Our artists inside the industry is with UK based artist Hannah Gibson, she started her art journey whilst studying Geology she became fascinated by the mineralogy and the reactions between elements, metals, and compounds. This sparked Hannah’s interest in the alchemy of glass, she explored further and that turn into her passion. Her first projects consisted of stained glass windows, which later led to a passion for fused glass, lampworking and glass casting.
In 2015, Gibson enrolled in an MA in Glass at The University for The Creative Arts in Farnham. Graduating in 2017, and became an Artist in Residence at the same university in 2018.
I took my first course in glass, and it was love at first sight. It was exciting to be able to interweave my passion for glass and geology; for me, it was pure alchemy.
Consequently receiving awards from the Contemporary Glass Society Glass Student Awards in 2017. Hannah captures the nostalgic imagery of childhood, to expose hidden narratives, through cast glass sculptures. She is renown for craft, having her works exhibited inn National Liberty Museum in Philadelphia, also being featured in publications such as Glass Art Magazine, and The Metro.
In this interview, we are getting to know more about Hannah, the lady behind the sculptures, her inspiration, her creative process and more.
Q: First things first, why do you do what you do?
A: My current project is called Recycling Narratives, Whispering Sweet Nothings. Passionate about sustainability and recycling, using 100% recycled glass and found objects. Capturing the nostalgic imagery of Childhood, exposing hidden narratives, through cast, sculptural Glass stands at the core of my work. Sweet Nothings are unique Cast Glass figures, usually found in pairs, whispering ‘Sweet Nothings’ to one another. What are they whispering? “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot. Nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” Dr Seuss, The Lorax.
Q: What is your inspiration?
A: I first studied Geology at Edinburgh University, from 1993 to 1997. Growing up in Abergwyngregyn, North Wales, it was hard not to develop a fascination for geology, with views of Snowdonia behind, and Anglesey and the Menai Straits in front. After graduation, whilst working as a geologist, I took my first course in glass, and it was love at first sight. It was exciting to be able to interweave my passion for glass and geology; for me, it was pure alchemy.
My first projects consisted of stained glass windows, which later led to a passion for fused glass, lampworking and glass casting. Looking to experiment even further with this material, in 2015, I enrolled in an MA in Glass at The University for The Creative Arts in Farnham. Graduating in 2017, I became an Artist in Residence at the same university in 2018, still exploring glass and its applications.
In 2015 I started working on a project, which became called, Recycling Narratives — Whispering Sweet Nothings. Through this project, my intention was to bring people together. Share my passion for glass, sustainability, and recycling. Demonstrate how glass can be recycled in an engaging and artistic way. The figure was an immediately identifiable shape, and by keeping the figures the same, it meant that people soon saw beyond the shape and began to see, and question, the material itself.
The ‘Sweet Nothing’figures open a dialogue about the recycling process that makes society question where the material comes from and the transformations it goes through. I have recycled everything from mobile phone screens to marmite jars, jam jars, perfume bottles, car windscreens, marbles, milk bottles, television screens, glass from bus shelters, drink bottles, medicine bottles, and other artists’ glass (that they would otherwise be disposing of). The list is endless, as is the potential for recycling Glass.
These figures unite people across all age groups and from all sorts of backgrounds. I have given talks in schools, universities, glass societies, and craft groups, inviting guests to question and contemplate glass as a material that can be recycled again and again. If they leave with a new insight into Glass, I have succeeded.
Q: What is your creative process when you’re creating?
A: I am led by the narrative behind the Glass itself.
Q: Which is your preferred surface for working on?
A: Every part of the Glass casting process requires a different surface.Essentially it is very highly organised chaos!
Q: What would you say is an integral part to the work of an Artist?
A: Patience. Endless patience.Working with recycled Glass is a labour of love. However I wouldn’t change it for the World.
Q: What is the reason behind your use of the minerals?
A: I am absolutely passionate about working with 100% recycled materials. From the mineralogy behind the Glass itself, to the inclusions.
Q: How do you know when a piece is finished?
A: I have never known a piece to be completely 100% finished… there is always ‘just a little bit’ more cold working that could be done.
Q: What is your favourite piece from your collection?
A: I love the collection as a whole, as it brings people together.
Q: How did you feel when you did your first solo exhibition?
Q: What is the most rewarding thing for you about being a part of the Art Industry?
A: The strong sense of community. There is such a joy to be able to share something you are passionate about.
Q: Is there anything that worries you about how social media is affecting the promotion of artists?
A: My comfort zone is to be covered in grit, coldworking.I can no longer count the number of times I have arrived home, face mask on my chin, safety goggles on my head, grit quite literally everywhere.I try to show this side of the process via social media:
The grubby, yet magical, side to the process. I feel that it is important to be true to yourself, especially on social media. It is often too tempting for Artist’s on social media just to show the finished, final piece. However there is an authenticity, an honesty and integrity to allowing people to follow your journey.
Q: In your opinion, do you have any advice for artists on how to manage their social media image? Or does it even need managing?
A: My advice would be to be true to yourself.
Q:Do you have any advice for artist starting and don’t know where to begin?
A: Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.
Q: What would you say is the best way of getting your art noticed in the age of the internet?
A: Be try to yourself and the rest will follow.
Q: Are there any places where you feel Art and Technology really shouldn’t overlap?
A: As hard as it is, I am trying to embrace everything.
This was Sean Winn for Art Plugged emerging artists season, Sean is definitely an artist to keep an eye making waves with art community. You can keep up to date with Sean’s works, exhibitions and more by following him on Instagram and heading over to his website.