Catherine Byron & Simon Mills

Gloryhole is a project that aims to fuse Simon Mills's interest in using randomness to explore meaning and affective intensity in multimedia art with Catherine Byron's poetry.

As part of her AHRC Creative Fellowship research Catherine Byron is currently working alongside several of the glass artists in the Department of Glass at Sunderland University. The dazzling 'gloryhole' that is an essential tool for those who work in hot glass has become one of the key loci for her re-visioning of Chaucer's gappy Hous of Rumour. Byron has been recording the individual thoughts of these glass artists about their particular relationship with the gloryhole, both as tool, and as metaphor.

Gloryhole draws on these recordings, as well as on the poetic texts Catherine has created in response to witnessing, repeatedly and at close quarters, the disciplines and choreographies of those who are 'in the zone' when they work with hot glass, returning again and again to the gloryhole. It is a form of addiction. Much of the audio material refers to the literal gloryhole, but it also incorporates other referents of the word 'gloryhole', from the bodily to the spiritual; for example, the gloryhole in gay culture, and 'bright centre' of the focus of meditation in the 14th Century mystical treatise The Cloude of Unknowynge.

One of the goals of combining Catherine Byron's poetry with the randomly presented video and audio is to explore the production of sinthomes (Lacan's traces of affective intensities) or floating motifs. A floating motif is one that in itself is strictly meaningless, but as a repeated element can, according to context, acquire a range of expressive implications. Thus the aim of the random presentation of content is to experiment with spontaneous meaning making.

Gloryhole incorporates three soundtracks that vary in volume depending on where the viewer positions their mouse.

The implications for this structure are various and we hope interpretations will not be fixed.

Catherine Byron:
Web site:

Simon Mills:
Web site:


Poem Readers: Catherine Byron, Robert Hamberger

Hot glass artists: Kate Perry, Rachael Foster, Marte Christensen, Christine Keers, James Maskrey

Others: David Greenfield, Mahendra Solanki, Keith Rainger, Gregory Woods, Sue Thomas


We would also like to thank Peter Davies, the Head of Department of Glass at the Univeristy of Sunderland.