Lately, I’ve been using my art to explore the human condition; how do humans exist on this earth, with various morals and values, and how do we grow from what we’ve learned while simultaneously holding on to the past? I think that the use of nature symbolism is one of the best ways to explore this idea. The integration of nature with man-made objects is something I’ve been really interested in these past few months, exploring the concept of progress and innovation while our roots persevere. Recently, I’ve seen this concept all over my Instagram feed. Specifically, I found two stained glass artists who found a way to capture and preserve nature as the art form that it truly is.
Blue Ridge Glass Works
Alexandra Samson is a mixed media stained glass artist. She mostly works based on commissions, where she incorporates natural objects like pressed flowers, honeycombs, and feathers. I love that she not only uses natural materials, but she creates images of nature, such as celestial bodies and land forms. There’s a feeling of a return to nature that I think is so essential for human well being. I always feel most myself when I’m watching a sunset or reading a book by the water. Incorporating nature into one’s art in this way offers an excellent way to bring nature into your life in a way that will last a lifetime. It creates a permanence in a forever changing world, a promise that despite technological innovation and changing seasons, nature is everlasting.
Cedar + Spruce Studios
Molly Jackson is a stained glass artist who describes herself as deeply inspired by nature and how we connect to the world through it. Like Samson, Jackson incorporated pressed flowers and plants in her work, but also uses stained glass to create vases. I appreciate the duality of her work. She uses shapes that resemble the human figure, such as an anatomical heart and two hands holding each other. To me, this suggests that at our core, humans are inherently connected to nature. We are supported by nature in everything that we do, and in turn we must help the earth thrive. That’s why she also makes vases, to allow us to directly care for and support various plants. It is a message to value our world for all that it has given us and aim to make it better, whether this is through reducing climate change or through social justice.
There is so much to value in our world and in our society. We make mistakes, but we are forever grounded in our connection to the earth. Therefore, we must be mindful of how we treat what the world has given us, including each other. The human condition is about how we behave and adapt to the world around us, through all of the ups and downs. I feel fortunate to take this time in my life to explore this idea in order to figure out what is important to me and grow as a person. Art is an amazing tool for this, and I believe that the two artists I found above utilize art in a similar way.