell within my self imposed rules for my land art. There is so much glass on that beach that I think making a sculpture from it would communicate how much of it is there and what different colours are present. Also the fact that it is water worn means that making a sculpture is possible as the glass is easy to handle.

Half Moon Bay sits along the edge of Morecambe Bay, a massive natural feature which means that the coastal drift is prevented and the pebbles don't keep travelling along the shore as would happen on open coastlines. My theory then is that there is so much glass there as it has become trapped and has no open coastline on which to spread and is therefore much more concentrated than on other coastlines. When we were on the east coast earlier in the week there was some glass there but not much. That is another reason I have drawn the conclusion I have.

Secondly most of the glass is clear (or milky because of the water wear), with lesser amounts of green, brown and then very little of blue and light green. This is reflected in the different amounts of glass piled on each rock. Finally the glass on the left was stained pink by using the iron rich rock present there, crushing it to a powder and then staining the glass.

My first idea was to pile up the different colours between two rocks to make a stained glass window effect, but it kept falling down and I couldn't predict where the sun would strike it the best and the tide was coming in fast. So eventually I decided to pile them on rocks so they would catch the sun and reveal the colours.

Despite not using natural materials, for me this sculpture has all the elements I want in land art. It reveals to me an aspect of that beach, making me wonder why there is so much glass there. How clear glass is common yet blue is very rare. My ideas were constrained by what the material would allow me to build, the incoming tide had a bearing on how long I had and the movement and position of the sun were important to the final effect.

That is what Land Art is all about for me.


EmandaJ said...

Hello Richard,

Love the sea glass. I enjoyed your inner discussion on what to do with it and how to feature it to its best effect in the sun. Thanks for sharing it and the lovely photos.


Teri said...

I feel the need to comment because I am blown away at how there are threads that seem to run through blogs without being planned. I posted on my blog on 27 Friday and I also spoke about beach glass!!! I would love to have all that you found at that beach. We also have a beach named Half Moon Bay which is located south of San Francisco. It is one of our favorite places. I LOVE your art. Are photos or prints ever available for purchase?

Richard Shilling said...

Hi Emanda - Thanks so much - I'll be in touch soon.

Teri - Even stranger I was reading your blog last night and your thoughts about art and what is legitimate! I am a beliver in synchronicity and the interconnectedness of all things. So who knows!

I was meaning to reply to your other comment about prints on the Seed Tree entry, but hadn't got around to it yet. I am trying to sort out some prints and also a book that will be available online. Work in progress and I'll be sure to let you know when I have something available. Thanks so much for your kind words, it means alot.


Teri said...

Yes,Richard. The longer I live the more I realize how all things are connected. Please DO let me know when you have something available for purchase. I will definately want to know and buy. I am entranced by your work and look daily. I wonder how you manage to make so much, make so many, and they are all so different. Incredible...really!