Inspired by nature, the sea, the waves, the water itself, British artist Amanda Brisbane creates stunning, one-of-a-kind glass sculptures and vessels with a unique glass-making process working with sand. The results capture the fluidity and motion of water frozen in time.
X-RAY MAG: Tell us about your artwork and how you developed your artistic process in connection with themes of the sea and the underwater world.
AB: The process I use is sand casting, which allows me to make negative patterns and designs in the sand using textured items. Shells have a wonderful form, so we developed a range of Seaform vessels using decorative shells as impressions into the sand mould.
X-RAY MAG: What about the sea and its creatures inspires you?
AB: Nature is a great informer. The colours and textures of the sea and shells give me much inspiration. The fluidity of the ocean and colours are reflected in my work. The molten glass takes on a natural feeling of water when poured.
X-RAY MAG: What is your artistic mission or vision?
AB: To create one-off, beautiful art glass sculptures, pushing the boundaries of the material and the technique to its limit.
X-RAY MAG: Are you a scuba diver? If not, what sources do you use to inspire or inform your art works related to the underwater world?
AB: I do not dive, but I snorkel. My inspiration comes from travelling, reading books about the ocean, and visual pictures taken by others.
X-RAY MAG: Who are your favorite photographers whose works speak to you?
AB: The books I have been inspired by are Light In the Sea by David Doubilet and The Earth from the Air by Yann Arthus-Berrand.
X-RAY MAG: What are your favorite dive sites, underwater subjects, locations?
AB: Any coral rich seas. The Caribbean and Egypt are two places that have given me sources of visual delight.
X-RAY MAG: What locations in the Caribbean and the Red Sea/Egypt have you travelled to and what attracts you about the coral reefs?
AB: Shark-El-Sheikh [Egypt] was a rich snorkelling place to view colours under the sea. Jamaica and its reefs also provide a wonderful colourful source. The coral forms and variety of fish seen are all a great inspiration to me.
X-RAY MAG: Please give us insight into how an idea becomes a beautiful Seaform vessel. Is there control from start to finish, or do happy accidents happen along the way that help shape the work?
AB: The sea forms are made by building up a textured design in the sand with shells and other natural textures, never knowing exactly how the pieces will turn out, as we let the glass take on its own form as it is slumped and pulled. We have a very short window of time before the glass hardens, therefore each piece is a one-off. Many happy accidents arise
X-RAY MAG: Can you tell us about your fish sculptures. How did you came up with the idea and what was your inspiration or intention in creating them?
AB: The fish sculptures came about from a commission I did for Royal Caribbean cruise lines back in 1990—Monarch of the Seas. The fish I make are colourful and fun, trying to capture the exotic shades they display.
X-RAY MAG: In the creation of your glass pieces, what materials do you use and how do you prepare them?
AB: I make all my own glass from raw materials, therefore totally in control of the way the glass behaves. And with oxides, I can colour the glass at the source, making each piece unique. Each piece is signed. The technique and way I work is very unusual.
X-RAY MAG: How do you mean “unusual”? Do you mean it is unique in method or that it is different from conven-tional glass-making processes? How is it different?
AB: The technique I use is unusual, as I cast the glass into a sand mould as a flat sheet with the textures made in the sand, then pick the glass up while it is still hot and fluid. We pull and stretch the piece and let it move by itself as it hardens. My work is very recognisable, as most sand casters make solid blocks of glass. When I cast, I es-sentially “draw” with the hot molten glass.
X-RAY MAG: What else do you want to tell our readers?
AB: My web site is constantly updated with new designs and information on where my work can be found. We take on many private and public commissions.
"Nature is a great informer. The colours and textures of the sea and shells give me much inspiration. The fluidity of the ocean and colours are reflected in my work."