Sunday, 23 September 2012


Earlier this year I took part in an exhibition called 'The Making of It'. The show went really well despite the terrible weather we had at the opening and was quite well received. It's hard to give an accurate overview of the space as it doesn't translate very well into my photos. It was actually a really great venue and considering how different and diverse the work was it actually gelled extremely well together. I was the only glass artist  taking part but there was also painters, sculptors and performance artists. 

Below are some photos of one of the panels I exhibited, how its lightbox was constructed and how it looked in-situ. Like my previous work the panel 'Greed' was created using traditional stained glass techniques. The colours are created by the glass itself except for the yellows which are silverstain. This is fired on along with the paint to create the overall effect. The clear glass that shows up as white is also sandblasted before the whole thing is leaded together and framed in a lightbox. 

'Greed' Roz McKenzie 2012. 
Glass 33.5 x 73cm. Lightbox 52.5 x 92.5 x 11.5cm.

Measuring the wood.

Starting to construct the lightbox.

Inside of lightbox prior to staining and electrics.

View of exhibition space with panels in the background.

Panel on back wall.

Two panels together through another artists installation.

Greed : The Inspiration

 We can follow the whole history of human endeavour through the eyes of greed. As the West explored the world it was for gold, or land, or resources, or money. And we never cared who we had to trample on to get what we wanted. In America we wiped out 80% of the population in some places with small pox straight off the boat. And that’s before we started killing them and taking their land. Not to mention China and the opium wars, or the Aztecs and their gold.

In the 70s Nestle was discovered telling new mothers to use their substitute formula instead of breast milk, which when mixed with dirty water killed huge numbers of babies. Once it was countries trying to carve out empire, now it’s multinationals and big business destroying the world, not caring who’s hurt as long they’re making money. Lots and lots of money.

The greed of the few at the expense of the many is as relevant now as it has been throughout history. In the current recession, the collapse of the banks and the spiralling economic woes of the Eurozone, it is easy to see how greed has played its part. And still there are those who profit from the misery of others. The speculators and the bonuses and the golden handshakes in back rooms. They’re sitting right now on their yachts in the Caribbean while Athens burns.

Thursday, 7 June 2012

The Making Of It Exhibition

I am taking part in an exhibition at the Old Ambulance Depot on Brunswick Street in Leith. The exhibition has an opening on the 16th of June from 6 to 9pm and is open every day thereafter from 10 - 5pm. There is also a closing event on the 28th of June to coincide with the Leith Late festival when the exhibition will be open from 6 - 9pm.

I will be taking part in the exhibition with a group of other artists from all over Europe, as well as from Scotland. There will be performances (dates and times on below poster) as well as painting, sculpture and of course my own glass creations!

There will also be a dedicated blog for the exhibition on which we will post videos and images of the gallery and the performances, it can be found here.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Scots Language Panels

(Panel 1. Haverin like yer storm damaged hauld yer wheesht!
Translation: You are talking like there is something wrong with your head (probably drunk), be quiet.)

(Panel 1. Detail)

I recently exhibited at the Whitespace Gallery in Edinburgh. I displayed five panels from a body of work exploring Scots language. This is a subject that really inspires me and I am going to discuss the meaning behind these panels and how they were created, but first I will talk a little about the exhibition itself.

(Panel 2. Bawheid decided tae banjo the bouncer.
Translation: That idiot thought he would start a fight (punch) with the door man.)

 (Panel 2. Detail)

The Whitespace gallery is at 11 Gayfield Square Edinburgh. It is a really nice wee venue with a lot of natural light coming in from skylights that really complemented my glass. It is run by Leigh Chorlton who was very friendly and I would recommend it as a good space to hire. I exhibited with one other artist called Andrew Smith who is someone I went to art college with and is very talented. Our work is quite different, he is a fine art painter and drawer, but I feel like they complimented each other well within the space. He also has a really good website and a blog.

(Panel 3Dae ye hink ma heid buttons up the back?
Translation: Do you think that my head buttons up the back? (suggesting that I am like a rag-doll with my head full of stuffing and no brains. Used as a rebuke when someone is trying to con or take advantage of you).)

 (Panel 3. Detail)

The five panels I displayed were initially designed to be hung in a window space with natural light. However this was not available at the Whitespace Gallery and so instead I built individual light boxes for my work. At the time this seemed like an annoyance and I was worried my work would suffer from having a synthetic light source, but now I couldn't be more delighted. I like my work in the lightboxes far more than I did as pieces hanging in a window. I think they really enhance the appeal of the glass as a overall product and make it more substantial as an object.

(Panel 4. Away an boil yer heid ye eejit!
Translation: Go away, you are such an idiot that you would boil your own head.)

 (Panel 4. Detail)

I have made these panels using traditional stained glass techniques. The different colours are created using antique glass which I then paint my designs on to with black tracing paint. First I paint the outlines and fire them in a kiln, then I paint in the shading and fire them a second time. I have also sandblasted the back of the clear float glass which has been painted with silver stain in places creating rich yellow and brown colours. these have also been fired for a third time. After my images are complete I lead my panel together before soldering and puttying it. Finally I set them into the lightboxes that I build myself. They are each lit with two fluorescent lights that are plugged into the wall.

(Panel 5Fair geis me the dry boke that yin!
Translation:That person makes me feel like I want to be sick.)

(Panel 5. Detail)

I created a series of panels based on Scots language because it is a subject close to my heart. I have always been very interested in storytelling and so this project has really fed into that. I am Scottish and I am used to hearing a wealth of sayings and local wisdom on a weekly basis. When we speak the words we use everyday we seldom think about their actual meanings. Each of these panels contains a Scottish saying that the design then illustrates. These are words of common usage where I am from and they explore the richness of my heritage. These phrases and sayings are poetic by their very nature. I was interested in de-constructing this visually as they already conjured up such surreal imagery in my mind.

 (Panels hanging in exhibition space)

Stained glass is traditionally seen in churches and depicts holy imagery. I have used illuminated lettering similar to that found on old Celtic or religious documents, often written by monks. These were very precious and never seen back when all books were handwritten. What was in them had to be of great importance because they took so long to write and illustrate. By framing my panels in this manner I elevate these colloquialisms to high lore with almost religious significance which old stained glass always had. The sayings are the modern day version of this, spoken as common knowledge. Doing this elevates local wisdom to gospel. This should create an interesting and comical juxtaposition between the religious/intellectual and rough everyday slang.  

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Glass Trinkets

Before and after photos in my kiln of my glass trinket designs. First I sieve coloured frit on to the shapes I have cut and fuse them in the kiln. Once they have cooled I paint on tracing black and fire them a second time at a lower temperature. After they have cooled for a second time I drill holes in them and thread the beads on cotton cord.