A glinting, frozen wave rose above Fowlers Yard in a celebration of East Durham’s industrial heritage made using sea glass collected from local beaches.
Fabrication by Andrew Middleton.
Sea glass, or ‘sea diamonds’ is the name given to the tiny fragments of discarded glass found along the coast of East Durham that have been tumbled and smoothed by the waves. The majority are remnants from the glass industry of 1853 – 1921, when Seaham was home to Europe’s biggest glass works. At the end of each day, the left over ‘waste glass’ was routinely thrown over cliffs into the sea. Years later these minute beautiful reminders tell a story of an industry long gone.
To help produce this installation, Artichoke worked with the East Durham Area Action Partnership and East Durham Creates to collect sea glass from the North East coast; local community groups joined artist Stu Langley on trips to the beach, to learn more about the history of this incredible material. With spreading news of the project, donations were received from collectors and enthusiasts from across the UK.
The final Wave was found sparkling at one end of the Fowlers Yard area, home to many local artist studios. Rising up mid air, about to tumble down the street, it honoured the communities of East Durham and their history.
Stu Langley’s installation Wheels of Industry was also part of Lumiere Durham 2015 and 2013.