Napa Lighted Art Festival – Glass, Pyrography and more

The Ordered Universe symposium series at the Napa Lighted Art Festival, two weeks ago today, began with two sessions, one from Cate Watkinson (University of Sunderland and Watkinson Glass Associates) and Giles Gasper (Durham University). Speaking on Glass Continue reading

Napa Lighted Festival – from Cate Watkinson

As an artist inspired by glass and light, particularly in scared spaces, when I was asked to join other members of the Ordered Universe team to be part of the Napa Lighted Festival, it was an invitation I just couldn’t refuse. The whole event is shaping up to be amazing and I am really looking forward to a totally immersive experience during the festival.

Working as part of the team to create a series of talks and demonstrations around the festival theme of ‘Beyond’ is proving to be a fantastic opportunity to show case some of the ideas I have been exploring through the Ordered Universe (and beyond).

Together with Giles Gasper, we will be speaking on the theme of ‘Beyond Belief’. We’ll be telling a story of glass and light framed through the lens of historical stained glass, the medieval gaze and the context of the sacred space. We’ll go beyond this to show how glass artists such as myself are inspired by the past, building on this to reach into the future to create new works in colour and light. I am particularly looking forward to the experience of speaking in the grand environs of the wonderful gothic architectural space of the First Presbyterian Church in Napa.

Less than a month to go!

Preview 9: The Greatest Scientist You’ve Never Heard Of … at the Napa Lighted Art Festival 19 Jan 2019

Members of the Ordered Universe team will be in California in January 2019 for the Napa Lighted Art Festival, bringing our favourite blend of medieval history, modern science and mesmerising art to the west coast of the USA for the first time.

This is the ninth in a series of posts designed to tell you more about each of our events at the Napa Lighted Art Festival and how you can get involved.

Continue reading

Preview 4: Horizon and Beyond the Horizon at the Napa Lighted Art Festival 17, 18, 19 Jan 2019

Members of the Ordered Universe team will be in California in January 2019 for the Napa Lighted Art Festival, bringing our favourite blend of medieval history, modern science, and mesmerising art to the west coast of the USA for the first time.

This is the fourth in a series of posts designed to tell you more about each of our events at the Napa Lighted Art Festival and how you can get involved.

Details

Event: Beyond the Horizon
Dates: 17, 18, 19 Jan 2019
Time: 5pm–6:30pm
Location: Napa County Historical Society, 1219 1st Street, Napa, CA 94559
Tickets: We strongly recommend booking tickets for this event. Tickets are free and are available via Eventbrite. This event is 45 minutes long and will run twice within its timeslot.

Click here to reserve a space via Eventbrite for Thu 17 Jan 5pm–5:45pm activities.
Click here to reserve a space via Eventbrite for Thu 17 Jan 5:45pm–6:30pm activities.

Click here to reserve a space via Eventbrite for Fri 18 Jan 5pm–5:45pm activities.
Click here to reserve a space via Eventbrite for Fri 18 Jan 5:45pm–6:30pm activities.

Click here to reserve a space via Eventbrite for Sat 19 Jan 6pm–6:45pm activities (note later timeslot).
Click here to reserve a space via Eventbrite for Sat 19 Jan 6:45pm–7:30pm activities (note later timeslot).

Horizon: Projection show – with supporting activities Beyond the Horizon

Find out about the science and history behind the projection piece, Horizon in this event that lets you meet the creators and find out how to transform medieval ideas into modern art and research. Dedicated to medieval European science, interpreted through art, history and science, the project’s research underpins Horizon. Discover the medieval cosmos; the wider work of the project on natural phenomena from colour to comets and sound to sight; the science of perception; and artistic interpretations in glass, sculpture and film.

You can learn more about the Horizon projection here. Horizon will play every night of the Napa Lighted Art Festival on the Goodman Library. Watch the show and then come inside to find out how it’s made.

These activities are part of a series curated by the Ordered Universe Research Project and Durham University, UK, for the 2019 Napa Lighted Festival – Beyond.

About the Presenters

The projection piece Horizon featured in the Napa Lighted Art Festival was designed and created by Ross Ashton and Karen Monid of The Projection Studio.

DSC03655Ross Ashton was born in Sheffield in 1961. Having trained in photography and theatre he moved to London and began to work in video and slide projection. After spending four years in Paris working with a variety of visual media, he began specialising in High Power Projection in 1992. His years of experience have produced an instinctive understanding of the relationship between artwork and structure, light and surface, object and subject. The size and scale of his work has led to his being commissioned for both stand-alone works and broader based large shows designed and created for national and international audiences. His specially commissioned ‘son et lumière’ have received world-wide attention. His reputation for large scale spectacular pieces mean that he has created projections as commemorations for governments around the world. He has also collaborated with other artists and lighting designers in the production of shows from Rock & Roll to classical concerts and theatre. His expertise has also been called on for numerous film and television productions. His work has been seen by millions throughout his career and never fails to be thought provoking, moving and exhilarating.

DSC03695Karen Monid is an audio artist and designer, creating soundscapes and sound installations. She works in many fields including outdoor public events, arts festivals and exhibitions and has an extensive background in theatre and production. She is an experienced researcher and scriptwriter and is particularly skilled at working collaboratively with project partners and groups. Her skills include creating sound works for son et lumière productions, incorporating her deep knowledge and long established expertise in architectural projection.

The event Beyond The Horizon will be delivered by the Ordered Universe team.

Preview 1: Beyond Belief at the Napa Lighted Art Festival 17 Jan 2019

Members of the Ordered Universe team will be in California in January 2019 for the Napa Lighted Art Festival, bringing our favourite blend of medieval history, modern science and mesmerising art to the west coast of the USA for the first time.

This is the first in a series of posts designed to tell you more about each of our events at the Napa Lighted Art Festival and how you can get involved.

Continue reading

Ordered Universe at the Napa Lighted Festival 2019 – Programme

 

So, in January, you’ll be able to catch a number of Ordered Universe team members at the Napa Lighted Art Festival. We’re hugely excited about the opportunity which was instigated by Ross Ashton and Karen Monid of The Projection Studio (with whom we have worked very successfully as followers of this blog will surely know). We’ve been working Continue reading

Ordered Universe at Leeds International Medieval Congress, 2019

Ordered Universe will be taking part in the 2019 Leeds International Congress, the largest forum for sharing research on the Middle Ages in Europe. The project has a lot to offer on the special conference theme of ‘Materialities’  so we proposed four sessions and a roundtable, all of  which were accepted. The Ordered Universe activities will take place Continue reading

Ordered Universe in California 2019: Napa Lighted Festival

 

January 2019 – if you’re in or around Napa California, drop into the Napa Lighted Festival which runs in the second two weeks of the month. Various members of the Ordered Universe team will be participating with a series of talks and activities in the afternoons and evenings of the 17th, 18th, 19th. We’re thrilled by the invitation to work for and with the Festival, which came about through Ross Ashton and Karen Monid of The Projection Studio. With a festival theme of Beyond, we’ll be working with Ross and Karen on a new projection show drawing on Grosseteste’s cosmological treatises: Horizon. On the Six ‘Diffeertiae’, On the Sphere, and others will feature in the new piece, under development at the moment. Taking research from the seminar-room to a different audience, in partnership with artistic collaborators is a fascinating and exhilarating experience. We’re very much looking forward to working with the Parks and Recreation Department in Napa to bring the best that we can to the city. Continue reading

Ordered Universe Creative News 1: Colour Columns I, II, and III on tour

Some news to share on further developments in the creative arts projects connected to the Ordered Universe. This, the first news-post of three, features Cate Watkinson’s Colour Columns exhibited as part of the Illuminating Colour exhibition (2017-18) at the National Glass Centre, University of Sunderland. Smaller versions were exhibited at the Light Embodied exhibition at Pembroke College, University of Oxford. Now three of the four original columns are now installed in the Cheesburn Grange sculpture garden, near Ponteland, to the north-west of Newcastle.

Cheeseburn Grange, originally a grange farm of Hexham Abbey, now owned by the Riddell family, gives support to creative projects and exhibits sculpture in the gardens. These are open to public on selected weekends, and by appointment. Colour Columns will be in place for the year, and Cate will be measuring the effect of the light embodied by the columns over the course of the year. If you’re in the North-East, check out the website for the best times to visit: it will be worth it.

Cheeseburn_Grange_-_geograph.org.uk_-_111000.jpg
Alan Fearon / Cheeseburn Grange / CC BY-SA 2.0

What Robert Grosseteste states in his treatise On Colour, at its conclusion recalls the skill of the artist in knowing the material, knowing the effect of light, and knowing how to manipulate both. Colour Columns at Cheeseburn will repay a visit, most certainly

What is understood in this way about the essence of colours and their multiplication, becomes apparent not only by reason but also by experience to those who thoroughly understand the depth of the principles of natural science and optics. And this is because they know how to make the diaphanous medium either pure or impure, so that in it they can receive bright light, or dim if they prefer, and through the shape formed in the diaphanous medium itself they can make scarce light, or increase that same light at will; and so through skilful manipulation they can show visibly, as they wish, all kinds of colour.

Grosseteste, De colore, ed. and trans, Dinkova-Bruun et al. (2013)

 

 

Elemental! Hot Glass, Volcanoes and Bubbles

 

 

Just over a week ago Ordered Universe (28th June) members joined colleagues from the National Glass Centre, most of whom are part of the project, but it was brilliant to meet new colleagues as well including Joanne Mitchell. And we were joined by other colleagues from Durham University’s Department of Earth Sciences, Drs Ed Lllewellin and Fabian Wadsworth, specialists in volcanology. The meeting opened with a collaborative reading of Grosseteste’s beautiful treatise On the Impressions of the Elements, in which the question of heat and the nature of bubbles are investigated. These were all pertinent themes and phenomena for the gathering, and a lively conversation took place, showing again how stimulating these gem-like treatises from the early thirteenth century are, 900 years later.

 

 

We then enjoyed our first introduction to the hot glass studio, with a fabulous rendition of Grosseteste’s treatise in glass by Colin Rennie. Bubbles blown, and attached, and the piece came together before our eyes, in all the wonderful shimmering, changing colours of the glass as it cooled. And we had our own try and drizzling molten glass onto damped paper to create a variety of effects…abstract, pungent, a lot of fun, and a very interesting experience in learning to manipulate the medium (which you have to do fast!).

 

Lunchtime, a different location, and a different sequence of talks – catching up on the various lines of shred interest and the legacy of previous work and exhibitions, a paper by Josh Harvey on his work on material perception with material from medieval Norwegian polychrome sculpture provided by Kaja Kollandsrud, and then a demonstration by Fabian and Ed of volcanoes in action. Not with lava but with syrup and a cherry favoured carbonated drink. Glass and its properties, naturally in volcanoes and as worked in the studio, hot or cold, provoked a long discussion: the similarities and differences in the scientific and artistic approach to the medium were striking, and a lovely example of knowledge exchange.

 

 

Then came our time in the hot shop again, to make paper-weights. This time, we had the experience of holding the glass, shaping it and learning to hold the equipment in the right place (because metal conducts heat…easy to forget in, well, the heat of the moment), The feeling of the heat coming off the ball of viscous, moving, radiating material which we were attempting to mould was extraordinary. And it made Cate and Colin’s skill all the more awe-inspiring. The results were kiln-cooled, and look very passable – all credit to our teachers and guides. We then watched Colin make a first draft of a piece of glassware inspired by medieval models…more on that to come.

 

A super day, one to treasure, and full of possibilities for future collaboration. We’re very grateful indeed to Claire Todd for organising, and to Cate, Colin and all at the National Glass Centre for sharing their experience and time. And can’t wait to see Grosseteste in glass, again.