Alexanders Harp

Alec Galloway, The Artist

Read the first part of this two part article here. Alec Galloway works with glass. He works between architectural realms -installing glass in buildings and spaces and also gallery based work. One of his specialisms is the idea of trying to liberate glass from is architectural straightjacket which has lead him to produce sculptures that include stained glass. Totems. He refers to then as totems. These are usually set in the landscape and employ natural light as a means of bringing elements of time and life to the work. They also function as sculptural pieces and usually sited in places close to where the land meets the water. Alexanders Harp Alex’s focus will be to respond to the sugar sheds, the sugar industry and history in relation to Greenock through the medium of glass. He’s been looking at the impact that wealth had on Inverclyde through the era when sugar barons became extremely wealthy. One of their chosen indulgences was stained glass and Greenock still boasts a fine array of the best design in glass anywhere in the world. Alec plans to document this work in relation to unearthing hidden glass treasures. He is also exploring the works from the hands of glass masters like Stephen Adam, who was widely commissioned to produce work for the rich. Most of these works are unseen by the general public which gives them an added intrigue. Alec will be undertaking glass classes which look at these pieces and explore techniques of the glass masters who made them. Participants will be able to make their own works under supervision. In addition Alec hopes to also facilitate a series of Urban Sketching classes throughout Inverclyde. The end game is the production of a new creative archive that talks about the sugar heritage and the sugar shed building in a slightly different way. Alec enjoys the idea that this archive will stand as a creative response that one day future generations will look at and be given an insight into the people who inhabited the space and also the impact that sugar refining had on Scotland and the rest of the world. bomberThe community have responded positively to the project overall, especially those with links to the sugar industry. Some of the artists of the group have undertaken community classes and worked with local schools and some amazing work has been produced. A lot of satisfaction comes from working in schools  because all school aged children are of a generation now that know little of the industry. They find out why Jamaica Street is called Jamaica Street etc. Children love the idea that their little town has a much wider past when a spotlight is shone on things like this . The project also gives the elderly members of the community a focus and platform to share their wonderful stories and experiences. Talking about this ageing generation, Alec believes they get the most out of this project, ” they feel part of it because they have the knowledge that we as artists do not possess…. and they get great satisfaction from seeing a simple story somehow crystallise into a beautiful artwork or song or poem….”. Please keep checking back with the website to find out more information about Alec’s forthcoming classes with the community.