Archetypal Images in Art

The Peter Coreth Collection

By Kate Reynolds (Berkeley)

The name “Museum Humanum” suggests the approach Peter Coreth has taken in presenting his collection to the public. He has displayed objects from many ages and many cultures. He invites visitors to speculate on the meaning of these artefacts by seeing them in a context that reveals the commonality of human experience. In his written statement, describing the mission of this museum, he says he believes in the old maxim that the fight for survival (for the human race) must be fought by intellectual means rather than by violent acts.

Museum Humanum The Female Vessel

Peter uses the phrase, “variegated expressions of human orientation,” in describing his collection. The orientation of which he speaks is grounded simultaneously in the external world of temporal events and the subjective realm of experience. The link between these two dimensions is referred to by St. Paul when he claimed, “as above, so below” and was rephrased by Goethe when he said, “as within, so without.”

There is no clearer evidence of a disorientation from this centre than our current existential crisis. Our world lacks its own image because we have lost an understanding of the coordinates that join these polarities. We no longer agree upon what is true and what is real. These agreements are provisional truths but they underlie all high cultures. In this collection we can see the evidence of these provisional truths, which are mythological. This is the reason why the collection has so much to teach us.

At present, the customary approach to studying art and cultural objects are similar to those of science. Science draws comparisons between things in horizontal lines like those in the categories of Linnaeus: one tree parallel to another, mammals more similar to each other than to molluscs. For scholars, art is studied by period, style, and within a specific culture. Contrary to the modern paradigm, the mythological mind makes vertical correspondences that liken an animal to a constellation, a planet to a colour or musical note.

A schematic representation of this theory could be pictured as a helix. It is a representation of the manifest universe. Time and space are round, seasons spinning and planets turning. All phenomena are serial, limited, and cyclic; each plane of existence reflected in the level above and below. The bridges between one thing and another do not have obvious links but come out of a tradition sunk deep in human consciousness; one that informs our individual and collective dreams (myth) and is called the Theory of Correspondances by Hermetic philosophers.

Here entities on one plane of existence correspond to the plane above through common rhythms; which is to say through a common modality or essential expression. The snake, whose sinuous movements correspond to a helix, the most seminal symbol for the life force in time, corresponds to a dragon on the plane above. The dragon is a hybred between biological and spiritual forces. It changes to an eagle on the plane above. The logic behind these links belong to a tradition long abandoned in the West, but still visible in all natural cultures. In megalithic and astrobiological cultures the mythic imagination forged links between animals and planets, musical instruments and implements of work, parts of the body and landscapes, cardinal directions and seasons. The nature of myth and these symbols are as inexplicable as consciousness itself.

It was for this reason that the orientation of the organic world of life and death was counterposed to the realm of the heavens for ancient man. In all the works of his imagination he looked for the blue print of these archetypes, for the form of the Sacred. The making of Art was not an existential exercise, but an attempt to find that which is unvarying and unchanging.

That has certainly been the quest of modern science. I would like to suggest that it may be more prudent to look to art for unvarying truths as has been done by Peter Coreth in this collection. For it is the intermediate zone between the inner and outer worlds that one can find what is constant to both. The language of this common field is art and myth.

Original Text can be found at the Museum Humanum’s Website

Don’t forget, ‘The Year of the Woman’ solo show by Criss Chaney, opens August 24th at 3pm. At Museum Humanum, Fratres 11, A-3844 Waldkirchen/Thaya, Austria. For more information please email


Museum Humanum, Fratres welcomes international Artist Criss Chaney for Solo Show

Window Glass Wall Art

As part of the 2013 Kulturbrücke, hosted by the Museum Humanun, Fratres, Austria, I have been invited to fill the gallery with as much artwork as I can. This years theme its ‘The Year of the Woman’, so I have created a dozen new pieces specifically for this show revolving around the theme of women, goddesses and caves, using my unique blend of glass and mixed media. The exhibition opens August 24th, and is free to all, but bring your wallets as this is a unique opportunity to buy some original artwork and support the Museum in its cultural activities and events.

Hope Winch Society Prize

Hope Winch Society Prize 2011This is the second year running that I have been commissioned to make the annual award for the Hope Winch Society. This award goes out to a third year student who has been voted the most proficient in their year. This years lucky winner was Xin Ning Tan a student from Malaysia.  The design of the award is based on a gelcap and is solid sculpted glass weighing 1.5kg.

The Hope Winch Society is for all University of Sunderland Pharmacy Graduates.  Named after Hope Constance Monica Winch, who was appointed as the first head of the University’s pharmacy department and was instrumental in its development. After Hope Winch’s death in 1944, the Hope Winch Memorial Committee was set up, and formed the Hope Winch Memorial Scholarship, a prize awarded to the most proficient 2nd year pharmacy student. The presentation of this is at an award ceremony which includes a lecture from an invited high-ranking individual. This is known as the Hope Winch Lecture. Now, the committee gives give the prize to the most proficient third year student, and there are also prizes for most proficient first and second year students.

If you have an award or prize that you would like made in glass, please contact me to discuss your needs.

Arts Festivities in Sunderland

I will be having a stall at the first ever American Market on July 2nd, in Sunniside Gardens, Sunderland. I will have a selection of small gift items for sale including original handmade jewellery, and paperweights.Glass Necklace Sunderland

I will also be offering people the chance to have a go at making your own glass to take home, it’s a little taster session for my full six week evening class. Cost £10.
You can make a small item for yourself, or as a gift, its totally up to you what you want to make, it could be a small sculpture, an item of jewellery, a little box, or bottle, coaster… really anything you can make in clay- we can do in glass. The taster session will last between 45 minutes to an hour and half it depends on how much detail you want to put in your piece and how long it takes you to sculpt it.
Handmade Jewellery, SunderlandThis session is great for kids as well. Once you have sculpted your clay, we will pour the mould, you’ll have to let it sit for about 30 minutes, in which time you could go and enjoy the other wonderful activities we have going on in the park including a live 50’s style rock’n’roll band. Then you can come back and dig out your clay, and clean out the inside of the mould, and pick your glass to go into it.
I will be casting all the glass at a later date, but I will be videoing it so you can see all the steps. Then your piece will be ready to pick up!

This market is part of the Sunderland International Friendship Festival which runs across the city. This year we are celebrating our connections with the US, Washington DC being one of our twin cities, the theme is aptly coordinated to the US celebrations, 1-4th of July, culminating in American Independence Day celebrations at Washington Old Hall on Monday, July 4.

On July 2nd the great activities and entertainment includes:

  • Live glassblowing demonstrations in the gardens

  • Ceramics demonstrations and you can have a go at making your own pot

  • Make your own glass sculpture mini sessions

  • 22 stallholders selling fine foods, handmade crafts, and gifts

  • Live Jazz

  • American Style Rock’n’Roll Band

  • Live Radio Broadcast by Spark FM

 Activities in Sunniside Gardens July 2nd 2011

Art Courses at Creative Cohesion

Well Joe Robinson’s Life drawing classes are off to a good start, they’ve been running for a few weeks now, and we have a steady flow of professional, amateur, and student artists. Remember its never too late to take up drawing and its never too late to take this course- each session is a standalone session, and all materials are provided. Just bring £15 and your inspiration. Classes are held Wednesday evenings 6:00-8:30 pm.

Liz Shaw’s Ceramics workshops are going to start on this Tuesday (June 7th) so its not too late to join. They will be starting from 6:00pm and will end at 8:30pm. The sessions will be £15 pound each. In the first week she will be covering Slumping, throwing and also if there is time, some slab building. If you are interested in coming down then either give her a ring on 07816204986, or just turn up at Creative Cohesion, 20-21 Nile St, Sunniside, Sunderland, SR1 1EY.


Announcing a New Course: Glass Sculpture and Casting!

Learn to cast glass and create your own art pieces from scratch. Great for easy and personal gifts or just to liven up your home. Make sculptural decorative work, or a functional display item.

This class will cover clay sculpting, basic open facemoulds, rubber alginate moulds, lost wax, and glass casting. Perfect for beginners to learn the process, and for those who already know the process to experiment with new ideas.

A range of glass is included in the materials fee, and all Materials will be provided. Please wear old clothes, plaster can be messy.

Course Fee: £125 for six, three-hour sessions Payment due at first lesson.

Location: Creative Cohesion, 20/21 Nile Street, Sunderland, SR1 1EY

Dates: Mondays, July 4th, 11th, 25th, Aug 1st, 8th, 15th 6-9pm

You can contact me if you have any questions- or if you’re ready to roll just fill in the course registration form!




Plaster/Quartz Mould

Well I’ve finished my latest mould I don’t have too many pictures of this process as I was elbow deep in plaster most of the time, but I’ll describe it here as best I can. I started out with the wax, with the negative stalactite shapes in it, now, as discussed in my previous post, the plaster that fills these shapes needs to be slightly softer than the rest of mould, so that when the the piece has been cast as the glass cools down and contracts, the plaster needs to be soft enough to flex and give way to the glass, otherwise the piece will crack. But of course this softer plaster needs to be strong enough to hold up to all the processes that happen to it before it gets fired, so in order to reinforce it I have taken the advise of far more experienced casters Heike Brachelow and Katya Filmus and used cuts of copper wire embedded into the mould as it was set.

I hand built the mould  in one part, so the first step was to prepare the copper wires to fit into the stalactite shapes, I’ve never used this method before myself, I’ve only heard it described to me, and I was a bit concerned about the wire being smooth and having no tooth, so I used one piece of slightly thicker wire about 1mm and wrapped a fine copper wire around it, about .02mm thick to give it a sort of thread. I cut them down to a length that meant they stuck out of the stalactite a bit and would be sticking into the main part of the mould. I prepared a small mixture of the weaker plaster and quartz (normally I use a 50/50 ratio of plaster to quartz, just taking alternating handfuls of each, for the softer mixture I just added an extra little bit of quartz) I poured (well dribbled really it was such a small quantity) that into the stalactite shapes and as the plaster set I wanted to ensure that the wires were in their correct positioning. I didn’t want the wires to be all the way at the tip of the stalactite because when the glass is cast, if any of the copper touches it, the copper oxide can cause the glass to turn blue, so I had to keep adjusting the wires to the correct and centered position as the plaster was setting.

Then I proceeded with the usual 50/50 mixture hand building the mould, I did a couple layers and then put a chicken wire cage around it and put on another couple layers. Once it had set, it was time to steam out the mould. I’ve spoken to a few people about how long one should wait for a plaster/quartz mould to set before they steam out the wax, I was initially taught that it takes 24 hours for the chemical reaction to be 100% finished and if you steam out before then you could lose surface detail. But in my own experience I’ve never had much problem steaming out once the mould has cooled off. For this particular mould I decided to wait a week, when I have attempted this shape in the past, what I found was that in the steaming process the stalactites in the mould fell off, because they got so soft from all the moisture. So this time I wanted the mould to be well set and also to dry out a little. While it was steaming out I checked and rotated it often to ensure that one area wasn’t getting over saturated. And Voila! So far so good, the mould has come out just fine, and its now drying out, getting ready to go in the kiln. All I’ve got left to do is order the glass!

Latex Moulds

Now that my bronzes have arrived safely I’ve started on making the glass section of the sculpture, its in wax at the moment, and I’ve decided to make a latex mould of it in case anything happens to it in the casting process. Once the latex mould is finished I can use it to make wax copies of that shape.

Here is the first layer of latex freshly painted


The first step in the process, is to paint two layers of latex directly onto the wax, letting them dry thoroughly between each layer. Then mix the latex with latex gel thickener- follow the instructions on the packaging. I get my latex from They recommend mixing their latex in a proportion of 10 parts latex to 1 part thickener. Do a few more layers of that until if feels good.

Here, I have filled the shapes the stick into the mould with cotton wadding.

Now here’s where I went a bit rogue, and other ‘proper’ artists might find this a bit distasteful. I needed the little shapes that recede into the wax to hold their shape firm enough so they could stand on their own and if I needed to pour another wax in the wouldn’t cave, or bend with the pressure of the wax pouring in. But I also needed them to be flexible enough to squish when I pulled them out because there are some undercuts in the shape. I looked into a soft foam mixture that I could pour into it, but it seemed quite expensive for the little bit that I needed and I didn’t know if it would work. So I just decided to stuff the shapes with cotton wool and tape them in with packing tape, I did a couple layers of this with more cotton wadding and tape and made the shape as much of a smooth hemisphere as I could. Then painted a couple more layers of the latex and gel thickener, to get the overall mould to a good thickness. Then I just put tape over the latex to reinforce it and also it’s kind of ‘grippy’ and I wanted the outside to be able to slip in and out of the plaster mould easily.

Then I carefully pulled the latex off the mould and it worked a charm.

Finished latex mould with wax


With the wax safely removed from the latex mould I will then make a plaster/quartz mould around it, melt the wax out, and put it in the kiln to melt the glass in. And this is where its a bit tricky, as you can see from the pictures, there are negative stalactite shapes poking in to the wax, and where the mould fills these shapes it will be quite fragile. Not only that but the mould in that area needs to be made quite soft, as the piece cools down in the kiln the glass will shrink around that shape and if it’s stiffer than the glass it will cause the glass to crack. Thus the mould in this area will be even more fragile, and in the past when I have attempted this, the tips of the stalactites have broken off.


I will keep you posted on my progress. Wish me luck!