Glass; Free-blown (by Louis Thompson)
Photo: Nick Moss
James’ work explores themes of identity and perception, drawing inspiration from her ongoing residency at the Bristol Eye Hospital and collaboration with the Royal National Institute of the Blind.
Intuition takes inspiration from the functioning of the human eyes and their interaction with the brain, specifically the ‘Tennis Ball Reflex’. This reflex explains why a person is able to move out of the way of an oncoming object before they are consciously aware of seeing it; vital information, particularly about movement, goes directly from the eye to the Superior Colliculus, tucked at the base of the brain stem, complementing the main pathway between the retina and the visual cortex to stimulate instant instinctive reactions. In this piece, two intertwined black pathways, representing the left and right optic nerves, are joined by a third clear channel that loops around and extends beyond them, representing this ‘sixth-sense’.
Following a first degree in textiles at the Ecole des Arts Decoratifs in Paris, Shelley worked in corporate identity design in Paris, London and San Francisco. Shelley discovered glass during an MA in printmaking at the University of the West of England and a one year residency at the University of Creative Arts (funded by the Arts Council England) made it possible to experiment with approaches to print in glass. Shelley is presently preparing an MPhil at the Royal College of Art and gives workshops at the Bristol Eye Hospital where she is an artist in residence.