Monica Guggisberg and Philip Baldwin are two of the best european master artisans dedicated to glass sculpture. They have been working together for over 35 years. Their story can be described as nomadic, a notion intrinsic to many of their works.
Their journey has brought them to explore glassworks through numerous angles and techniques. Philip was born in New York where he later obtained his BA from the American University, Washington DC, and Monica in Bern, Switzerland. She completed an apprenticeship in lampwork in Zofingen, Switzerland. They met in Sweden in 1979 when attending a glassblowing course at the Orrefors Factory Glass School and would in 1982 open their studio together in Switzerland. They worked together from their studio in Switzerland for 20 years, creating glasswork for exhibitions in Switzerland and abroad, before moving to Paris in 2001. Since 2015, their studio has been based in rural Wales, with the view over the hills.
A boat is a figure present in history and iconic symbolism from antiquity to modern times. Philip Baldwin and Monica Guggisberg’s ship carries relics, which in themselves carry the grains of human civilization in all its complexity through the ages.
Homo sapiens is primarily a nomadic species, so The Long Journey is a reflection of today’s inconstant circumstances surrounding refugees, migrants and displaced people fleeing for their lives. And yet, these people also carry with them the hopes of humanity, and, individually, the hope for a better life with new horizons and dreams.
The Long Voyage: An Evolution in Meaning is a transparent glass sculpture made of bottles of varying shapes and sizes are placed within a boat’s welded steel frame. These molded and free-blown colourless bottles sit on top of sand that covers the boat’s floor.
The boat was constructed by several people in several different locations. The largests were mouth-blown in wooden moulds at the Hergiswill Glass factory in Switzerland. The next two largest ones were blown freehand at a studio in Basel, Switzerland by Matteo Gonet, and the smaller vessels and artefacts were free-blown in Paris at Monica and Philip’s studio. In addition, the steel-framed boat was constructed by Alain Nicolet at Dany SA, a high-tech metal fabricator in Yverdon, Switzerland.
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