The Saidye Bronfman Prize is Canada's most prestigious fine-crafts award. It includes a generous CA$ 25,000 award and the winning work is added to the Canadian Museum of History's permanent collection. The 2019 award has gone to Susan Edgerley, who uses glass as a means of expression for her complex musings on the ethereal aspects of Nature, going as far as to compare the medium to a writing tool and the glassmaking process to writing a story. "Glass is, for me, a poetic material. I've never really been attracted to making objects with glass. I've very much been attracted to using glass as a means of expression..." the artist says in the video below. "I work in many different techniques and each technique speaks to a certain idea that I've been trying to express at that time in a series of work," Edgerley states in a video on the site of the Canada Council for the Arts. Edgerley's works are abstract yet organic, ethereal yet earthly; they take inspiration from intricate details found in nature, such as seaweed and foliage but their glass component lifts them into a more mysterious, intangible space.
The multimedia quality of Edgerley's works distinguishes them further from the world of craft in glass. While there is an obvious interest in the material itself, glass is, for Edgerley, a means to arriving at something more conceptual, as she asks fundamental questions about nature and seeing. It is quite exciting that such meaningful work in contemporary glass has had the opportunity to shine through by way of this great prize.