Charlotte Potter is Playing with Fire Charlotte Potter is a conceptual artist and designer originally from Vermont. Traditionally trained as a glassblower, Potter has traveled extensively, working in glass studios nationwide including Pilchuck Glass School, Haystack Mountain School of crafts, Penland School of Crafts and Wheaton Arts. In 2008, she co-founded the Cirque de Verre, a performance glass troupe that has performed at numerous studios and museums including the Toldeo Museum of Art and the Corning Museum of Glass. Potter has been an artist in residence at Pilchuck Glass School, the art making Machine Studios, the Creative Glass Center of America, and the University of Sydney and has taught at the Rhode Island School of Design. Her work has been shown internationally and is in the permanent collection of the American Museum of Glass and the Henry j. Neils Frank Lloyd Wright house. Currently she is the Programming Director and Glass Studio Manager at the Chrysler Museum of Art in Norfolk, Virginia. I spoke with her in September about collaboration, inspiration, and research during the creative process. Weight of Lost Friendship, 2012.
One of the first and most dynamic
In your performance, a lot of the
Materials: hand engraved glass, images courtesy of Facebook, sterling Silver, metal & wax.
site is your interaction with the public at Chrysler Museum of Art
broken down and used again.
“This series of hand engraved glass cameos features those individuals that I am not currently friends with on Facebook. Some defriended, others leaving the social network entirely, and some simply lost. I collected this detailed list over the years and then created wearable works that feature and honor this passing. The cameos are set in sterling silver and linked through collected chains; some gifted antiques, others store bought and mass-produced. I am pairing the ancient with the modern, my old dear friends with the mere acquaintances.”
examples one sees on your web-
through a kind of glassblowing theatrical experience you offer. What prompted you to begin performing with glass?
Glass is definitely one of those interesting mediums that you don’t do by yourself, specifically glass blowing, which is the process that I initially sort of fell for. It’s very physical, and you work with another person. There’s sort of an intrinsic dance that is part of it. Initially, I was less interested in the final product. Honestly, I didn’t even like a lot of the objects getting made, but the sheer process of being around the heat and playing with this molten material was what enraptured me. Performance for me is a way of prolonging that experience and that sort of magical relationship that you have with it. It also allows the public to see the thing the reason that a lot of us fall in love with the material.
pieces the group is creating get
The way I try to structure the public’s experience with glass here at the Chrysler, which is in line with my thesis and things I was thinking about back in grad school, is that glass is an experience that with practice can become an object. It’s truly an experience the way that music is an experience that can become a CD, or a ballet is a performance that can become a video. So, we attempt a monumental shift in public thinking about art and glass here at the Chrysler, and for that reason it’s very much about the process rather than the object. It was surprising to me and so
different than what many people
consider when they think of glass art.
Glass seems static, some-
thing to be displayed or hung. Your performance reminds me of
the philosophy behind mandala making.