Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Beaney, Canterbury

The Beaney windows

And so after being awarded one of the Museumaker commissions in 2010, the resulting triptych windows for The Beaney House of Art and Knowledge are finally unveiled.

The windows were commissioned by The Beaney in Canterbury as part of the Museumaker programme which was supported by Arts Council England, the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council, and the Renaissance programme. Whilst most of the Museumaker commissions were temporary site specific works, I was invited to make something permanent to be integrated into the building as part of its extensive refurbishment and new extension. Having seen my ‘Resonate’ work whereby seemingly loose threads are encapsulated in acrylic resin to make wall panels and sculptures, I was encouraged to think about scaling up this principle for a triptych window. Practical needs meant that I also had to translate the aesthetic from cast resin into laminated glass.  

The selected design sees a transition from deep dark reds densely packed at the bottom of the window, gradating into scarlet then finally very openly spaced orange threads at the top of the panes. A combination of cotton, silk and linen threads of varying thicknesses and twists were used so that the interaction of light varies with the fibres, and to so give a greater sense of visual tactility. The unspun silk filament in particular seems to positively glow, whilst the slubbed linen gives a sense of weight and density.

I was delighted to work with Innovative Glass Products to realise this project where I was able to be very hands on in the workshop, literally ensuring each thread was positioned as I wanted. The largest pane in the triptych measures 210x90cm, and remains the largest work of the ilk I have made to date. 

The Beaney reopened to great fanfare on the 5th September. The windows mark the juncture between the old building and the new extension, and so can be viewed from either side in different contexts – the cafe/shop is on the old building side, and the information and reception desk is on the new building side. I am particularly delighted that the colour palette of the windows has been used as a basis throughout the building – from the staff uniforms to the upholstery on the library seats.

Love the red light highlighting the desk to echo the windows

Staff uniform colour has been choosen to pick up on the orange threads in the windows

Information desk in the new extension

From the cafe side of the window in the old building
Gratuitous baby picture :-)

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