To See a World in a Grain of Sand

— Chrysler Museum of Art

From August 12, 2022 to January 22, 2023, Atelier NL presented 'To See A World in a Grain of Sand' at the Chrysler Museum of Art — their first major exhibition in North America. With the help of community partners and the authorization of local agencies like Fort Monroe National Monument, Jamestown Rediscovery, and Naval Station (NAVSTA) Norfolk, the Chrysler team gathered sand from several locations in the region to help contemplate and celebrate the history of the local Virginian landscape. As part of this event, Nadine Sterk (Atelier NL) participated in a residency at the Chrysler Museum's Glass Studio, where she worked in collaboration with the hot shop team to create a new set of glass samples made from Virginia sand. These samples reveal colours that range from a deep dark brown to a pale light green, signifying the unique characteristics and chemical compositions hidden in the local sand. The new limited edition Zandglas #11 from Fort Monroe, VA, unveils a richly textured aquamarine colour and is the first in this series made from American soil. This collaboration with the Chrysler Museum adds a new layer of meaning to Atelier NL's work with glass in the way that it uses sand as a catalyst to discuss deeper histories embedded within place. Everything is rooted in history and it all relates to the Earth in its most fundamental form. The stories told alongside these sand samples provide a small glimpse into this reality. 

"This sand is a tangible trace of our archaeological forbearers, and a reminder that understanding our shared history is an ongoing process in which we are only one part."

Custom-made wood moulds used to form molten glass into Atelier NL's signature 'Zandglas' vessels.

A beautiful aquamarine colour embedded in the sands of Fort Monroe, VA is revealed.

"This sand captures the beauty and tragedy of this space." 

Image courtesy of the Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk, Virginia, USA.

"The river is our ancient place, with flowing waters, large flat rocks, giant cypress trees, fossils and sand. That sand beneath our feet keeps us grounded. It reminds us, the Nottoway Indian Tribe, of who we are, where we come from and what holds us together."