The focus in the 2nd year of both Hans’ and my residency was on each artist producing a public art commission for the Pennywell All Care Centre. Built by NHS Lothian and the City of Edinburgh Council, through the Edinburgh Health and Social Care Partnership, the new health centre in Muirhouse was opened in December 2017.
Each of the 52 pieces of glass in this interactive art work is unique in its colour and shape, formed in workshops in the glass department of Edinburgh College Art. The glass in this permanent installation was hand blown by people from the local community and NHS staff who work in the new building. Supported by glass maker Ingrid Phillips, these workshops were incredibly exciting and creative. When all these highly individual pieces come together they form this ‘community’ of remarkable dynamic glass lights. The glass makers have engraved their signatures on their pieces, underlining the artwork’s sense of local identity.
‘I wanted to work with glass for this commission to create an artwork that explored a material that is both fragile and robust at the same time, qualities that could be seen as similar to our own humanness. Each piece is unique, all the makers choosing their own colours, shapes and blowing their own glass. These differences come together to create a beautiful collection of colour and light. Key to the artwork is that it responds to people’s presence, the lights give back some energy to the people and to the space.’
The artwork is interactive, responding to service users and NHS staff movements below. Light animations are triggered and play out within the lights, colours ‘chasing’ around the lights, waves of warm glows and more. Waves of rich colours and reflections impact the new health centre’s entrance space.
There are several incredibly talented artist and designers that supported my commission, and I appreciate their existence! Collaborator on this project is awesome designer/maker Mark Kobine, who also worked with me on the Roost Project last year. Mark designed the beautiful gantry which supports the glass and coded the interactive element using Arduino. Glass making was supported by the also awesome, Ingrid Phillips at Edinburgh College of Art and glass grinding was done by fab Meg McGregor and super Vicky Higginson. Structural Consultation was from ace David Narro Associates. I worked very closely with Graham Construction on this and appreciate all efforts.
The making of the glass is documented on the Gless Hoose Collective website. GCH is a group of people in Muirhouse who live in the area, brought together to work with me in producing the interactive light installation.