Photograph and artwork by Al Leigh Sotold
Engaging Space and Honoring Place
utilizing light medicine, color therapy, and the power of intention to nurture healing and hold space with stained glass
Radically Reorganizing Space-Time
Light is ubiquitous, but does it always have to look the same?
Akin to air, light is omnipresent in our lives, it pervades the most subtle experiences of our realities and serves as the lens through which we perceive the world.
Playing with shaped, distorted, and colored light shifts the energy of a space by changing our relationship with light from passive to active; physically disrupting thought & gaze patterns; subtly calling into question the ’truths’ of our realities, and inviting the onlooker to slow down and practice curiosity.
I incorporate glass and ceramic objects found in the Delaware River, broken and discarded glassware, curios, antiquities, and 'scrap' glass to challenge the concept of time, place, and what constitutes 'artistic' material, breathing new life into discarded objects and reviving their relevance. Relics of the past hold a place of prominence in my pieces and serve as a reminder of who we are, where we’ve come from, and how far we’ve yet to go.
The practice of light and color therapy can be traced to ancient civilizations around the world; knowledge of heliotherapy, a practice of utilizing the sun for medicinal purposes can be dated as far back as 2600 BCE. Since, cultures and civilizations have developed their relationships with Light Therapy through use of chromotherapy, Phototherapy, Bright Light Therapy, Low Level Laser Therapy, Actinotherapy, and Thermotherapy. At the turn of the century, modern Science began to make significant breakthroughs regarding the physiological and psychological healing possibilities of sunlight and colored light, 'proving' with western science that sun and colored light do indeed have significant impacts on our well-being.
Spiritually, the power of light has been understood by individuals on a seeker's journey since pre-civilization. We continue to witness the tradition of utilizing light and color to affect spiritual awakening in cathedrals, synagogues, mosques, Buddhist temples, yoga studios, and more.
Today, light therapy is most commonly accepted in use by dermatologists with LED Red light facial technology, the use of UV saunas and the ever-present Seasonal Affect Disorder lamp. Similarly, the psychological affects of color are widely taught by marketing companies, utilized to influence consumer behaviors.
Rooted in research by modern science, holistic healing, and histories of color and symbology, I aim to incorporate the metaphysical healing properties of color accompanied by light as well as carry forward the historical cultural meanings of color in my work.
Gifts with Intention
My processes for design is rooted in the belief that no matter how big or small, stained glass carries an energetic presence. As such, my designs begin by asking these two questions: how do I want the onlooker to feel when they're looking at this piece, what energy do I want to invite into a space?
Commission work is especially fulfilling because I get to know the gift-giver and recipient holistically through supported and safe energetic exchange and conversation. I explore the energetic intentions of the gift-giver, personal and aesthetic qualities of the recipient, as well as the relationship between the gift-giver and recipient, in order to create a piece that resonates with the giftee on a spiritual and bodily level.
My Role in this work is to serve as a vessel or channel for the giftee. While making, I hold the recipient in attention and meditate while creating for them. Upon completion, the piece no longer feels 'of me' and belongs fully to the piece's rightful owner and lives in an energetic realm between the giftee and recipient.
My art is the storytelling of my own healing journey. I meditate deeply while making, letting little pieces of me fall out of my brain and into my hands. Making has allowed me to feel safe inside myself and practice radical love. The craft of glasswork holds me accountable to the present moment and grounds me when my mind begins to float away.
My creations rest in an in between space: the space between myself and you. Although many works begin as intrapersonal dialogue, as they materialize in glass, music, writing, etc. they reach beyond the boundaries of my own imagination and enter a new space outside of myself, a place of connection with we.
Thank you for witnessing me
Curious about how you can bring intentional light into your space or the life of a loved one with stained glass? Send me an email and let's explore possibilities together