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Glass act!: Student hides miniature glass sculptures across UK for people to find and keep

One of our students has been leaving small, multi-coloured sculptures across the country for people to find, after feeling that the art world is out of reach for many and wanting to share her passion for glass with others.

Hannah Gibson, 41, who is studying MA Glass at UCA Farnham, has so far made more than 100 figurines, which she calls Sweet Nothings, and has left them at places including Stonehenge, the White Cliffs of Dover, on trains and throughout Surrey. Each figurine is unique and has a note attached to it asking for the finder to send Hannah a message.

Hannah Gibson

“I wanted to try to bridge that gap,” Hannah says. “During my first term at UCA, I started making small cast glass sculptures, which I call Sweet Nothings as they are meant to look like Jelly Babies and as though they are whispering ‘sweet nothings’ to one another. The idea is that anyone who finds a sculpture gets to keep it as their own piece of art.”

Each figurine takes around seven days to make. The process starts with making a lost wax sculpture and investing it in plaster. After a day the mould is 'steamed out' and the space filled with glass, which is then placed into a kiln for three days. The figures are then placed onto a Rociprolap, which shakes the glass until it is flat.

The sculptures are testament to Hannah’s love for working with glass and her passion to share art with as many people as possible. Having previously studied Geology, Hannah was encouraged to pursue her creative talent by her husband and sons and applied to study at UCA.

Hannah Gibson Sweet Nothings

“The MA seemed a wonderful opportunity to work with artists and craftsmen in a fantastic environment,” Hannah adds. “With a Geology degree, I find I can draw from my knowledge of mineralogy to help experiment with various metals and minerals within the glass. Being at UCA is a little like being in the ultimate sweetshop. The facilities are just incredible. The only downside is that they make us go home in the evenings!” 

Hannah, who is set to complete her MA next year, has been delighted with the responses she has received from people who have found her figurines and has been contacted by all but two of her sculptures’ finders. “My favourite responses are from people who have named their figurines. I have had some wonderful names so far, from Andra to Olaf. Most people have sent pictures which I love. I can't even begin to express the joy it gives me when someone finds one and sends a message.”