Catherine White

Castlegar, BC

Catherine White

Featured Sculpture

Catherine White - Family Journey (metal, fused glass)

Robson resident Catherine White has been creating beautiful art using stained and fused glass for nearly forty years. Other than a prototype she did last year however, this is her first time using the medium as part of a sculpture for her hometown's Sculpturewalk. For that matter, any sculpture exhibition at all.

You would never know it. Her intriguing, brilliantly coloured piece on display combines the beauty of fused glass with stark black metal. Using the two she has created a work that is wonderfully balanced and finely proportioned.

Family Journey depicts a family of stylized geese winging their way towards an unstated destination. The two adults soar above their three offspring, surrounded by bulrushes. The head and body cavities, surrounded by rings of black metal, are filled with glorious fused glass pieces. Eye-catching shades of blues, greens, red, yellow and orange are fashioned in a variety of shapes, filling the surrounding metal in a rainbow splash of geometric patterns.

The beaks and elongated necks are crafted in the same black metal, defining the avian family while providing outstanding contrast. Their wings - loops of metal - are positioned at varying angles to enhance the notion of implied flight.

"It was challenging, especially for the adult geese, to convey flight," she says. "I couldn't suspend them, so I had to support their bodies somehow. I think I was more successful with the goslings, if you look at the wing angles collectively you get the impression of them flying."

White laughs, exclaiming, "They should move somewhat with a decent wind though, so that's encouraging!" She credits her husband, Michel Desharnais, for his assistance with the metal aspects of her beguiling, innovative sculpture.

A trio of tall bulrushes, the bulb heads varied hues and tones of coloured and patterned fused glass, fan out symmetrically behind the family. A smaller iridescent bulrush flanks one side of the younger birds.

The bulrushes too will sway in a moderate breeze, giving Family Journey relative motion that befits the movement implied by the title. The family is on the move, all pointed in the same direction.

It is an incredibly lovely piece, warm and inviting even given the relative coolness of the metal that defines and delineates their dazzling bright bodies and heads.

As White explains in her nameplate, the colours represent the diversity of family while the bulrushes signify the beauty found in their journey, as well as the obstacles they face.

She has been creating objets d'art, using both techniques of stained glass and fused glass, for many years.

"Fused glass is more appropriate for a piece like this," she explains. "I cut the glass pieces then put the matching pieces together in my kiln at about fifteen hundred degrees. That's the process in a nutshell. It will also do well outside."

Her kiln is an integral part her studio - Catherine's Glass Studio - on Columbia Avenue, below the artisan store Yes Please! She was persuaded by friends and customers to set up shop on a permanent basis following the success of several pop-ups she launched for the holiday season.

Never one to seek the limelight, White had trepidations about entering her sculpture at all. That was needless worry on her part. Family Journey is vibrant, fluid and cohesive - a stunning juxtaposition of coloured glass and flat black metal that collectively sings.

Artist's Sculptures