Glass Senses: Science, illusion and art

Relinquish - part of the Glass Senses projectSupporting the arts is something that used to only be available to the rich. In the days when paintings would be commissioned by wealthy aristocracy or, more recently, when you could only buy art from the sort of galleries who won’t let you through the door unless you look like you can afford it, the vast majority of people probably didn’t think art was for them. However, now that anyone can buy postcards of their favourite piece and support their local museum or gallery via membership, more and more people are enjoying the visual arts. The internet has helped too – making it easier for galleries to spread the word about their exhibitions, and helping emerging artists find an audience. But what happens when you have an idea, but not enough financial support to even bring it to life in the first place? Well, as more and more artists are realising, this is where crowdfunding can help.

Ewelina Kolaczek is an artist who works with glass. It’s a beautiful material, both to look at and to touch, and Ewelina’s work explores both of these aspects and more. She has recently had a research project proposal called Glass Senses accepted by the RCA but, sadly, the bursary she has been awarded doesn’t come close to covering all her MPhil course fees. And that’s not even taking into account the cost of the materials she works with. The project will explore how we experience art, drawing on scientific knowledge and the skills of the magician’s sleight of hand. Ewelina says:

Combining my love of glass with a geeky interest in science and magic, I want to use what we know about the sense of touch – a combination of the disciplines of neuroscience and behavioural psychology, but also the skills of illusionists and theatre makers – to craft a whole new set of tools that will enhance the way we experience glass.

If I can really meet the full potential of tapping into scientific knowledge to embed touch in our exploration of sculpture it can really change the way we experience art. I’m terrified at the magnitude of the task, but also just super excited by the possibilities.

You can read more about it on the Glass Senses Kickstarter page, and I’d definitely recommend watching Ewelina’s video about the project (see below). I have photographed some of Ewelina’s art pieces in the past, before she started working with glass, and was mesmerised by her creativity, skill and dedication. I would love to see this project receive all the funding it needs to progress, so please donate if you can and spread the word to anyone else who you think would find it interesting.

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