Rachel Welford

Rachel Welford

An Exploration of Space and the Ephemeral through the Creation of Glass Artwork

This research is an exploration of space and the ephemeral from the perspective of an artist using flat glass. It involves the creation of autonomous artworks for a gallery context and also site-specific artworks that often become part of the fabric of a building. These architectural glass artworks are created for and in response to the nature of a space, and aim to contribute to the development of a sense of place. The research examines how the solid glass surface can be manipulated to interact with light with the aim of creating of ephemerality within an artwork, in a way that links artwork to its environment. When sited within a public space, and addressing concerns relating to the relationship between that space and its inhabitants these works sit within the genre of Public Art.

The research will explore ways in which architectural glass artworks can combine permanence and physicality with the ephemeral (e.g. by interacting with transient light and a dynamic environment). It will explore how spatial perception is affected by ephemeral elements within these artworks.


ion with the manipulation and control of reflectivity, transparency and the emission of light through glass will be key in bringing about ephemeral qualities.

The research will consider the relationship between art and environment. It will examine the phenomenology of particular spaces and the creation of a sense of place through art in architecture and the public realm. How artworks can combine a sense of place, the ephemeral and the ethereal to create meditative, spiritual and/or sacred spaces will also be examined. A survey of new types of glass and glass coatings currently being produced for the architectural industry will feed into the research. Planilum light emitting glass, developed by Saazs and Saint-Gobain Innovations and Electrochrome, an electronically controlled tinted glass by Quantum Glass, a subsidiary of Saint Gobain Glass are examples. The production of variations in reflectivity and transparency, and the transmission and emission of light will be the focus. Documentation and case studies of current use of these new types of glass and their application by architects, designers and artists, will place the creation of new artworks in context.


St. Peter’s - commissioned with Adrian Riley to design and make twelve stained glass windows for St. Peter’s church, Wearmouth.

Scarborough Hospital Chemotherapy Ward – With Adrian Riley.

Pyramid Gallery, York.

Trees and Horizons – The Pannett Art Gallery, Whitby - two person exhibition

Glass panels for La Lanterna restaurant, Scarborough.

Yorkshire Water –40m glass artwork for balustrades and exterior walls of the Headworks pumping station, Bridlington

Shortlisted for the Garfield Weston Foundation Canterbury Cathedral Stained Glass Window Competition

City of York Council – West Offices. Glass screen for the main Customer Services area and glass manifestations for the main entrance doors

Commission to make a memorial for staff, York Hospital. A collaboration with Adrian Riley

Art + Play - 20:21 Gallery. A collaboration with Kathryn Welford to make an art exhibit that also functions as a play object for under 6’s...

In a Different Light, solo exhibition at Woodend Art and Craft Gallery, Scarborough.

Commissioned by Saint Gobain Glass UK to create glass artwork for their boardroom. A collaboration with Eleanor Bird.

Glass panels for lifts in York Hospital. With Adrian Riley.

Everyone’s Always Somewhere – public art on the old railway line between Scarborough and Whitby. With Adrian Riley & John Clarke.