Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Jewel of the Universe at Palace Art and Craft Fair

Chris Chamberlain's Jewel of the Universe is a 330,000 piece stained glass portrait of the Earth, an enormous and beautiful piece of work that will be exhibited at the Palace Art and Craft Fair at Fulham Palace, London in May. Jewel of the Universe is being offered for sale for £75,000 with proceeds going to charities in Sierra Leone.

Chamberlain is a British artist who spent two and a half years in his garage creating the artwork. This illuminated stained glass micro-mosaic, which is 3.2 meters wide by 2.2m tall (10’ 6” x 7’ 3”) and painstakingly interpreted from NASA satellite photos, is the first of its kind in the world.  The piece, titled ‘Jewel of the Universe’ in homage to the Earth, is the first artwork Chamberlain has ever made. Its glass took 6 months to cut by hand and to achieve high resolution, each piece needed to be around 20 times smaller than a normal mosaic tile.

In total around 3 kilometers of glass cuts were made and the pieces were then glued one by one onto a thick sheet of perspex with a pair of tweezers. Rivers like the Mississippi, Yangtze, Ganges, Nile and Amazon are depicted with hundreds of turquoise coloured glass pieces, each the size of a grain of rice.  1,238 gemstones of 12 types – and totalling 260 carats – are placed to depict the Earth’s towns and cities.  Zircons – a natural gem second in brilliance to diamond – mark the world’s top 100 cities including London, NewYork, Dubai, Moscow,  and Tokyo. Rubies and emeralds mark the spiritual cities, and finally, a non-conflict Kimberley process diamond depicts a city long associated with blood diamonds -Freetown, Sierra Leone. The artwork is lit from inside with hundreds of LEDs.

Chamberlain says: ‘Since visiting Sierra Leone 11 years ago, right after its civil war, I vowed to help it – in my own creative way. I thought, why not make a huge artwork, a new type of art, as a homage to what may well be the most wonderful planet in the universe, and try to make it attractive enough that someone would invest a good amount of money in it? If it sells, if I’m offered just a fraction of what I’m asking, then I’ll use the money to start a fair trade arts co-operative in Sierra Leone.’  To assist immediately, if it sells Chamberlain will donate 10% of the proceeds to the 300-pupil Ivor Leigh Memorial School near Freetown.

No comments: