Lung Locket with Hemlock

Glass and Silver, 8 x 9 x 2.5cm, 2014
Photographer: Sylvain Deleu



Glass and Silver, 10x8x8cm, 8x7x12cm, 11x7x4cm, 2014
Photographer: Sylvain Deleu


Liver Broach with Scarlet Pimpernel

Glass and Silver, 11x7x4cm, 2014
Photographer: Sylvain Deleu


Emma Bourke

“Having spent my formative years immersed in the natural surroundings of the West of Ireland, I feel a connection to this specific landscape and its people, customs and native plant-life. I believe that an awareness of our heritage is essential for the development of identity and the contextualisation of our cultures. My research into botanical mythology assists me in understanding my personal identity, and enables me to construct a sense of place within enlarging global systems and technology networks. Phrases, sayings and customs are an inherent part of community life, but certain ethnographic aspects of daily life are regularly taken for granted. I observe that traditional customs in my home community in Mayo, such as throwing salt over your shoulder for good luck, are quickly becoming forgotten childish actions.

My glass pieces shine a light on the rituals and knowledge of the West of Ireland being lost. This is achieved by investigating what connection lies between local poisonous wild plants and mythology. The research I undertake for each chosen plant is expressed through sculptural flame-working. I create work over an oxygenated propane flame. By melting, flattening and pulling the borosilicate glass on the torch, I create individual sections which I later hot-assemble to create a whole piece. The transparency of clear glass is intentionally maintained in order to heighten the ambiguity of an organic ecosystem. Adding a little colour to some petals allows each to become characteristically unique like the environment which inspires their conception.

Expressive sculptural works created by the processes of flameworking showcase my intuitive and informed approach to my research issues. My underlying objective is to bring the essence of what I find engaging, in the endangered customs and wild flora, unique to my homeland into my contemporary glass practice.”


Mayo County Council Collection
Museum of Ireland Collection
Corning Museum of Glass

Selected Awards

Boris Bally Residency, REclaim/Repurpose, Culture Craft, Northern Ireland
           Future Makers Practioner Award, Travel & Training, Ireland
           Golden Fleece Award, Merit Prize, Ireland
Futures Fund, University of Sunderland, UK
           John & Elsie Burton Flamework Scholarship, Pilchuck Glass School, USA
Future Makers Award, Craft Council of Ireland, Kilkenny
Hot Sculpting Masterclass. Robert Levin. Jerpoint Glass Studios,  Kilkenny

Selected Exhibitions

Solo Exhibitions:

Elucidation, Westport Arts Festival, Co. Mayo
Flora Lucida, Linenhall Arts Centre, Castlebar, Co. Mayo
           Glass Flowers, Ards Arts Center, Newtownards
Glass Flowers, Customs House Studios, Westport, Co. Mayo
          Solo Glass Exhibition, Signal Arts Centre, Bray, Co. Wicklow
Solo Glass Exhibition, Alley Arts & Conference Centre, Strabane, Co. Tyrone

Group Exhibitions/Collections:

The Ireland Newfoundland Trail: A Journey of Plants and People, Crafts Council of Newfoundland and Labador Gallery, Newfoundland
           Sociolect, MA Exhibition, The Biscuit Factory, Newcastle, UK
           Idiolect, Bede’s World Museum, Jarrow, UK
 21 Century Icons, National Craft Gallery, Kilkenny, Rathfarnham Castle, Dublin, Galway Museum, Dublin Castle
Sculpture in Context, Botanical Gardens, Dublin
Engage With Glass, Solstice Arts Centre, Navan, Co. Meath
          Spring Showcase, National Glass Centre, Sunderland, UK
          Possibilities, Garter Lane Arts Centre, Waterford
Future Makers 2009, Craft Council of Ireland, Kilkenny
International Student Exhibition, International Glass Art Society, USA
NCAD Degree Show, National College of Art and Design, Dublin

Contact Details:

Emma Bourke

T. 0857514456
E. ekbourke@gmail.com