‘Traces’ is a reaction to the decline of the glass-cutting industry in Waterford, Ireland. While taking part in a collaborative project run by Waterford, The Glass City, and House of Waterford Crystal, I felt both saddened and infuriated that a company, that once employed so many people for so many generations, was now reduced to a fraction of what it used to be. Evidence of the decline can be seen throughout the city in the vacant warehouses and boarded up houses that once catered to this massive industry. But more importantly, the biggest loss is the craft and skill of the glass cutters and blowers, woodturners and welders, as well as everyone else that worked in the factories. Knowledge that could, and should, have been passed on to many more generations to come, but now only a few select will carry on these traditions.
‘Traces’ references the more traditional techniques of glass-blowing, wood-turning and copper-wheel engraving, generally associated with Waterford Crystal. I accomplished this by using materials such as copper, lead crystal and most significantly, recycled beech moulds from the factory floor. While the deep cuts are more contemporary interpretation of their iconic patterns.