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More Conference Chirping…

We shape our buildings, then they shape us.

Winston Churchill was speaking about something much grander than a nest, of course. And probably wasn’t thinking about glass at all.

Detail. Amanda Simmons, 21 Causeymire.

It took Gaston Bachelard to point out that a bird uses its own body as a tool to shape its home.  And it took the sight of Amanda Simmons’ flock of glass drop-out vessels in the last Emerge exhibition to convince me that their final home needed to be in the country of their origin (Amanda lives in Dumfries & Galloway in SW Scotland) where their inspiration – garden songbirds – would always be close at hand. So they’ve come to live with us at Latheron House in the Scottish Highlands.

Chromatic mix of barn stones and garden hedge rose...

The North Lands Creative Glass Conference at the beginning of this month was the perfect place to reconnect with Amanda in the year since we’d shared time together during her residency at North Lands last summer. It was also my chance to show her the mantelpiece home I’d found for her flock.

Amanda Simmons, 21 Causeymire, 2011. Kilnformed sheet and powdered glass, 4.25 x 48 x 7 inches (installed).

I had no idea that Amanda had brought another addition to the collection: a small whisky cabinet that perfectly captured the spirit of our prior summer – of birds, stone barns, her musings on buoys in the North Sea, breakfast Bachelard chatter with fellow housemate Tanja , and – yes! – the glorious whisky, a local gem called Old Pulteney.

Whisky Cabinet. Living now in a window overlooking the stone barns that it mirrors and holding the whisky that is its "breath of life"

To read the full story behind the Theatre for Whisky, go here.

The North Lands conference this year resonated with smart minds and engaging topics. But the action on the sidelines – the reconnecting with old friends and thoughtful work – is what makes a conference truly sing.

See more of Amanda’s work here. Or follow her glass on Facebook here. I’d suggest that you sign up for her class at Warm Glass UK except that I think it’s already sold out!

…the house shelters day-dreaming, the house protects the dreamer, the house allows one to dream in peace. – Gaston Bachelard, The Poetics of Space.

I could add that a house filled with art is a nest shaped of our favorite dreams.

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