Chris Day brings together glass and ceramics in highly personal sculptural installations that centre on his British-Jamaican heritage, postcoloniality, the legacies of enslavement in the UK and global struggles faced by Black people. The artist began his career as a plumber and heating engineer but gravitated towards the freeing and experimental potential of art, going on to study for a BA in Applied Glass and Ceramics at the University of Wolverhampton. Day’s works bring together his technical understanding of heating and electrical systems to the language of craft while invoking Black history and identity politics to generate conversations around issues that are critical today. He spoke to us about his work, just as his solo show opened at Vessel Gallery in London.
Crafts: How did you come to use such a mix of materials in your work?
Chris Day: Working with metal has been a central part of my life for so long that it felt natural to introduce this medium into my work when I began making vessels and installations. My time at Wolverhampton, however, gave me the freedom to explore materials I hadn't had the opportunity to use before.
Many students on the course opted to either become glass artists or ceramic artists and, even in the art world, there seems to be a clear divide between the two disciplines. This divide resonated with me in relation to how society has engaged throughout history towards mixed-race relationships and identity. I try to represent this in my work by using materials that would not usually be used in conjunction with each other to demonstrate that, given the chance, glass and ceramics can sit well together.