Portrait by Trevor Viney
My work focuses on the mechanics of growth and the survival mechanisms of plants and creatures living in challenging environments. I’m fascinated by the way colonies of sea anemones can survive 250 metres under the ice shelf in Antarctic waters, or how indigenous Australian water reeds thrive in brackish lagoons. In my most recent work, I create microenvironments to highlight this wonder of organic growth, so the viewer can appreciate the way a plant pushes roots down and grows leaves to fill its home despite environmental limitations. The plants selected for each piece are efficient filters in times of drought and flood. They are cornerstones of resilience and restoration and represent a sense of hope and intention to overcome.
I melt, pull, twist and blow the glass using a torch that burns at 1200 degrees. It is a thrilling and visceral process fraught with power and danger and the constant threat of breakage. When correctly manipulated, I can transform the glass into a plant sanctuary. The finished glass piece is planted up, and the plant is slowly cultivated. Things can go wrong quickly between the fragile glass and the delicate plant. In this work, as in our lives, there is a tension between the environment and the stewarding of the growth within. I want the viewer to remain curious and cautious about what conditions make the living plant thrive.