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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Not so fragile : an ethnography of women glass blowers in western Canada Siermacheski, Catherine


Guided by the principles of feminist ethnography and the philosophy of dialogical phenomenology, this research explores the glass community in western Canada through the eyes of seventeen women glass blowers. This unique collection of experiences elucidates the changes that have occurred in the glass community over the past four decades, and contributes to the story of glass in Canadian art and craft history. The glass world and glass objects exist in the liminal space between art and craft. As a place of growth and change, the liminal space is the antithesis of structure which therefore invites dialogue and creative development. By proposing that glass objects exist in the liminal space between art and craft, I am further proposing that women glass blowers in this space have formed a liminal 'communitas' shaped by their shared experiences. As there has been no ethnographic research done with women glass blowers in western Canada, it is of paramount importance to highlight the words and experiences of these experts; through their eyes we gain an understanding of the elite community of glass blowers in western Canada, and the challenges they face in their chosen career. Therefore, I have chosen to write the body of this dissertation in a narrative style, which not only honours the true spirit, if not intent of feminist research, but pays homage to these women by respecting that their words have relevance and should not be buried in theoretical generalizations.

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