‘Dances on Air’


By Irene McBride


‘My earliest memory of dragonflies is having been terrified when walking as a child by a waterfall during a summer holiday. Grabbed by my father, I was saved from falling and subsequently admonished! Fortunately, these amazing insects, symbols of re-new life, that grace the summer air over meadows and water are smaller descendants of the ones whose fossils show wingspans of 80cms! The iridescence of the dragonfly wings has inspired many artists and beautiful artifacts, including the Art Nouveau jewellery of Renee Lalique and of course, the glass work of Louis C. Tiffany.


Many years after my waterfall experience, my fascination for glass directed me from my first love of textiles to creating in that very varied and versatile medium. Discovery Glass was born and I turned to the image of the dragonfly as inspiration for my studio logo. My work ranges from stained, “Tiffany”, leaded, hand-etched and kiln-formed. During the latest Lockdown when my studio was closed for 4 months, I began experimenting with some new techniques and some newly acquired beautiful glass in order to interpret this iridescent winged icon. My aim was to create the feeling of frantic movement, heat and fluidity, when the summer air can seem heavy and almost tangible. I made moulds for casting, fused 2 layers of glass, Fusers Reserve, clear and turquoise iridescent, (all system 96) with internal frit and hand painted enamel, slumping it over hand cut kiln paper shapes which were later removed and filled with glass frit. I added a new product, dichroic powder and hand made dichroic transfer paper. The surface was made tactile with my kiln-formed dragonflies, tiny glass droplets. Kiln firing temperatures varied between 580C and 803C.’


Materials: Glass, glass enamels, glass frit, dichroic transfer paper, dichroic powder. Measurements: 32cms x 23cms x 9.5cms including resin stand


Artist Bio

Irene is a glass artist based in Co. Down who create unique pieces of glass using traditional and modern practices and techniques. These include leading, “Tiffany”/copper-foil work, kiln-formed glass, hand engraving, painting, and stained glass. Her visual response to the world is through the diverse and exacting medium of glass. The detail and patterns in nature are to her as inspirational as the expanse of land and seascapes, as an avid beachcomber, she see authenticity and beauty in found objects. These “objets trouves” often become integral elements of her finished work.