Walking as a meditative practice strengthens a state of attention to the present moment and connects me to nature. In a moment of presence, nature discloses the interconnection of all things. These connections embody a feeling of oneness and provide a context to the world around me. Through acute observation and intuitive response, I record and contemplate specific information about my experience and translate it into space. By investigating form and space relationships created by light, I observe a bit of magic; emptiness with purpose, a portal for communal transcendence, the essence of beauty within and around form. Stimulated by my observations, it is my intent to communicate sentiments of stillness, ephemeral space and the temporality of nature. Satori is a Japanese term used in Zen Buddhism to describe an intuitive experience, a sudden flash of awareness, individual enlightenment and a feeling of infinite space. Awareness is the hitch connecting me to existence, nature to eternity and spirituality to physics. By working in nature, I am forced to be intimate with my surroundings, to feel with my whole body. I often feel this as a connection to place. I gather and record literal examples and document my emotive response with an object, photo, video, drawing, etc. Glass is the substitution for my experience. I employ glass to both contain the actual symbol specific to my connection and to express the abstract feeling of universal oneness. Fragility, transparency and reflection are qualities of glass that most accurately transfer this personal feeling into sculpture. Studio practice provides a stage on which my ideas can come to life. I look closely at the evidence I have recorded on my walks and go deeply into it. This separation from the original experience is a continuation of a feeling through material, a place to make decisions and research my observations. As well, it is a means to transform a personal moment into a universal visual language; from inspiration to viewer experience with form, space and material. As a result, I make sensitive choices about the type of material and method that may be most effective in communicating my concept. Experimentation, models, samples and sketches prepare me to technically interpret my concept into glass. I may use pate de verre, casting and flameworking techniques, among others, to create light patterns, reflections about place and organic forms. This process also allows me to answer questions about form, light and shadow, positive and negative space and if the overall sense is being conveyed clearly. Through this method, I visualize the outcome of the sculpture and consider options for presenting the idea that reinforce my concepts. From a walk, to a feeling, to a dialogue, to a practice--my work evolves. This is the sequence of my life. Every aspect is important when you live your work. Each flash of Satori, is a moment of self discovery. Making is the center from which I navigate the world.
Library of Congress Subject Headings
Glass sculpture--Themes, motives; Glass sculpture--Technique
Department, Program, or Center
School for American Crafts (CIAS)
McDonagh, Fahan, "Satori" (2013). Thesis. Rochester Institute of Technology. Accessed from
RIT – Main Campus