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Ceramics & Glass (MA)

Mils Bridgewater

Don't just stand there!
Don't just stand there!
Don't just stand there!
Don't just stand there!

Why is an inanimate object given more value than a sentient being?

One is encased in bubble wrap, packing peanuts, an oversized cardboard box; the other in overcrowded metal cages, extreme temperatures, no food or water.

I have titled the piece ‘Don’t just stand there’. Those who know the saying will ask themselves what it is they have to do. This work is designed to change us, to wake us up and look at the world differently. I am seeking to interrogate a narrative that has been taken for granted.

 “Protest is a dialogue, and so the power of protest rests not just in the physical objects, but in the thoughts and conversations they provoke.” Aindrea Emelife.

While studying at the RCA I walked over the river Thames past a statue of the painter Whistler. The colour pallet within this work is inspired by the ever changing greys and browns of this great river and the whites and muted colours, often with a splash of dramatic pink or red of Whistlers beautiful paintings.



Medium:

Mixed media

Size:

190 x 190 x 155cm
Don't just stand there! - detail of fragile
Don't just stand there! - detail of fragile
Don't just stand there! - fragile
Don't just stand there! - detail
Dom't just stand there! - detail

I experimented with glass powders, mixing them with bicarbonate of soda to create weightless glass packing peanuts. This process results in a high percentage of failure as they are so fragile. They are displayed in the original bubblewrap box I found in the rubbish my first week at the RCA.This protective box went on to be the inspiration for the glass and bronze boxes I was to make. The glass bones are made from waste furnace glass.

Medium:

Foamed glass, furnace glass, bullseye glass, bubblewrap, packing tape

Size:

27 x 22 x 15cm
Don't just stand there! - detail
Don't just stand there! - detail - bronze and gold
Don't just stand there! - bubble wrap
Don't just stand there! - small bubble wrap

Bubble wrap is designed to protect, often used in excess and then thrown away. Glass bubble wrap is immensely fragile, sharp and completely useless for protection of any kind. It gives a nod to the vulnerability of life while speaking of the disparity in what we value.

Medium:

Gaffer glass, packaging, bronze, gold plate
Don't just stand there! - the price of packaging life
Don't just stand there! - preston
Don't just stand there! - bones
Don't just stand there! - feathers
Don't just stand there! - detail

Blown glass vessels constricted and bound by wire contain the fur, bones and feathers of live stock. They speak of the cruelty endured by farmed animals transported for fattening and slaughter. 

Medium:

Glass, copper wire, fur, bones, feathers
All Things will Die
All Things will Die
All Things will Die
All Things will Die

“All things will die” after the poem by Alfred Tennyson tells the story of the £3 chicken grown in mega farms that pollute local rivers, killing the bugs and then the birds that feed on the bugs.

Protest art engages with the plight of our time.

“Art is a lie that make us realise the truth.” Pablo Picasso .






Medium:

Bullseye glass, porcelain, twigs, bones

Size:

41 x 41 x 92 cm

Born and raised in rural England, I now live and work in London. I completed a BA in fine art at City and Guilds London Art School - and it was here that I fell in love with glass. During my MA at the Royal College of Art, I seized the opportunity to explore the practical aspects of working with this extraordinary, beautiful and changeling material.


My work traces issues of ecology, pollution, waste, tenderness, value, animal husbandry and duplicity, often stemming from personal memories and experience that morph into social political works.


Recipient of the Pilchuck Scholarship in Glass and the Knostfack Anglo-Swedish Exchange in the Show Scholarship section. Runner up in the Tin Project, Worshipful Company of Tin Platers and Wire Workers.


Why is an inanimate object given more value than a sentient being?

I am currently investigating the disparity between transportation of livestock for fattening and slaughter and the transportation of inanimate objects for consumer pleasure. One is encased in bubble wrap, packing peanuts, an oversized cardboard box; the other in overcrowded metal cages, extreme temperatures, no food or water.

Inspired by a youth spent in a remote rural English environment, populated by domesticated animals, my work tackles subjects of ecology, pollution, waste, tenderness, value, animal husbandry and duplicity.

Glass, with all its beauty and light is vulnerable and dangerous; like humans, its nature is duplicitous. I find the slow process of glass casting enables me to meditate on the animals, honouring them with each cast bone, each foamed glass packing peanut. To work with cast and blown glass takes time, planning and huge environmental resources, and I am conscious of the impact my making has on the environment. By highlighting the three largest environmentally damaging aspects of the Anthropocene age – farming, packaging and waste – I hope to alleviate my guilt while telling, through my art, this story of disparity which is important to me and the world we live in.


The Worshipful Company of Grocers