Katherine Russell – Memories Are Malleable

Katherine Russell – Memories Are Malleable

Katherine Russell is a glass artist featured in our upcoming exhibition, Memories Are Malleable. Russell talks about her inspiration and process behind her exploration of the human memory. The exhibition will run from March 21 to May 2, 2019

I’ve taken this Fall off from running art projects at the school and glass workshops in my studio, as I’ve got a few big commissions on, a couple of exhibitions I’m working towards and an exciting major project called “Memories Are Malleable.”

The premise of the new body of work is to visually represent how our memories are constructed and reconstructed. Subconsciously or not, our memories are unreliable.

My fascination with memory, or rather the inaccuracy of memory, its incompleteness… its malleability, has lead me to read Christopher Chabris’ book who explores how “we falsely believe that vivid memories are seared into our mind with perfect fidelity.” We are so focused on one perspective of a situation that we miss an enormous quantity of information happening right in front of us, that memories can be even implanted, that “false memories” can be created by mere suggestion, as explored in Julia Shaw’s book: “The Memory Illusion.” I am translating these findings into glass in the form of an in-depth texture study. The first stage of the process is to make ‘stock sheets’ of pattern, using some recognisable objects, and some abstract pattern. Here I have added Bullseye glass powder to glass sheet and drawn in a pattern that will be fused on .

After fusing, I’m cutting up the ‘stock sheets’ for the second stage of the project: I’m essentially using a collage technique to gather the motivations a person would, consciously or subconsciously, to construct a memory. Each finished work will use a metaphoric recipe; for example, pulling two parts Sentiment and adding one part Imagination and one part Truth.

Here is the final panel (using the above ‘stock sheet’) ready to go in the kiln.

The panel above is still hot in the kiln at the time of writing this, but here’s the next one ready to follow:

Big thank you to the Columbia Kootenay Cultural Alliance for funding this major project!

For more information on Katherine Russell, be sure check out her website.