Research Event: Glass Sponges

Research Event: Glass Sponges Research Event: Glass Sponges Research Event: Glass Sponges

Monday 16 November 2015 10:00am - 4:00pm

This is a whole day event and booking is essential.

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Glass is one of the most abundant families of materials found on Earth today; silica not only exists in mineral form but also found in living organisms. Eleanor Morgan presents her Glass Delusions exhibition which explores the slippery boundary between living and non-living materials. Her work is inspired by the Grant Museum's collection of intricate glass sponges – animals that naturally build themselves out of glass – they are formed of 90% silica.

This research event brings together artist Dr. Shelley James and scientist Professor Anson Mackay to discuss the historical, contemporary and natural techniques and process of glass. 
The day will consist of short talks from Eleanor, Shelley and Anson followed by lunch. During the afternoon there will be an opportunity to get hands on will glass to make your very own creature, if good enough it may even make the Grant Museums collection! The day will end with a short panel discussion. 


London based artist Eleanor Morgan is currently the Grant Museum of Zoology’s artist in residence exploring into their extraordinary glass sponge collection. She usually works in printmaking, sculpture, videos and drawing but has a passion for materials and making processes. In spring 2016 she has a book coming out that explores the history of humans using spider silk. She is also a member of a collaborative print group called The Printers’ Symphony. 

Dr Shelley James trained in textiles and printmaking before completing a PhD by practice in the Ceramics and Glass Department at the Royal College of Art. Her practice combines traditional approaches with the development of new techniques to explore the creative potential of glass.  Shelley has an ongoing residency at the Bristol Eye Hospital and has recently completed the prestigious Jerwood Commission in collaboration with psychologists and crystallographers to explore perception of space and symmetry. 

Professor Anson Mackay works in the Environmental Change Research Centre, in the Department of Geography at UCL. For over 20 years Andson has worked on assessing human and climatic impacts on some of the world’s most important freshwater ecosystems, including Lake Baikal and the Aral Sea in central Asia, and the Okavango Delta in southern Africa. Key to much of this work is the use biological organisms and stable isotopes to reconstruct past environments.

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