"Elements of 21st Century Reliquaries" Sculpture Class

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A reliquary is a receptacle for keeping and displaying sacred objects (relics). In Victorian times, bell jars (cylindrical glass vessels with a rounded top and an open base) were used to protect and display fragile objects.

The artwork reliquaries of ceramic sculptor Novie Trump and mixed media sculptor Tim Tate are filled with meaning, symbolism, and are powerfully evocative. Both artists work seem inspired by an almost obsessive sense of remembrance.

One might ask: How do they make such introspective & complex works – and more importantly, how are their processes applicable for other artists looking to reference our need to create spaces for the things we hold dear?

The two DC area superstar sculptors have teamed up to teach a special sculpture class - Elements of 21st Century Reliquaries.

Novie draws on her archeology training as she creates ceramic houses, books, birds, boats and reliquaries, many that look as though they might have been unearthed on an archeological dig. She explores ideas of nest/hive/home over and over in the work. 

“…I often use archetypal symbols taken from ancient myths and tales. These iconic images take many forms: the bird as harbinger and messenger, bones as touchstones of quiet power, the forest as a threshold to the unknown. These symbols are used to express such universal human experiences as love, loss, fear, death, courage and transformation.” Novie Trump


Mixed media/video artist Tim Tate uses blown glass jars to capture universal emotions and experiences with haunting video reliquaries that push the boundaries between fine art and fine craft. Tim’s sculptures ask you to surrender your guarded self and feel the range of emotions that they provoke.

“Revelation — and in some cases self-revelation, is the underlying theme of my electronic reliquaries. But the important revelations here are in the viewer’s response to my hybrid art form and its conceptual nature.  I try to bare everything — the guts of my materials and my inner thoughts — in deceptively simple narrative videos set into specimen jars. These works are phylacteries of sorts, the transparent reliquaries in which bits of saints’ bones or hair — relics — are displayed. In many cultures and religions, relics are believed to have magical or spiritual powers, especially for healing. My relics are temporal, sounds and moving images formally enshrined, encapsulating experiences like cultural specimens. And perhaps, to the contemporary soul, they are no less reliquaries than those containing the bones of a saint.” Tim Tate

Class 1304Elements of 21st Century Reliquaries

Reliquaries with internal healing objects have been important cultural objects for centuries. They have been made with a wide variety of materials. But what makes a reliquary in the 21st century? What elements can go inside? Which materials seem most appropriate in modern times? In this class we will utilize clay and glass to explore current concepts in reliquary forms. This class will be split between a clay and kiln cast glass studio, allowing each participant the use of both materials and many techniques. There will be a wine and cheese reception at the end of this workshop to allow friends to see the work in a professional setting.

Instructor Tim Tate, Novie Trump
Dates Sat/Suns in July/Aug (July 14,15,21,22,28,Aug 4,11)
Time 1pm to 5pm
$600

Interested? Click HERE to jump to the Washington Glass School online schedule.


Novie Trump is a sculptor whose work is in public and private collections throughout the United States and Europe. Her ceramic sculpture has been selected for juried and invitational exhibitions and has been featured in books and publications. She is the founder and director of Flux Studios, a studio in Mount Rainier, MD 



Tim Tate is a Washington, DC native, and has been working with glass as a sculptural medium for the past 25 years. Co-Founder of the Washington Glass School, Tim’s work is in the permanent collections of a number of museums, including the Smithsonian’s American Art Museum, Renwick Gallery and the Mint Museum. He was the recipient of the 2009 Virginia Groot Foundation award for sculpture. He is a 2012 Fulbright Scholar recipient and was Artist-In-Residence at the Institute for International Glass Research (IIRG) in the UK.

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