Dr. Jessamy Kelly / by Katelyn Gettner

I've have previously blogged (read: fangirled) about the groundbreaking research done by Dr. Jessamy Kelly over the course of her five years of work towards her PhD and I am consistently shocked by how little press her work has been over the last three years. With how small the glass and ceramic communities are things can sometimes spread like wild fire whereas the study of combining glass and ceramic in a hot state appears to have been dismissed as dead end avenue. Like a road that starts off paved and ends in a roadblock with alligators circling just beyond the cracks in the pavement. 

Oh sure, he looks innocent enough -  not at all like those alligators your mother warned you about. But I assure you he only wants one thing and it's not a tea party companion or your virginity. 

Okay, so that's a bit of a colorful way to put it - but I'm just so muffed at the lack of coverage on her work, after all it is strikingly beautiful -

Segment Pair, Dr Jessamy Kelly. Photographed by David Williams. 

The reason I'm referring to her work again - and yes, there is a motive other than the pretty pictures - is because her work has recently become a huge inspiration for me because I myself struggle with my admiration for both glass and ceramic materials and to be able to combine both of those in my studio practice in a way that is different from the common technique of cold-working and mold casting things in a separate manner could by the thing that keeps me devoted to the like of a maker. 

Although glaze materials will flux and form a glass-like shell on a ceramic piece, the feeling between a glazed ceramic work and Kelly's work is completely different. There is an atmosphere that resides with her work that I believe is lent by the unique properties of glass, mainly the transparency but even including the neutrality of it's opaque spectrum. The way the world around is is perceived is usually generalized as being done through our senses; which is true. However, the process of perception and what we do and do not witness it significantly more complicated and is based upon not only visual, auditory, and kinesthetic experiences, but additionally on the internal constructs of an individuals brain through previous experience and spatial mapping. What this means is that so little of the world is actually perceived in a consistent manner between individuals - much the same way that as a child you are taught the visual of a color but what you see may be a shade of blue rather than a shade of orange because your teacher cannot access the archive of your brain and realize that you brain has constructed the color through the information provided differently than other children in the same classroom. 

What even came first, the chicken or the egg! Augh! How does this even apply to life! 

But for real, though. 

All that use(ful)less information I just threw at you like a five pound bucket is important to me because it teaches me to remember that the world is colored in greys; in this way Kelly's work and the very nature of glass appeals to me because the transparency of the medium can be utilized to approach a different view of the piece. The best examples of this are the areas of her pieces where you can view the planes of the glass and ceramic meeting and fusing, it is a revealing image into the process of the two materials coming together and speaks of the ways that things in the world have a tendency to collide. On the deepest level these pieces are for me like the intricacies of human relationships, more specifically the nature of familial ties and this ever perplexing sense of identity and responsibility to another human being even though you can't quite see how your life actually has any reason to connect to theirs. 

This is one of the reasons that I have fallen into love with glass as a medium, it is a form of art that can be as complex and opaque or simple and transparent as desired to allow for moments of revelation. 


Jessamy Kelly's work can be seen here, and unfortunately the only youtube source on her I have come across can be viewed below.