A beautiful and practical combination
Art glass for the garden? You may think ‘glass’ and ‘garden’ an unlikely combination but I find they act as the symbiotic heart of beautiful and practical art.
From monumental panels to sculptures water features and garden furniture art glass for the garden adds colour and reflection to your outdoor spaces bringing with it beauty and inspiration all the year round.
My art glass method: transparent durable paintings for indoors and out
As an artist I love putting colour and imagery into unusual settings. I have been doing this in my work for many years by laminating paintings on fine fabric between layers of toughened glass creating transparent paintings for indoors and out. My method involves using lightfast resin to laminate sheets of toughened glass together. These sandwich my paintings on fine silk cloth forming a durable translucent panel which can be used in all sorts of ways.
How my work with glass in the garden began
Back in 2003 I was invited to create an outdoor installation at Westonbirt Arboretum in Gloucestershire for the International Festival of the Garden. I had no idea how to make my fragile textile paintings survive in the landscape – until I met a friend in Bath who has a glass company. I asked him if we could sandwich cloth between glass to put it outdoors and we found ourselves making 6 x 3 metre tall glass monoliths!
I was transfixed by the way that the paintings of specimen tree trunks changed in different light conditions and by the way that the thin membrane of cloth retained its characteristics of fragility and transience whilst the monumentality of the glass supported and protected it. The intention was a temporary installation for the three month duration of the garden exhibition. The public and the Arboretum loved my glass panels and they remained in situ for three years. The new medium became an obsession for me and led me in exciting new directions.
Art glass panels and light
Painted fabric captures and plays with light. I paint on a fine silk viscose fabric to make wallhangings etching this cloth to render it partially transparent. This texture in the fabric takes on a new and unique quality when encapsulated within glass. As light comes through the glass it mimics the effect of dappled sunshine through leaves in summer. The changing light and weather outdoors continuously change the appearance of the paintings in the glass – and the artworks are almost ethereal.
Laminated art glass panels also bring colour into your garden. The resin bonding the two sheets of toughened glass has UV resistance protecting the colour in the cloth. Strategic positioning of the artwork allows you to put colour permanently in places where it might not happen in nature!
Architectural glass is robust and safe for garden settings
From a technical and practical perspective the glass I use withstands huge extremes of temperature and reaches all the British Safety Standards – it is architectural glass and is incredibly robust and safe. The transparency and reflectivity of art glass for the garden is endlessly fascinating as the seasons change. The piece in the image below is at the top of a hillside garden – quiet in the summer – and coming to life from below in the winter snow.
How we site and secure art glass garden sculptures
My art glass panels can be simply held in a bespoke steel plinth with a rubber gasket and placed on the ground in a secluded position. The plinth can be buried in the ground so that the glass looks more monolithic and is more secure in exposed locations. In private gardens we usually recommend digging a square hole the depth of the plinth (15 / 30cm) backfilling with the original soil and grass. In projects such as the one shown below at Salisbury Arts Centre we consulted glass engineers to ensure the size of the plinth was appropriate in this disused ancient burial ground where we were not permitted to dig more the 15cm down.
Glass water features
Laminated architectural glass is resistant to the ingress of water and can therefore be used in combination with water to great effect. In the simple exhibition piece shown below water trickles down the surface and returns back to a stainless steel trough in which a pump is housed. This example was made for Chelsea Flower show – where I worked with award winning garden designer Sue Adcock for two years and our Monet garden triangle of glass over a pond, is also illustrated below. I work with specialists in Bath and beyond – Woodhouse and Law in Bath for interior and outdoor design – Rosie Nottage for garden design – Michael Lewis in London for international projects – and Clifton Interiors in Bristol for local and London projects.
Contemporary art glass for your garden
Whether you choose to use it as sculpture for water features or for furniture the symbiotic nature of glass and garden is something truly amazing. If you have any glass art ideas for your outdoor space that you would like to discuss please get in touch – it would be great to hear from you!
Contact Carole to discuss your project or to visit her showroom near Bath to view current available art glass panels.
Learn more and view Carole’s art glass gallery