'The beginnings and endings of all things' - Jessie Sheffield
WAES glass-making student Jessie Sheffield explains how the 'beginnings and endings of all things' inspired her amazing glass pieces as she prepares to exhibit her work at Perspectives, the 2013 WAES summer arts exhibition.
Jessie is one of two WAES creative arts students who have been accepted to study for a Masters degree at the Royal College of Art starting this September.
Tell us how you came to study the art of glass-making.
Art, specifically sculpture, has always been what I wanted to do. A glass taster course changed everything for me - I bought a kiln, rented some workspace and set about seeing what I could do.
Casting glass is a very labour intensive process - you have to go through long winded methods that essentially haven’t changed for 3000 years, working with wax, sand and heat.
Getting the piece out of the kiln is just the start, then the hand grinding with grits for hours and hours to bring it back to shine begins. You either love it, or its not for you, but the facilities, quality of teaching and technical support in the glass department at WAES are second to none.
What will you be focussing on now that you have come to the end of your course?
I have been accepted to study for a Masters degree at the Royal College of Art starting this September, so that’s the next two years taken care of!
“The facilities, quality of teaching and technical support in the glass department at WAES are second to none.”
What was your inspiration behind this piece of art and what do you consider to be your key influences?
There are two strands that are always present, to greater or lesser degrees, in my practise, that of colour as a physical concept occupying its own space and the use of art as a means to communicate the increasingly complex ideas at the edges of our scientific understanding.
Before the King James bible, the considered ‘truth and science’ of the age was locked up in Latin and, not only could the average man not read, he certainly couldn’t read Latin and so this world knowledge was accessible in its entirety, only by a few. It was art, sculpture and reliefs, architecture and painting, that attempted to convey the core messages and the nature of the ideas to the people when the ‘study’ of it was beyond their grasp.
As the specialised and impenetrable language of quantum science becomes further removed from relate-able nature and our everyday comprehension, there needs to be a sharing of concepts, theories and ideas to those whose ability to comprehend them is no less but that do not have the ability to ‘read’ the language that it is written in. These ideas are what underpin my work.
Creatio ex Nihilo
‘Creatio ex Nihilo’ (above, left) by Jessie Sheffield is one of the featured pieces of the Perspectives exhibition. The name roughly means ‘something from nothing’. It is one of a pair - the other being ‘nihil infinitum est’ (pictured above, right) – and together they roughly represent the beginnings and endings of all things.
Jessie's stunning glass creations are featured at Perspectives, this year's WAES summer arts exhibition at the Mall galleries, SW1, from 17 to 22 June. Find out more