About the Artist
Joanne has practiced as a professional artist and designer since graduating in 2000 and spent time as a designer for Edinburgh Crystal, and as a resident artist at the National Glass Centre, Sunderland, before moving to Lime Street Studios, Newcastle-upon-Tyne in December 2012.
The range of Joanne's practice stretches from her innovative sculptural work, to design for the glass industry, commissions for corporate and domestic interiors, and education. Her glass has been shown in numerous galleries around the UK, as well as in exhibitions in Europe and America, and is featured in several publications on British Glass.
Alongside her practice, Joanne undertook academic research into glass art and technology at The University of Sunderland, for her Ph.D., which she completed in 2015 and which had a transformative effect on her work. Her research developed pioneering glassmaking techniques using digital technologies and CAD/CAM processes to create three-dimensional forms and images trapped as air bubbles, suspended within a glass space - a first in kilnformed glass. Her work is in the collections of the Shanghai Museum of Glass, the UK's National Glass Centre, and the Alexander Tutsek–Stiftung Foundation, Germany, as well as numerous private collections.
In her artwork Joanne examines how the immaterial can be exposed or preserved, making visible the intangible; utilizing air as a metaphor for thought, memory, being, and absence. The work draws connections in what makes us human, exploring themes around identity, anonymity, and empathy.
Jo Mitchell is a UK artist based in Newcastle upon Tyne. Her work combines glass and controlled air bubbles to make solid, sculptural pieces that possess an ethereal quality.
“I use glass as a literal and metaphorical lens through which to express or explore personal thoughts and feelings around particular ideas. Through kilnforming perfectly transparent layers, glass becomes the space and the window. Air then becomes the medium through which is it possible to create intangible sculptural forms. The subjects I am interested in articulating are existential and I often return to the exploration of identity, empathy, and individualism through the human form: how we consider ourselves to be and how we identify with others. The embodied air proposes that we are here then gone - perhaps leaving a trace. The forms have both physical presence and absence.”
Jo’s work intersects glass kilnforming, digital technologies, and sculpture. What makes the work technically exciting is that air is manipulated into complex three-dimensional entrapped bubbles, such as a human form with a “front” and “back”. Multiple air entrapments are kilnformed in layers to create solid artworks - a new process and a pioneering first in glass art. Joanne learned to program and operate the waterjet cutter during a Ph.D. at the University of Sunderland. She combined this new know-how with the kilnforming, and coldworking skills gained in her studio practice, to develop the new process she titled “Precision Air Entrapment”. The pieces are assembled in layers and heated in the kiln until bubbles form, then crash cooled to keep the bubbles in situ, and annealed, some spending 12 days in the kiln. Once fired, they are ground into shape and polished. The artist is currently working on her next project: a series of three-dimensional entrapped-air portraits incorporating 3D scanning technology.
“Digital technology adds to the remoteness in a sense. I think my own physical proximity or distance to the piece during the process can be, to a certain extent, discernible and used as a visual language in the work. Then questions can be asked: when the human identifiers are diminished, what remains? What is appropriated? Something which I am interested in is connection and isolation, the duality of empathy and disconnect inherent in the human condition.”
The pieces “Legion” and “Memory Echo” are acquisitions of the Collections of the Shanghai Museum of Glass and the Alexander Tutsek Stiftung Collection, Germany respectively.