Bathing in glass…

Just back from a weekend in Liverpool with my mum and sister. The place was inspirational! Such a mix of old and new. The enclosed expanses of water in the docks and the tidal reaches of the Mersey afford fantastic vistas that are like collages of maritime, civic, industrial, historic and contemporary elements side-by-side, reflecting and enhancing each other.

The very best thing was a visit to Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral. The coloured glass work was incredible – it reminded me of the power of colour to speak directly to feeling unhampered by imagery. Just being there instills a feeling of deep peace and contemplation – not bad for an atheist! This cathedral has the biggest expense of coloured glass in the World, evidently, but it isn`t in any way overwhelming, it is almost sparing.

We also enjoyed visiting Antony Gormley`s sculpture installation, “Another Place” sited on the Mersey beaches between Waterloo and Crosby Sands. The cast figures taken from his body are reminiscent of Giacommetti and are placed alone at varying distances from the water. At high tide some are completely submerged and so are covered in barnicles, others are always at least party on view. Walkers interact with the work both intentionally by embracing them (with varying degrees of intimacy!) and having their photos taken, and unintentionally, just by sharing the space. The sculptures are so popular that there was a local protest when they were supposed to be taken to New York, so the sculptures stay – quite something for a contemporary art installation!

I was delighted to find that Diana Dias-Leão’s glass dresses were on show at the Walker Art Gallery. I heard Diana talking about her work on Woman`s Hour ages ago and have wanted to see these pieces ever since. She worked for years in the fashion industry and moved to glass later in life, she is an inspiring person, very down-to-earth and enthusiastic about fashion but also critical of the idealism of women`s bodies and eating disorders that come with it. Her slogan is that the dress is beautiful but “you are priceless”.

So, Liverpool is a fantastic city and I want to go back and explore another time. It was lovely to spend time with my sister and mum and now, I return inspired to continue my research and experimentation with glass and collage.


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