“Everything’s Better with Glitter!” That’s what I said when I first saw the
Glass Cathedrals diorama wall sculptures by Lisa Swerling in NYC last week. Lisa Swerling is a UK born artist currently living near San Francisco with her family, and she was in New York to participate in the Crafts on Columbus show in Manhattan’s West Side.
Lisa Swerling has said that the ideas behind the Glass Cathedrals are based on thoughts she’s been having since she was a child: Do I have to tidy my room? I’m going to die one day. I don’t want to jump in the pool. Yay, glitter!
(I must say I second that last one!) Each diorama is a miniature snapshot of an idea, a world, a moment. They are often irreverent or topical, with the title or caption of the piece giving the art added humor. In the words of their creator, Lisa Swerling, “Sometimes is something about the relative scale of the tiny people inhabiting these worlds, that makes their pursuits by turns heroic, tragic, humorous, wistful – a celebration of the human condition.”
Several of the pieces are slightly naughty, but the tiny scale of the figures, which the artist gets from a German model railroad company, renders what would otherwise be R-rated content a liberal PG with a frisson of humor. Pieces like “The Marriage Vow” showing a couple leaping into a white glitter void, or “The Seed” showing a young couple planting a young seedling, would make wonderful wedding gifts or anniversary gifts, as would “All the Days” which shows as couple bicycling together across the map of your choice, and others showing couples growing old together or sharing a pillow.
Pieces like “Original Creation” and “The Family Tree” celebrate family, and the figures can be chosen to reflect the members in yours. One piece in particular, “One is Small, but Two Can Touch the Sky” would make a wonderful Mother’s Day gift or Father’s Day gift. For children, there are several that would delight. Some are sheer whimsy, while others like “Dream Big” and “Dreaming of One Day” are perfect for encouraging the aspirations of the children in your life who have dreams of becoming footballers (soccer players), figure skaters, show jumpers, trapeze artists, etc…
(Most of the dioramas can be customized regarding the gender, coloring, and initials of the people, to make the art better reflect your life.)
I love anything covered in glitter, but if glitter is less your style, never fear.
There are thought provoking and humorous dioramas for you as well. Two of my favorites are “An Utter Disregard for Consequences” and “In Case of Emergency Break Glass.”
Lisa Swerling’s humor and creative vision, as expressed through the Glass Cathedrals has generated some wonderful press. If you’d like to read the LA Times had to say about her work, click here. Amazingly, the images below represent only a sampling of her work.
To see more witty, touching and customizable shadow boxes, visit Lisa’s website directly.
The Glass Cathedrals dioramas by Lisa Swerling inspire in me feelings of tenderness, sometimes wistfulness, and often a chuckle at their wit. I hope you like them as much as I do!