Photo: Detail of Smart Dust 2011
Technique/Material: Assemblage and mixed media, mouth blown glass, industrial parts, electronic parts, projection of self produced video.
Dimensions: H 30 cm x W 38 cm x D 139 cm
Photographer: Maria Bemelmans


-emotional and human themes in glass art at IKA

IKA, Mechelen

Eight graduates at the glass department of IKA Mechelen. Shoulder to shoulder, four by four, equally divided in the two degrees of qualification. Four graduates completing the specialization degree and four graduates completing the preceding higher degree. We observe in wonder and admiration given the diversity and the quality of the work.

Posted 13 May 2013

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Current affairs -emotional and human themes in glass art at IKA

Eight graduates at the glass department of IKA Mechelen. Shoulder to shoulder, four by four, equally divided in the two degrees of qualification. Four graduates completing the specialization degree and four graduates completing the preceding higher degree. We observe in wonder and admiration given the diversity and the quality of the work.
Under the expert guidance of Sandra De Clerck and Katrijn Schatteman, these students have grown into contemporary artists concerned with current affairs, emotional and human themes.
Maria Bemelmans, Danny De Mol, Paul Funcken and Kristel Van Lent have completed the 7th year specialization and have earned their stripes before. For the others now completing their 5th year, Charlotte Friedman-Goedraad, Anita Tilley, Krista Israel and Ingrid Vandekelder, it is the first time they will face an external jury.
The artwork will be exhibited in a tomb under the catholic Hanswijkbasiliek in Mechelen. This fantastic location is the perfect surrounding for the art to come into its own.

Maria Bemelmans (7th year Specialization Degree)
Maria Bemelmans MA (focuses on crossover stratification and connection on different levels. At the same time, the works distinguish themselves in their complexity and simplicity.
Maria is fascinated by people, their communication, movement and energy in relation to time and space. She asks questions about Existence and explores the tension between the visual and knowing and between knowing and feeling. Human beings, the cosmos, culture, philosophies, science, technology and architecture are her sources of inspiration.
Choices in shape, material, technique and media come into being during the work process. Research and experiment between old and current materials result in unconventional energizing combinations.
This results in performance, video, site-specific work to installations consisting of sculpture, drawings, paintings, photos, assemblies, poetry and elusive elements such as sound, smell, light and water.
An installation can facilitate a synthesis between materials like glass, steel and sound. Transparent glass offers the possibility of depicting space in space, where fragility and protection simultaneously become perceptible. Where boundary and change, size and proportion, light and shadow, reflection and absorption are of importance. Kiln cast glass can represent and intimate and mysterious inner world. Sound as a form of communication, that touches the experiential world and evokes memory and emotion.

Personal sound research conducted since 1993, into spatial relations between nature, architecture and sound of personally recorded “Field recordings” of nature, cities, countries through observation and reflection. Connections and disconnections become meaningful, reality becomes perceptible in a different way.

Danny De Mol (7th year Specialization Degree) Sensuality – the thread throughout my work
Tenderness and love are feelings that play an important role. Powerful emotions such as desire and passion are often present as well. (Overgave/Surrender -2012)
Sometimes negative feelings such as frustration and transience sneak into my work. Highlights and merits of loving touch or surrender ought to be cherished in our hearts and protected like relics or treasured. (Treasured-2012)
Because of its fragile and amorphous character, to me as a scientist, GLASS is the ideal medium for translating sensuality into my work. After all, love is equally fragile and amorphous. It also cannot be described unambiguously.
GLAS can be combined with other materials in order to shape a representation. The nature of the subject will determine the method of execution. Powerful emotions evoke the solid robustness of kiln casting within me. Intimacy and tender feelings refer to the fragile layering of pâte de verre.
The latter has my preference, as playing with the manner of construction and the firing temperatures of a pâte de verre can yield an enormous gamma of appearance. (Tuin der Liefde/Garden of Love 2013)

Kristel Van Lent (7th year Specialization Degree)
"I work with different materials and with people on a daily base. I set out to move my own boundaries and to create something on a personal level. Training as a glass artist provided me with the challenge.

Glass inspires me, seduces me and challenges me. Glass can leave me astonished – astonished at the world, life, myself as a woman, wife, mother, friend….

Time and again I discover more of what glass has to offer: the transparency, the colour, the warmth, the brittleness, the strength, the unpredictable….

In my work, objects and materials become one with glass. The everyday is increasingly interwoven with the glass.
My work is about pain, sorrow, desire, fear, aggression, love, vulnerability, strength, protection, fear of failure and loneliness – it says something about my inner feelings and my experiential world.

I strive to capture the temporary thoughts and feelings in life from birth to death, from dream to reality, in good times and bad.
In this way, I can share my Being with others."

Anita Tilley (5th year Higher Degree)
In 1982 I started an art education in painting. When I initially felt the desire to do three-dimensional work, I considered glass art but in the end, I opted for ceramics. The fascination for glass actually never left and five years ago, I finally started my study of glass. Kiln casting, glass blowing, pâte de verre, … everything intrigues me but throughout all the techniques, the female is my source of inspiration.
All those Losses (2009). Installation, mixed media
Reflection with the “Besloten Hofjes” (private courtyards), a sort of shrine in which the nuns expressed their most private thoughts and feelings. At the time, the life of ‘ normal’ women was also not a walk in the park.
By addressing the problem of unwanted pregnancies in a serene space, a shrine, I depict the contrasts between the lives of these women.
I’ll be there (2013). Stained glass
My inspiration came form my mother, who suffers from Alzheimer, and the countless hours that she spends waiting. Drawings on glass, female figures, imperfect, frozen, hopeful, resigned, rigid. Even the light and the space of glass do not make them move. They just are. I use their posture to invite the viewer to think in a certain direction. Sometimes I intensify this with an object, a colour, a piece of glass. But everything remains unspoken, nothing is certain.

Krista Israel (5th year Higher Degree)
In 2005 I first became aware of the glass department of the IKA. Given the distance of almost 200 km from where I live, I had to seriously consider whether I wanted to enrol. In 2007 I decided to do it. This choice proved to be a turning point in my life and a large contributor to my development, who I am now and where I wish to be.
By developing in glass and the various techniques I increase the possibilities of making my emotions tangible. It is a process of acceptance, becoming aware and surrendering to my expression.
Tatters of memories from my youth have centre stage in my latest objects. Emotions, feelings and images from a bygone childhood keep roaming around my head. Whispering softly in a corner and then rushing prominently loud to the foreground. As a grown woman, I look back on these memories and I can put them together like a puzzle, make a complete picture and give shape to the emotions I felt then. By making a tangible work of art, I can place these emotions outside myself and I am able to let them go.

Charlotte Friedman-Goedraad (5th year Higher Degree)
Life Cycles are the central theme of my work: how everything is inextricably entwined yet interdependent while impacting each other at the same time. The fragility of strong, natural cycles becomes apparent in the unexpected – and often unseen – consequences of human action. By zooming in on a small aspect of a cycle, the surprising and sometimes disturbing influences become apparent.
The unpredictable nature, vibrancy, transparency, opacity, gradations of light and shadow, refraction, reflection and texture of glass enables me to shape the illusion of reality. I grew up in Africa and learnt early on that the laws of nature are not mere rhetoric, on the contrary! It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one that is the most adaptable to change. In contrast, there is the fragility of lost generations and the extinction of life. The extraordinary beauty of nature and the harsh reality of life are diametrically opposed.
“The illusion of reality is reflected in my work just like human reality is the result of the interaction between nature and our collective consciousness”.

Ingrid Vandekelder (5th year Higher Degree)
Because of my long time interest in art, I ended up at the Instituut voor Kunst en Ambacht, the IKA (institute for Arts and Crafts) in Mechelen.
This is where I discovered Glass Art. The wealth of glass gives me a chance to use a colour palette and transparency to translate an idea, a story or an opinion. Combining glass with other materials expands my search for the right mage.
Pills, in all facets and colours are the foundation of my installation “PILL ALERT”. I used techniques like pâte de verre, kiln casting, slumping and glass blowing.
Across the globe, pills are being popped as if they were sweets and we Belgians are front-runners where it concerns antidepressants and sleeping tablets. The pharmaceutical industry eagerly takes advantage of the psychology of the user by manufacturing the pills in attractive shapes and bright colours to stimulate sales. Long-term use of all these pills naturally has a host of side effects that finally lead to more undesired effects for patient health, resulting in a negative spiral for the patient. With my installation, I hope that the viewer stops to consider this problem. Glass art still holds many challenges for me and I certainly want to take them on in the coming years at the IKA.

Paul Funcken (7th year Specialization Degree)
For more than 25 years I have been self-employed as a graphic and spatial designer and during the past 10 years I have used glass as a medium. The technique of kiln casting in combination with other materials such as wood and bronze is best suited to my personality.
My sculptures are the result of my quest for form, simplicity and beauty. I cannot envisage my sculptures beforehand and then execute them exactly as envisaged. The sculpture comes into being during the search in which I endeavour to shift boundaries. I gather information through looking, analysing and then translating. My sculptures always have some relation with architecture, as inspiration. It could be the beauty or the transience. From my search for form with austere architectonic shape, playing with contrast, perspective and optical effect, arose a need for a looser approach. An itch for nature, freedom, adventure and more expression. A quest that compelled me to stray from the well-trodden paths for the road less travelled and to allow myself to get lost. In the end, a new series of work has come from my hands and I have slowly become better acquainted with it - and it makes me feel good. These last works carry the title Shelter.

IKA Mechelen
Veemarkt 39
B-2800 Mechelen
tel +32(0)15 20 14 44
fax +32(0)15 20 45 34

Photo: Detail of 'Tuin der Liefde' - 2013
Technique/Material: Pâte de verre Arista glass
Dimensions: H 92 x W 68 x D 15 mm
Photographer: Danny De Mol

Photo: Eeuwige Moeder 2011
Technique/Material: Kiln formed Bullseye glass, Pâte de verre of Artista glass
Dimensions: H 38 cm x W 50 cm x D 50 cm
Photographer: Stijn Bevernage

Photo: All those losses – installation, mixed media 2009
Technique/Material: (detail) slumped and mirrored bidet
Dimensions: H 170 cm x W 170 cm x D 170 cm
Photographer: Anita Tilley

Photo: De Verleiding – 2012
Technique/Material: kiln casting / mixed media - glass, aerosol paint and lacquer, 1000+ rhinestones,
acrylic paint, twig
Dimensions: H 7.5 cm x W 7.5 cm x D 7.5 cm
Photographer: Krista Israel

Photo: Apatura Iris 2012/2013
Technique/material: Blown furnace glass, engraved and polished
Dimensions: H 15 cm x W 20 cm x D 17 cm
Photographer: Cindy Friedman, Pink Umbrella

Photo: detail of the installation Pill Alert 2013
Technique/Material: Pate de Verre
Dimensions: diameter 30 cm
Photographer: Arthur Van Erps

Photo: Shelter 2013
Technique/Material: Kiln cast Bullseye glass, bronze (cire perdue)
Dimensions: H 47 cm x W 39 cm x D 12 cm
Photographer: Paul Funcken

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