Brachlow, Heike (German, b.1970)

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Exploring the interaction of colour, form and light in solid cast glass, Heike Brachlow’s sculptures are concerned with movement and transformation. Her primary focus is the investigation of transparent colour in glass, and how the works can change depending on the viewing angle, when set in motion, or in changing light conditions. Thick-thin variations of form, curves and angles, the optical properties of glass, and matte or polished surfaces all impact the appearance of her final objects, which are capable of transition from one state to another.

This fascination with the beauty of light and movement stems from her time working for a glass-blowing workshop in New Zealand. Here, she became captivated by the radiance of the transparent colours when light shines through glass. At university she furthered this interest and first discovered her casting technique, through which she was able to express geometric abstract forms and sharp edges.

Working in this technique ever since, Brachlow’s cast glass sculptures appear solid and weightless at the same time. Her works appear as completely different objects under different sources of light, and according to their thickness. Ultimately, their stunning luminosity and metamorphic nature aim to physically engage the viewer. Invited by the interaction of colour, form and light, the viewer is encouraged to contemplate what these curious sculptures could be made from and what Brachlow’s techniques could be.

Born and raised in Munich, Germany, Brachlow received her Undergraduate BA in Glass in 2004 from the University of Wolverhampton, before completing a Postgraduate MA and PhD in 2006 and 2012 respectively, from the Royal College of Art in London. In addition to working as a self-employed artist, she also works as a lecturer, teaching at the Royal College of Art and other institutions.

Her work is represented in many museum collections worldwide, including the Victoria and Albert Museum, the European Museum of Modern Glass (Germany), the National Museums Scotland, and the Tacoma Museum of Glass (USA). She has won the Jerwood Maker’s Open Award in 2011 and the Glass Seller’s Arts and Crafts Award at the British Glass Biennale in 2017.