Laura McCracken - Artist's Statement
In life, we have moments where our perception shifts. This phase can be due to our environment, an incident or our unwillingness to change. This phase is sometimes unseen. We are caught off-guard and find our self, our environment, or life around us is no longer what we are accustomed to. When we recognize the transition has occurred, we are in a place we know and are familiar with, but no longer feel comfortable in.
At times it is surreal. At times it is disorienting. Confusing. A whirlwind. We struggle for control. We are fragile, like glass. Our perception of life has moments that are fluid, and moments that are shattered.
With glass, the material when heated resembles liquid and when cooled is hard and solid. The material transitions between forms through temperature change. If cooled too quickly, the glass will shatter. Each piece of art glass represents a migration in time where the hands have carefully crafted the form. Intentionally created, the piece evolved from one state to another. The artist must understand and respect the behavior of the material to obtain the desired results.
My artwork is constructed in layers or through a process that requires familiarity and flow. Life is full of layers. Layers of experiences become the steppingstones that form a path in our personal journeys. My art is my story. I play with ebb and flow as a metaphor for transition. In the past, I have explored the concepts of energy and presence. They re-emerge regularly within my art.
From the time I was a child, I have always felt that glass seems to hold energy. Fused glass has a process that is repetitive and basic. Yet, when firing glass in the kiln, there’s a feeling of excitement due to the unknown, experimental nature of applying heat. I love how glass catches light and attracts the eye. It holds my light, my energy. It has a presence of its own.
Recently, I began working in hot glass. This was something I was fascinated with since I was a child. Within hot glass, or glassblowing, the vessel is a basic form. A vessel can represent the self. A vessel can contain and transport. In the early years of hot glass practice, many vessels are off balance, have imperfections, and lack refinement. That said, there are many moments like that in life. Hot glass is a medium for me to further my glass knowledge and explore new ideas and techniques. This new focus in my journey prompted big life changes.
In recent years, I have changed jobs, relocating to an area where I am closer to a glassblowing studio. I have expanded my home studio. As an educator, I have a new population of students. I am enjoying the exploration of new scenery, but missing the familiarity of my previous life. I am in transition and so is my art.
My recent works are mixed media art with a featured element of glass that explores the dichotomies of life that show up when striving for balance and the ambiguous nature of perception of choices made.
We can push, or pull. We feel tied or bound and seek to be free. We have the choice to hold on or to let go. When we give, we also receive. In my last solo show, September 2014, entitled “Ambiguous Balance” my personal icon was the open hand, palm up.
I have continued to create work along this theme, but in my transition to life in Denver, I sustained an injury that left me with neurological issues. While recovering from this injury, I have, via introspection, allowed the idea of starting over or recreating the self to enter my work. During the long months of healing, I accepted the notion that the more we wish something was different, the more we create our own suffering.