GLASS: What are you working on?
Susan Taylor Glasgow: My new series of work is inspired by my interaction with abused women during my residency at the Pittsburgh Glass Center last fall. At the time I was building The Communal Nest made up of hundreds of glass twigs. I invited women from the Bethlehem Haven women’s shelter to make glass twigs to be added to The Communal Nest. Their physical and emotional scars shocked and humbled me.
I realized how lucky I was to have (and have had) people in my life that are loving and capable of finding the right path. Coming back to my studio, I wanted to create a body of work that reflected those feelings. Not qualified to evaluate how abusive relationships develop, my new work instead examines choices and environments in which we have no control. Situations that leave a permanent imprint on us and direct our lives with unbreakable psychological bonds. To represent this bond I’ve started combining pairs of everyday domestic objects — a teapot and cup, a creamer and sugar bowl, a dustpan and broom — making one object as beautiful as I could make it, and the other as ugly, binding them with a glass chain, a tattered ribbon, or an imposing shadow. Sewing and tethering them together, I examine the dynamics between regrets and hope, enabler and dependent, confidence and self-doubt, and why we sometimes can’t separate the two.
GLASS: What artwork have you seen recently that inspired you?
Susan: In this new series, I’ve decide to incorporate found objects. I must say, it’s fun, although it does require more discipline than I’d anticipated! Each element must firmly support the concept of the piece and not be added just because its a cool object. That seems like an easy task, but I struggle with a huge temptation to add one more thing because it sparkles. Or I like it. Or I like it because it sparkles! While at the GAS conference this last June I saw an early work by Dick Marquis from his 1969-1970 Fullbright Fellowship in Murano that is in the collection of the Corning Museum. It was a small blown glass cup that he called Mae West Cup that is accompanied by a lovely matching fabric “jacket”. Marquis’s piece was inspired by 18th century German artists who often made fabric bags for their work for traveling. I, in turn, was inspired by the concept of containment and protection. The fabric jacket was as lovely as the glass vessel. I responded immediately to the combination of opposite materials, the sewing, the opportunity to layer meaning, and the pairing of objects to create a narrative. So funny what might inspire someone.
GLASS: Where is it possible to see your work?
Susan: I have a solo show at Heller Gallery that will debut the new series of paired objects that opens on September 12 (there’s a reception from 3 – 5 PM) and runs until October 10th. Heller also represents my work at SOFA Chicago each November. I’m also installing The Communal Nest in Columbia, Missouri, at the Bingham Gallery, where an exhibition will be opening September 8 and running through October 1, 2009. The exhibition will raise funds for the McCambridge Center assisting women with substance abuse. And of course my work can be seen on my website: www.taylorglasgow.com