Abigail Reynolds: Estover

30 August - 1 September 2019

I have used sheet glass in my work for years, often to foreground the act of looking. We look so often at the land through the glass lens of a camera and see the resulting photograph on a glass screen. ‘Estover’ offers a moment to reflect upon both how this alters our perceptions of the land and the materiality of glass itself, which we so often handle and look though, but itself remains largely unexamined. Abigail Reynolds

‘Estover’ is a weekend of making and discussion, which centres on an experimental glass melt, using ash from locally gathered kelp ash mixed with beach sand. The glass made in the melt will be blown and rolled into sheets of glass that have a very specific address. Using pre-Roman glass making techniques, a glass will be made that is a synthesis of place.

Reynolds initiated this project having read archaeological surveys of the Helford River, as research for the performance she created on the Autumn Equinox at Tremayne for the Groundwork programme. She found that kelp pits were located along the Helford in Calamansac woods, to produce kelp ash for the glass industry in Bristol. Kelp ash for glass was first produced in the Scilly Isles. This industry ran from the 1680s until at least the 1880s when the ash was chemically superseded. She hopes to reproduce medieval methods of glass making which simply used plant ash to bring down the melting point of sand to liquify it into glass.

This event is supported by the National Lottery through Arts Council England.

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I’m aware of how extractive industries in Cornwall have historically marked the land but also shaped attitudes to the land. My work offers a moment to consider ourselves in relation to these legacies. There were kelp pits along the Helford River used to produce ash for the glass industry. I am fascinated to think that if I could learn to make glass in this way I could look through this glass at the land which produced it, knowing it is a synthesis of the materials that surround me. Abigail Reynolds

Essays (Downloads)

Open 13 April - 2 November 2019, Tuesday - Sunday 10:30am - 5pm