Amanda Baron, who graduated in architectural glass from the Edinburgh College of Art (ECA) and worked for many years in glass conservation, brings her new body of work to the Birch Tree Gallery. Her creative career shift resonates with the change of medium in Alison Simpson's work, who graduated from ECA in sculpture - originally working in metal, she now creates works in paper.

The exhibition title ‘The Lightness of Being’ reflects more than the physical aspects of media – glass and paper pulp - in the exhibited works. Both makers have had significant changes in their creative careers and now strive to observe, capture, and embody natures accidents, often ephemeral or noticeable only in certain light or weather conditions.

Alison Simpson graduated in Fine Art -  MA (Hons) from the University of Edinburgh and Edinburgh College of Art (ECA) in 1986, staying on at ECA for the postgraduate diploma in sculpture. Alison now works in cotton and linen pulp making sculptural objects that reflect the light, weather, seasons and landscape near her home on the Moray Firth coast.

“For many years I worked in metal but became frustrated by its heaviness and darkness, its need for lengthy ‘finishing', and my own tendency to overwork it. Seeking lightness, I discovered papermaking.” - says Alison Simpson. “It is my aim to betray in my work no sense of struggle; to produce things that look smooth, unerring, and inevitable.”

Amanda Baron in her studio
Image by J. Galbraith
Amanda Baron in her studio

I am passionate about continuing to apply traditional techniques to mouth blown glass to create work that reimagines historical processes and establishes a new audience for stained glass.

Amanda Baron - Architectural Glass alumna

Amanda Baron graduated from Architectural Glass (under Douglas Hogg) at Edinburgh College of Art in 1992 and returned in 2011 as Artist in Residence in Glass, within the School of Design. Amanda is passionate about highlighting the unique qualities of mouth blown glass by applying paint to its surface to create paintings and compositions from fragments.

The body of work for this exhibition is inspired by a residency on the Isle of Eigg, where Amanda studied light and colour of the sky and clouds, the surface and depth of rock pools, texture of geological and plant forms, and patterns in sand created by tidal movement.

"I have been developing drawings from visits to Scottish islands that are then edited and translated onto glass through painting. The fluid, fluxing edges of an island are constantly evolving as the elements combine to delineate new patterns and colours. The materiality of the glass and the composition of each piece creates a synergy between accidental and intentional mark making, echoing my research process."

‘The Lightness of Being’ is showing at Birch Tree Gallery, Edinburgh until 1 August 2017.