“We are excited to host our first international Artist in Residence here at the Centre,” says Lori Burke, Executive Director of Cape Breton Centre for Craft & Design, introducing Scottish Glass Caster Shaun Fraser. “We hope that Shaun’s residency will expose him to Cape Breton’s rich culture and heritage and that he will take his experience back with him.”
Fraser is currently at the Centre until the end of August as part of the Artist in Residence program, working in the Centre’s state-of-the-art studios exploring Cape Breton’s inspirational character through the medium of glass. A graduate of Edinburgh College of Art with an Honours Degree in Glass, Fraser’s glass castings have been featured in exhibits across the U.K. and he has received awards for his glass work in his native home of Scotland. As part of the Artist in Residence program, Shaun will be offering the public a chance to learn this little-known craft through workshops. He also welcomes the public to come in and watch him at work.
“I want people to come in, see the work in progress, ask me a bit about it, you know, just see the process,” said Fraser in an interview earlier this week with CBC Radio. “And hopefully that’ll give them, you know, sorta plant a seed in their heads and they might wanna take it on themselves…” (Listen to Shaun Fraser on Information Morning here)
Glass Casting involves casting glass into a mold where it solidifies. The technique has been used for thousands of years, dating back to ancient Egypt. Shaun uses kiln casting to develop his glass cast work before incorporating soil and metal oxides, which give his finished pieces their own unique personality. He uses natural and historical materials from the land to capture the emotional energy of his subjects and this will be the focus of his work at the Centre.
Fraser, who has been fascinated by the impact of events like the Highland Clearances and the Massacre at Glencoe, is excited to be in Cape Breton.
“Cape Breton was a natural choice because the Scottish ancestors of Cape Breton came to this Island because of the Clearances,” says the Inverness native. “I’m eager to learn how Cape Breton Island’s character has been shaped by these major events in Scottish history.”