Recrafting Glass: Reexamining Waste

Adorn, 2017
Adorn, 2017

TCDT tutor and artist Helen Pailing has a passion for working with discarded materials and examining our relationship with waste,

“An engagement with materials is central to my practice. I use stitch in the broadest sense of the word and make sculptural objects, architectural interventions and installations. The work is created out of a playful, intuitive collaboration between maker and matter and through this non-verbal dialogue or haptic logic, the performance potential of the material emerges.”

This relationship between artist and object is central to Helen’s work. This can be seen in so many of Helen’s installations, the sense of curiosity surrounding each material forming part of a bigger picture. For her latest piece, Adorn, currently on display at The National Glass Centre, she uses copper and wire with glass droplets, juxtaposing fragile and strong materials together. The meticulous nature of the work is a testament to her relationship with these materials.

Reusing materials destined for the landfill has become my own gentle activism and a way to acknowledge the value within all matter.

Helen’s pieces are not just large sculptures, but perhaps interruptions within a space, which you can see in her 2017 project Technofossil. Discarded twine weaved into the rocks interrupt the coastline, which is visually powerfully and rich with meaning.

Technofossil, 2017
Technofossil, 2017

I give attention to diminutive, seemingly non-precious waste material. Reusing materials destined for the landfill has become my own gentle activism and a way to acknowledge the value within all matter.

There is a beauty behind all the objects that Helen works with. This openness to working with discarded materials formed the basis for our Recrafting Glass workshop currently being taught by Helen at the National Glass Centre.

Exhale, 2016
Exhale, 2016

Helen Pailing graduated from MMU in 2004 with BA Hons Embroidery. She continued to develop her interest in the material culture of craft and completed her MA as a Designer Maker in 2012 at UAL. She originally found her way into the arts as a textile artist.

She is currently teaching our Recrafting Glass course at the National Glass Centre, where she is  undertaking a programme of AHRC funded research Recrafting waste glass using a stitch-based methodology at National Glass Centre (UOS) .

Find more about Helen’s work here

If you are interested in taking part in one of our workshops or know someone who might be, check out our Workshops page.



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