“In a crystal we have pure evidence of the existence of a formative life principle, and although in spite of everything we cannot understand the life of crystals – it is still a living being.” Nikola Tesla, 1900
My talk last week was a great opportunity to discuss in further detail my concept and inspiration behind my art. In this post I would like to share with everyone some points I discussed during my talk and the inner workings of my mind while creating these detailed glass designs. When it comes to making an art piece, just like the many glass shapes that make up one complete design, my ideas flow in multiple parts and build to come together to create one cohesive multi-layered concept. In the beginning, these ideas may seem scattered and random, but everything does fit into place like one big puzzle in the end.
In general, I am inspired by four things: culture, science, time and nature. Stones have been used by ancient cultures and by scientists today for improving our technology and our future.
Ancient cultures from all over the world used stones for various purposes. For example, in ancient Greece, they would grind Hematite (found in Midnight Waltz) into a fine powder and rub it onto soldiers prior to battle because they believed it would bring them immortality. Amethyst (found in Midnight Blossom) also dates back to Greece. The name amethyst derives from the ancient Greek word amethustos, meaning sober. In Greek mythology, amethyst was rock crystal dyed purple by the tears of Dionysus, the god of wine and revelry. During the Middle Ages, Amethyst stood for piety and celibacy Historically, the stone was believed to assist prophecy and visions and to bring riches and powers to its owners. Blue Lace Agate (found in Ethereal Sky) has been found in the burials of the Neolithic peoples in one of the first founded civilizations of Mesopotamia. Jasper (found in Morning Sunburst) was worn as an amulet to bring harmony and balance to the wearer and found in burial sites in India. Jade (found in Seaweed & Pods) is a precious stone to many cultures. Indigenous tribes of Mexico, Central and South America and New Zealand carved it into ritual artifacts, even cast it into wells as an offering to the water spirits for fresh and plentiful water. Jade has also been the most highly esteemed stone in China throughout recorded history. My website (jackietufford.com) has images of my work and further information about these stones and pieces.
Stones are used in science and technology to regulate the flow of energy. Rubies were used to develop the first laser created by Bell Laboratories in the 1960s. The ruby is still used today for its ability to focus and concentrate the flow of energy to a single point. Pyrite has been used to replace batteries for radio receivers. Various quartz crystal can be found in computer and cell phone display screens, and in watches and clocks to help stabilize and regulate the flow of energy. Silicon (from Silicate which is a form of quartz crystal) is used in every single computer and cell phone processor today. These are just a few examples of how semi-precious stones are not just a fascinating part of cultural history, but also an important part of our technologically advanced lives today. Two brilliant scientists recognized the potential of understanding the world of energy and frequency. One from our past, Nikola Tesla, and the scientist today planning to change our future, Elon Musk.
The Inventor of Modern Electricity: Nikola Tesla was a Serbian American inventor, engineer, physicist and futurist. He was born in 1856 and died in 1943. Tesla is considered the genius of the future, and is best known for the design of the modern alternating current electricity supply system. He believed that the key to understanding the universe was through forms of energy, frequency and vibration. Tesla understood that crystals oscillate at their own frequencies and even respond to input vibrations.
The Future of Energy: Today, Elon Musk is following and expanding upon Nikola Tesla’s contributions. Musk is CEO of Tesla Motors, SpaceX and SolarCity. Tesla Motors, based their car design on the Tesla Coil, invented by Nikola Tesla, to achieve making affordable electronic cars for the consumer today. SpaceX has a headquarters in Florida, and are designing affordable reusable spacecraft to eventually colonize Mars. SolarCity is a company that is working on making affordable/lower energy cost solar energy for the everyday household.
The quote at the beginning of my post states, “in a crystal we have pure evidence of the existence of a formative life principle, and although in spite of everything we cannot understand the life of crystals – it is still a living being.” This quote by Nikola Tesla relates to my use of material and to my titles. Tesla believed that crystals were a part of life and nature. Crystals are a type of rock and my art is primarily made up of various rocks (ground up and heated rock makes glass and then the semi-precious stones in between). I view the makeup of my work as various patterned forms of nature. Since all stones emit some degree of frequency or energy, I look at my work not just as representing nature, but as a living entity. Each design vibrates at it’s own level, and to me, they are all in a way, living creatures that shine differently from within. Since I see my glass and stone pieces as alive and part of nature, I reference this in some of my titles such as in Seaweed & Pods.
The last important part of my concept is time. The titles to my work also reference a moment in time such as in Midnight Blossom, Morning Sunburst and Midnight Waltz. There is a timeline that develops between history and today. For example, I see it with the history of stones. Ancient cultures at one end and science and technology on the other. There is an ever-growing time frame that is developed as our future with electricity and stone/crystal usage develops. I see my artwork in a parallel type of timeline. For example, the history of stained glass (dating back to 800 AD in Italy) and my use of it today in art, design and abstraction. I envision these two parallel timelines in my own mind. The past and the future at opposite points and a marker or scale that fluctuates in between. I believe that when you link the past, the present, and the future in one concept simultaneously, you achieve a moment of timelessness. Stones in my opinion have achieved this timelessness in theory and that’s what I hope to achieve in my own work. Art pieces that create a sense of timelessness.
In conclusion, these ideas as a whole come together to what I think is the most important part of creating. For me, it’s not just about making work that is beautiful, but also work that has a message, and more importantly, something people can feel in its colorful glass abstract presence.