Newest Chrysler Exhibit Connects People with Places Through Sand

by | Aug 23, 2022

Norfolk is one of the East Coast’s leading creative epicenters, and the Chrysler Museum is one of the city’s best spots to enjoy fine art. The museum offers rotating exhibits for locals to enjoy works from curators worldwide. The newest exhibit is one of a kind, drawing art enthusiasts to enjoy eye-catching pops of color adorning glass masterpieces created using sand from around the world.

To See a World in a Grain of Sand

Atelier NL (founded 2007) Lonny van Ryswyck, Dutch, b. 1978 Nadine Sterk, Dutch, b. 1977 Portrait of the artist-designers Atelier NL, 2017 Courtesy of Atelier NL Photography by Mike Roelofs © Mike Roelofs

August 12th kicked off the latest exhibit to join the Chrysler, To See a World in a Grain of Sand, courtesy of Dutch design studio Atelier NL. The studio strives to showcase through its pieces the “value of local materials and the graceful subtleties of the natural world by reshaping raw earth elements into tangible, everyday objects.”

The newest global, collaborative exhibit on display features people’s diverse and rich relationships with their local environments. For the past ten years, Atelier NL studio founders Nadine Sterk and Lonny van Ryswyck, have collected sand from people worldwide. The sand collected from these individuals holds special meaning or memories unique to them. Sterk and van Ryswyck then take this sand from around the world and heat it at a high temperature to produce glass that displays unique colors and textures linked to their sources. These masterpieces range from displays to glassware and have drawn admirers from near and far.

Atelier NL (founded 2007) Lonny van Ryswyck, Dutch, b. 1978 Nadine Sterk, Dutch, b. 1977 Glass Experiments, 2017–ongoing Glass melted in ceramic crucibles Courtesy of Atelier NL Photography by Blickfänger

Creating art in such a way that connects individuals to their memorable experiences in unique places becomes a global interactive exhibit that visitors can draw a personal connection to while viewing. The beauty of taking something so simple and universal as sand and crafting it into a personal and unique experience is a craft that Sterk and van Ryswyck have mastered beautifully. The exhibit also includes photos of where the sand originated from and stories behind the sand’s significance.

Atelier NL (founded 2007) Lonny van Ryswyck, Dutch, b. 1978 Nadine Sterk, Dutch, b. 1977 Adding molten glass during glassware production (Zandmotor Edition) 2006 Courtesy of Atelier NL Photography by Blickfänger

This traveling exhibit will highlight sand from Virginia locales throughout the exhibition. While the allure of seeing exotic sands from around the world is the main draw, displaying art created from local sand through partnerships with Fort Monroe National Monument, Jamestown Rediscovery, and Naval Station (NAVSTA) Norfolk. Hampton Roads locals can view the art through a unique lens that allows learning about and celebrating our home. 

To launch the exhibition, Nadine Sterk worked in the glass studio alongside the Chrysler Glass Studio team to melt down sand collected from Fort Monroe into a cullet, then remelted further to create the glass masterpieces on display. See the entire process on the Chrysler’s Instagram page.

Enjoy the international pieces and newly created local glass art pieces at the To See a Grain of Sand exhibit, which is happening now through January 22nd, 2023.

Atelier NL (founded 2007) Lonny van Ryswyck, Dutch, b. 1978 Nadine Sterk, Dutch, b. 1977 Glassware: Savelsbos Edition, 2017 Mold-blown glass Courtesy of Atelier NL Photography by Blickfänger

Tiffany Frazier

Ghent, NFK

Tiffany grew up in Chesapeake but has called Norfolk home for the past seven years. She fell in love with the city while working with Festevents during college summer breaks. She graduated from James Madison University (Go Dukes!) with a degree in corporate communication. Tiffany now works as a digital marketing specialist and enjoys strolling and rollerblading her way around Norfolk. She lives in Ghent with her husband Trevor, and their two cats, Tux and Joe. 

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