Glass Centre’s latest exhibit is ‘older than planet Earth’

An art exhibit ‘older than planet Earth’ has gone on display at National Glass Centre.

Saturday, 30th July 2022, 4:55 am

Katie Paterson’s Requiem is a glass urn filled with samples of dust which chart the history of our planet. The earliest samples are ground from geological items that pre-date Earth’s history and go on to chart time.

Requiem arrived in Sunderland after being exhibited at Edinburgh’s Ingleby Gallery as part of National Glass Centre’s Glass Exchange exhibition.

Glasgow-born Katie was one of four leading artists invited to create new glass works as part of a nationally acclaimed exhibition. None of the four had worked with glass before.

Young Matilda is looking at Earth's history in Katie Paterson's piece at National Glass Centre.

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    She completed two inter-related projects for Glass Exchange telling “the story of earthly existence”: Requiem and The Moment, which is a series of hourglasses also filled with ancient dust from meteors which pre-date Earth.

    The Moment has been on display at National Glass Centre and Durham Cathedral since March.

    Glass Exchange celebrates Sunderland’s status as a world leader in glass art and draws on Wearside’s glass and Britain’s ecclesiastical histories. The other artists were Monster Chetwynd, Ryan Gander and Pascale Marthine Tayou.

    Master glass blower James Maskrey.

    Katie said: “My projects always start with a core idea, and then rely on others to bring them to life. It was a joy to work with James Maskrey and his team at National Glass Centre. He translated my scraps of ideas into beautifully crafted objects.

    “I’ve never before had the opportunity to work in hot glass, so to be able to work with James at this level, in a world-class centre of glass making, was a privilege.

    “James made more than 400 glass objects for Requiem and really pushed the limits of scale whilst retaining a delicacy of the forms. I was really happy with the results.”

    Julia Stephenson, head of arts at National Glass Centre, said: “It’s a wonderful piece. It’s about perspective and sustainability; highlighting the fact we need to be more considerate about how we treat our planet.

    Young Matilda is looking at Earth's history in Katie Paterson's piece at National Glass Centre.

    "We’re delighted Requiem is here in Sunderland, it’s an important part of the Glass Exchange project.”

    Requiem will be displayed at National Glass Centre until September 11. Entry is free for visitors. For more details visit