Homo Faber

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Presented by logo Homo Faber by Michelangelo Foundation
© John Bray
Tracing Venice

Chris Day


Five years ago Chris Day, a self-employed plumber from Lichfield, UK, started a course at the University of Wolverhampton to study the art of glass-blowing. He has become Britain’s only black glassblower, or certainly the only one of whom the artist is aware. Chris employs the craft to create deeply personal work that investigates the treatment of black people in Britain and the United States, with much of his research focusing on the history of the slave trade in the 18th century and the civil rights movement.


A recurring and signature theme in Chris’s sculptures is "copper cages" that enclose the glass, representing the traders' power to restrict the movement, both physically and mentally, of the humans who were viewed simply as "commodities". The cages are created from simple copper tubing and wire but to dramatic effect. By contrast, Chris compares the glass to the human spirit, attempting to break free despite the restrictions that hold it in place. Combining within his works materials used in both heating and electrical systems, Chris finds a way to create the perfect marriage of his artistic path and technical knowledge, both of which rely on dexterity and high levels of skill and craftsmanship.

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