HART GLASSorchis exotica
ὄρχις orchis: Ancient Greek, meaning ‘Testicle’ due to the pairs of bulbous subterranean tuberous roots.
Dating as far back as 100 million years, fossil records show that orchids were the first flowering plants. Some 28, 000, and counting, wild species of orchid populate six continents in every habitat but the coldest and hottest environments. Representing a quarter of the world’s flowering plants, there are four times as many orchid species as there are mammals and twice as many birds.
The astonishing mimicry orchids employ to attract specific pollinators provided essential evidence for Charles Darwin’s, ‘adapt and survive’, theory of evolution. He risked a charge of heresy had he cited another organism equally successful in achieving global population through adaptability. Though there is very little anecdotal record of his personal resolve that humans were the ultimate example of his revelatory theory, there can be no doubt he believed it to be so.
Several years in design and development, the Orchis Exotica sculptures are the result of a union between 3D virtual sculpting, CAD (Computer Aided Design) and traditional glass making techniques. With tolerances of only 3mm between the petal layers, the advantages of 3D design technology and rapid prototyping come into their own. The glass orchid sculptures begin life as virtual models, from which individual petals and the supporting ‘cradle’ are 3D printed in durable resin. The most complex lip petal shapes are reverse engineered in pliable silicone in order that they can be safely removed from final plaster moulds.
The bicoloured neon centres, created by Steve Archer, represent the orchid flower’s reproductive organs and are themselves representative of a rare skill.
Having designed several neon art installations, I endeavoured to safely hide the unsightly electrodes, wires and transformers that are synonymous with neon, whilst ensuring the safe running, maintenance and longevity of the light source.
The resulting Orchis Exotica sculptures are simple to construct, maintain and situate as single artworks or as multiples for larger installations.
Much larger scale exquisite glass orchids with neon centres; created as a tribute to Charles Darwin’s love of all orchid species. There are six orchid sculptures in the series, created from finely cut glass components, powders, frits and hair-fine glass strands.
Photography by Sylvain Deleu
If you would like more information about the neon orchid collection or any of the artworks please submit your details and I will contact you within a few days.