Guest blog - Roberta Mason
Updated: Apr 26
Roberta Mason - Porifera (blown glass, photo Matt Booth)
When I was asked by Rachel Bebb to write a guest blog, I felt honoured, excited and a bit daunted but reading the beautiful post about the upcoming exhibition, Leaning into the Light, provided a wonderful focus.
When we are lucky enough to be out, surrounded by nature – there is beauty in even the smallest of things. I have always been interested in connections, or in the words of Douglas Adams, ‘the fundamental interconnectedness of all things.’ The unseen or overlooked things and their importance in the overall scheme of life; this has inspired most of my work. From marine phytoplankton to sea grass, from mycorrhizal fungi to trees, all are an intrinsic part of our environment yet to many they are separate from us. In reality, we are all fundamentally interconnected.
Sometimes when something is small or not traditionally beautiful or occurs on a timescale significantly different to our own, we can fail to recognise its importance. This seems to be the case with the ever present issue of climate change.
This quote from Lao Tzu sums it up:
“If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading.”
― Lao Tzu
Many people have a sense of climate anxiety yet are feeling that any changes they make are too small to make a difference, but history has shown that change can happen when we make positive choices and even small changes to our lives.
From the banning of DDT in most places by the 1970s due to the publication of ‘The Silent Spring’ by Rachel Carson to the reduction of the huge hole in the ozone layer over Antarctica through actions taken as part of the Montreal protocol. Good change happens. Much of the awareness of these issues was brought to public attention by artists through the environmental art movement, poets and musicians.
Then as now, artists have a platform to help inform and encourage others – to open the dialogue.
The beautiful ‘Natural Connection’ sculpture by Nadine Collinson is a great example of art reflecting our interconnectedness with nature, and the associated narrative opens the discussion about the importance of change.
Nadine Collinson - Natural Connection
“What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.”
- Dr. Jane Goodall
I find these words incredibly powerful as they hold us to account for our action or lack of action.
As glassmakers, my partner and I are profoundly aware of the carbon footprint of our practice and over the last 18 months have set out to significantly reduce our carbon footprint (aiming for carbon neutral) and to live lives that ‘Lean into the Light’. By adopting sustainable practices in our art practices and daily lives, we are working to do our part to help mitigate the effects of climate change and to help create a better future. As an artist, I believe that it is our responsibility to speak up, to open the dialogue, to be agents of change like the artists, poets and musicians that went before us. By doing so, we can contribute to a more sustainable and equitable future for all.
Let me close this blog post with this lyric from 1970 … that is still relevant today ...
Don't it always seem to go That you don't know what you got 'til it's gone? -Joni Mitchell, Big Yellow Taxi