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Elements in Fusion - works by glass fusion artist Sharda Murray-Kieken

Fusion glass artist Sharda Murray-Kieken will be displaying some of her most recent works, entitled Elements in Fusion, from April 5 to 26 at the Salmon Arm Art Gallery.

The exhibition features 30 works inspired by the four elements, a colourful array of transparent landscapes and abstracts.

Sharda has been creating functional and sculptural glass works for nine years in her Sunnybrae studio, and this is her first solo exhibition.

Murray-Kieken attended her first glass-fusing course a little over 10 years ago in Victoria. Shortly afterwards she purchased her first kiln, which she says “now feels like a dear friend.”

Most of her work is created using flat pieces of cut and powdered glass, with heat from a kiln used to fuse and form the final piece of glass work. She uses a ‘warm glass’ technique to fuse the pieces – as opposed to the ‘hot glass’ technique used in glass-blowing. Some of her pieces are fired  multiple times, to varying degrees, depending on the intended effect.

They are then finished using a variety of tools and techniques such as grinders, wet saws, belt sanders and sandblasting.

Each piece is unique, a one-of-a-kind with its own personality and quirks, and Murray-Keiken notes opening the kiln holds both the promise of delight and disappointment.

“In preparing the pieces for this show, I gave myself permission to push the boundaries – much of my earlier works have often been functional,” said Murray-Kieken. “However, I believe art plays an important role in our daily lives. For this show I have tried to focus on expressing the vital elements that we depend on for life – fire, earth, air and water.

“In creating these works, I feel as though I’m seeing with new eyes, perhaps with a deeper awareness of my essential connection to the living  world.”

Although there are certain physical demands to multiple firings, sawing, sanding and sandblasting, often done with heavy equipment, Murray-Kieken says that she was still drawn to the challenge, and was overwhelmingly rewarded with the outcome.

The exhibition opens at 7 p.m. Friday, April 4 with live music and refreshments.

 

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