Joseph Harrington was commissioned by The Glenlivet to create 'Angel's Share'
Our Directory Maker of the Week, Joseph Harrington talks to us about getting into making, what inspires him and the work he's exhibiting at Collect
Who or what got you into making?
Clay and dyslexia.
Clay was the first medium that really started making sense to me, much more than the written word, it has such an energy when it is freshly shaped, I was able to tell stories and create structures with rules that made sense.
Tell us a bit about your work and inspirations
I try to inject energy into a material, more than the material itself. With glass being such a hard cold material, there needs to be a freshness, spontaneity and movement in its nature and process to give it soul.
I interpret landscapes through exploration of material. I focus on rugged coastlines, looking at erosion as a spectacle of discovery and generation of form, revealing a sense of the history and movement of a place. The work is produced using my ‘Lost Ice Process.’ I use salt to sculpt ice as a one-off ephemeral model to take a direct cast from. The textures this provides and the transient nature of the creative process reflects the erosion and sense of time I want to represent in the landscape. There is a roughness from the initial cast that is ground polished and refined to its final finish, revealing the internal structures of the glass and creating facets and flat planes to redefine the essence of the made against the organic surface
What is your favourite part of the making process?
I enjoy the calmness of letting the ice melt in front of you, watching the salt eat through creating the form, whilst knowing there is an intense frenetic activity imminent when the decision is made to take the cast. It's a bit like waiting at a start line. You have to stay focused and have everything set ready to go, if you don't it can go horribly wrong.
Strangely to some I also find polishing enjoyable. It can be meditative, so long as you have the time to do it, the right equipment and at this time of year a heater at your feet!
What are you working on right now and what will be on show at Collect?
I am currently working on some pieces that I actually cast a couple of years ago. Sometimes when you get the initial glass cast out it doesn't immediately tell you how it needs to be finished. It can take a few attempts and false starts. They are on the same theme of landscape, but on a smaller scale, faceted and perhaps a little more delicate.
I'm showing landscape inspired sculptures largely based on trips to northwest America and New Mexico desert. In particular one titled St. Helens ii is inspired by Mount St. Helens that erupted in 1980, when I was about 5 months old. I was struck by the minimal growth since, with just some pine green shoots among the grey ash covered landscape. This landscape is as old as I am, really grounding me in a time and a place.