One of the great things about social media is the way we can connect with people across the world, finding new communities doing the same things as us (or doing totally different things!)
Working as a self-employed jeweller and tutor can be a slightly disconnected way to earn a living. (I am told I talk to myself more than I used to!) So I sometimes seek out local creative communities and on-line opportunities for connection to the wider glass world!
One such inclusive community event in the UK is a community glass initiative set up by Rev. Rachel Parkinson (Chair of the Methodist Church: Wolverhampton and Shrewsbury District). Her church will be open as a venue during the International Festival of Glass 2017 taking place in Stourbridge Glass Quarter over the Bank Holiday Weekend (25th - 28th August 2017)
Rachel is inviting participation from glass makers across the world to attempt to break the world record for the longest length of fused glass bunting ever made! Anyone making glass can participate in designing a small fused glass flag (of triangular shape: 10cm deep by 8 cm wide) to donate to the project. Rachel and her team will mount and display them in her church during the festival. The growing string of flags will be celebrated in a service of worship (and thanks to the far flung international glass community from which they have come), marvelling in the joys of light, colour and working with glass. Here's some fused flags we will soon be sending her way made by the evening class students at Rainbow Glass Studios.
There are no boundaries to the design ideas; some include animals and insects as another inclusive aspect of this celebration involves a "spot the critters" competition for children to see how many they can find across all the flags.
Managing to fit small animals onto 10cm x 8cm of glass is no mean feat, but it's a challenge to which we are rising at Rainbow Glass Studios and we welcome your suggestions to further push our glass cutting and fusing skills!
Jim, a retired scientist in medical research has creatively designed his flags with an image of cancer cells when viewed through a microscope. We are always thankful for those who give their time and energies to looking for cures for illnesses.
All the beautiful fused glass flags will be divided up into smaller lengths afterwards and given to local hospices, hospitals, schools and nursing homes to brighten their environments and hopefully become a talking point for these communities too.
For more details of the forthcoming International Festival of Glass 2017 and the 2017 British Glass Biennale please see the links below. The exhibitions are a fantastic opportunity to see some of the most beautiful glass in the world and well worth a visit if you are in the Stourbridge Glass Quarter over the August Bank Holiday!