Posted by: mdmusingsie | August 3, 2014

Sand and Glass

On a day that was more of a prelude to fall an August summer day, I headed to Dublin Castle.

In the courtyard were three sand sculptures, only slightly worse for wear after the deluge of rain we’ve had over the last few days. The theme was black, white, and grey. Einstein was chosen for black holes, a representation of which was on the flip side of his image.


White was bit difficult to decipher as it was meant to represent the color white which forms when the primary colors blue, red, and green combine (I’ll have to try that one day with my paints). In an effort to give the allusion of white, an open prism was left in the center. The sculpture had elements of symmetry as well as the triune nature of both the Pagan and Christian religions that have dominated the island.


The two lovers being separated was the symbol for grey – even though they are going their separate ways they reach back for each other – ending a relationship is seldom only black or white.


On the other side of the complex in the coach house sand became glass in an exhibition of the Ulysses Cylinders – an artistic display inspired by James Joyce’s novel Ulysses and brought to life by the art of Seaver Leslie melded into glass cylinders through the imagination of internationally acclaimed glass artist Dale Chihuly. Leslie and Chihuly originally conceived the project nearly 40 years ago and created an Irish themed collection of cylinders, but after a car accident involving the artists in England 38 years ago the exhibit went on the back burner (the original Irish cylinders can be seen at the Museum of Glass in Tacoma, Washington. The project was recently resurrected and a new set of cylinders on the Ulysses theme were created.

In addition to a display of art by Seaver Leslie and the glass by Chihuly, a movie in constant replay showed how the cylinders were created. A glass orb which would become the cylinder was laid onto a sheet of gold leafing to give the cylinders their color. Leslie’s artwork was mirrored using glass threads by glass artists Flora C. Mace and Joey Kirkpatrick. The metal plate bearing the threads was heated just before the partially molten orb was placed on top, fusing the image onto the orb. It was then re-heated and coaxed into the cylindrical shape. In the video they showed a few rectangular pieces being created as well.


I’ve long been a fan of Chihuly’s work (even though I’ll probably never be able to afford a piece of it unless I win the Lotto) and have visited the Tacoma Museum of glass where these cylinders were produced (I recognized the auditorium in the video). Having been born and raised in Wisconsin and gone on to live in Washington State, I was intrigued to find out Mr. Chihuly studied glass blowing at the University of Wisconsin back in 1966 – the first glass program in the United States. Now I meet his art again in Ireland (he was here for the opening of the exhibition, but I missed the announcement, much to my dismay). Here’s a sampling of some of my favorite pieces.

Cyl_5_sm Cyl_4_sm Cyl_7_sm Cyl_8_sm Cyl_11_sm Cyl_10_sm Cyl_12_sm Cyl_3_sm


I wonder if the symmetry in the two events that were currently on display at Dublin Castle was planned or just a cosmic coincidence?


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