Megan Biddle Essay

Megan Biddle Essay

Megan Biddle
Fall 2005 Fellow

She is a Fall 2005 Resident Fellow at the Creative Glass Center of America and received a BFA in glass from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2000. In 2005, she received an MFA from the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Arts. But, Megan Biddle, says her work isn’t really focused on glass now. “I started out with it as a material and have moved on somewhat,” she reveals.

Biddle’s recent installations involve wax, plaster, paper and occasionally fiberglass. “I guess a lot of my ideas are sort of dealing with ephemerality and this sort of transitory nature of life and glass is not very impermanent. I’m interested in wax or paper because they have a limited life. Most of my

pieces are gone now.”

The shift away from glass occurred for Biddle in grad school. She had developed her glass skills as an undergraduate, but as a graduate student, she found “it really liberating to know that I don’t have to use glass but I can use glass when I need to.”

Ironically but wisely, she chose to study at the Virginia Commonwealth school in order to work with Jack Wax, one of the legendary artists using glass. “Something that was so valuable about working with Jack was that he just encouraged us to make our work. It was not about any particular material.”

Biddle comes from an art-oriented family. Her parents and paternal grandparents were all sculptors and painters. “So,” she says, “I knew that’s what I wanted to do from a long time ago.” Nevertheless, she is reluctant to place herself into any category of art-making. “I would just say, ‘I make work.’”

The image of a fingerprint has been an important motif for a time, both as a singular whole and as a textural source. Recently, Biddle says, “I came to the conclusion that I wanted to put myself more into my work” and she chose the fingerprint as a “sort of cultural transcription” which triggered an interesting body of work. She sees the print, with its ridges, whorls, deltas, and islands, as a sort of landscape which she transcribes by tracing a slide projection, producing a figure that is map-like and microscopic, like an “undiscovered world.” Not intending to make a pun, Biddle commented, “It looks familiar but you can’t put your finger on it.”

These fingerprint works, though, were not executed in glass. At CGCA, Biddle immersed herself in reviving her skills of blowing functional glass. She has worked in a production glass studio in Carmel and enjoyed the return to the discipline of the hot shop: “focusing on that and getting fluid again.” After making many bowls with flat, colored canes on the outside, she began to feel restless and begin sketching and planning more ambitious sculptural work. “It’s great to be making stuff whether it’s bowls or drawings or objects—it’s the key to happiness to always be working. I do feel somewhat unfulfilled when I’m not working on an idea.”