River Runs Through
River Runs Through was a collaboration , invited by deaf Sudanese textile artist Omeima Mudawi-Rawlings. The installation was previewed at Fabrica Gallery Brighton in a making space opportunity 14th - 15th March 2018.
About the Installation
Three glass and textile works punctuated the work and represented the journey and passage of time through childhood, migration and destination. Physically connecting the pieces were loom stretches of threads, soaring up and falling down in and out of the works before finally pooling together beneath suspended puddles of glass, puddles that mirrored the stained glass windows that illuminated the sanctuary.
The project engaged with both technical and social research. For the latter we carried out four workshops with Brighton's Sudanese community and migrants from other parts of the world. We explored their recollections of their routes from their home countries, the differences in the patterns of their daily lives then and now and also provided an opportunity to creatively express their memories in clay.
Making the Glass and Textile Pieces
The project presented a craft challenge, to find innovative solutions for combining glass and textiles. Pursuing a plan to laminate textile in glass, I began to explore methods of incorporating textiles into hot glass making. My previous work with metals, oxides and enamels gave me a confidence that colours, textures and patterns could be contained within or applied onto glass with great flexibility. What then remained was to include a component or input from textiles.
I began my research by printing copper oxide and copper powders onto cotton and then sandwiching it between layers of poured hot glass. In a blaze of smoke and flames, the colour layer successfully transferred but no trace of textile remained. I then decided to use a finely woven glass fibre textile and this proved a flexible inclusion for both hot shot work and kiln fired glass. However, the glass textile wouldn’t readily retain the applied colour so I devised a solution, I applied diluted clay to give the printing surface more body. And with that, serendipitously created another reference to the river itself.
This was designed to bring the experience of travelling on the River Nile in Khartoum into the installation itself.
Working with phone video footage from a research trip to Khartoum, I created composite images for projection. Using iMovie, three variants were created with differing degrees of abstraction, all overlaid with river sounds and Sudanese music.
Omeima Mudawi-Rowlings: https://www.omeima-arts.com/