PARTICIPATORY SPORT FOR CRAFT ARTISTS
Jenny Ayrton captures miniature wonderlands in molten glass. Based on often overlooked everyday scenes she creates stage-sets upon which viewers may project their own story. A full-time mum six-days of the week she takes inspiration from the domestic world, often finding that the little things trigger the best ideas; A washing line blowing wildly on the first day of spring, a couple sitting quietly under a tree in the park, a door ajar giving just a glimpse of what lies within.
Once a week she gets messy, transforming her observations into physical pieces of art. She is attracted to the transparency and weight of glass, and enjoys the logic behind the processes involved in casting. She uses sand-cast or kiln-cast techniques depending on the form that she wishes to create.
Many of Jenny's designs play with the viewers' perception of positive and negative space in terms of the physicality of the piece itself; for example a solid glass room split by a hollow wall and door. These are achieved through a kiln-cast process, creating a plaster mould into which the glass is melted. Jenny particularly enjoys the problem solving involved with developing these pieces.
Creating her sand-cast glass is an adrenaline rush, pushing Jenny to the edge of her comfort zone. She begins by making tiny sketches in wire, spending relaxed evenings drawing from the days' observations. In contrast a day spent in the hot-glass workshop is intense. Jenny uses an assortment of formers to create a detailed impression in a bed of sand, into which the molten glass is poured 1000C. She gets one brief opportunity to carefully add the wire using just tweezers, a fiddly action especially when exposed to such heat. The wire model is encased between two layers of hot glass, and it is the unpredictable and uncontrollable flow of the glass which creates the final form, ensuring that every piece is unique. It takes a few days to cool in the kiln before Jenny can see the results.
Whether sand-cast or kiln-cast Jenny works through a number of stages, each demanding attention to detail, yet even she doesn't know exactly what she will find when she opens the kiln, that's the exciting part.