Particles-Linda Ethier: Forest Nest
Forest Nest: Glass, 5" tall x 10" Diameter
Since founding Ethier Glass Studio in 1969 Linda Ethier has become recognized internationally for her pioneering, innovative work with fused and kiln cast glass. Throughout her career Linda’s work has focused on the interface between the self and the external environment. Her latest series explores the role of memory, of how things forgotten and remembered, discarded and re-found influence that interface. Her sculptures are held in many private collections and she has received numerous commissions for private, public and corporate site specific installations. She has taught her glass working techniques extensively, both nationally and internationally. She lives and works in Portland, Oregon with her husband, the poet, Don Hynes.
My work is an exploration of memory, of things forgotten and remembered, discarded and re-found. The feeling experienced in the moment between sensory input and cognition, that indescribable sensation immediately preceding conscious awareness. I use images from the natural world of things gathered and cherished since childhood: feathers, leaves, bones, egg shells, twigs, and the odd mysterious trinket, saved as treasures to be revisited, to be seen and pondered during quiet moments; the inconsequential detritus that connects us to the enigma of existence; objects that when viewed evoke long forgotten memories. All of the objects in these pieces are made entirely of glass. They are created using an ancient glass technique called pate de verre, a process that involves using finely ground particles of glass meticulously packed into molds and fired to temperatures between 1250°F and 1550°F create a cohesive whole. This pate de verre process allows me to create objects that are delicate, highly detailed and luminous. The very nature of pâte de verre contributes to the narrative effects and adds to the power of the finished sculpture. The translucency and small particle size of the glass are evocative of the cellular structure of the natural objects recreated in my work. I make the objects in each piece individually, then gradually “grow” the piece over several firings, adding more objects with each firing. This building up of the layers of leaves mimics the processes of senescence, the natural aging of cells, and abscission, the last phase of senescence, that allows the plant to shed its’ leaves in preparation for dormancy and renewal. It allows me to illuminate these wonders of nature in close focus. Glass has long held a mythical, almost magical presence within the collective psyche: glass houses, glass slippers, through the looking glass, broken glass. It is a paradoxical material, although hard and solid, light magically passes through. Glass is strong and enduring yet fragile. I use glass as a physical metaphor, a material that, like the treasure of life itself, requires conscious physical awareness and care for it to survive undamaged.
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