BAPTISTRY WINDOW

This piece is made from hundreds of hand-pulled glass canes suspended in a matrix of stainless steel cables and crimps.  Each cane is about 15-20mm thick and the colours were all mixed individually by hand as part of the making process which involved gathering molten glass from the furnace and stretching the material in a tug-o-war fashion over a curved wooden mould.

 

I embarked on this project as part of my honours year at the Glass Workshop of the Canberra School of Art, Australian National University (ANU) in 1995.  The artwork was designed and made for Tuggeranong Baptist Church in Canberra and was located above the churches' baptistry pool.

 

As a young and emerging artist, it was an ambitious and experimental project, providing many learning opportunities in working with a real-life community to produce a successful and satisfying end result.  It was through this piece that I realised that creating public art works is a complex and highly challenging process involving many stakeholders with conflicting needs and desires. 

The concept behind the work uses colours as a symbol system in the Christian tradition to depict Christ's love and sorrow (reds and purples) flowing downward to enable a 'rising up' from the waters of baptism (symbolic of death) into new life and hope (blues, greens and golds).  The overall design forms the enlarged nexus of a tilted cross, referencing Christ's crucifixion and resurrection as the means for new life.

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© 2020 by Keith Dougall