Glue company on the crest of a wave

2 min read

The arts sector is proving to be an unusual area of new business for one North East glue specialist, which has been appointed by local glass artist Stu Langley, to provide the glue for his latest sculpture which he is producing for this year’s Lumiere Festival in Durham.

Following a recommendation, Langley turned to Advanced Adhesives when he was looking to source a company that could supply a glue which would hold the thousands of pieces of glass he is using to create Just Wave, a stunning 2.7-metre-high frozen in time wave sculpture.

Prior to awarding Advanced Adhesives the contract, the glue specialist set about blending various resins and formulations to determine which one would work best. Once blended, each glue was tested for its strength, clarity, as well as water and sunlight resistance.

For this latest exhibit, Stu was commissioned by East Durham Area Action Partnership, East Durham Creates and event organisers Artichoke.

Just Wave has a strong North East connection and was constructed using sea glass from the now defunct Seaham Glass Factory, which is considered to be the most sought after sea glass in the World, as well as glass washed up at Hartlepool together with donations from local collectors.

In his endeavours to find enough glass to make the sculpture, Langley has received a lot of help from the local community who have recently been collecting the glass with him over a number of weekends at both Seaham and Hartlepool.

Commenting on the help he has received from both the local community and Advanced Adhesives, Langley commented: “I wanted Just Wave to have as strong a North East link to it as possible and therefore only wanted to work with a North East company when it came to sourcing the glue.At first I wasn’t sure if we would actually be able to find a glue that would not only hold the wave together but would do so without detracting from its beauty by being invisible, or discolour in sunlight.

Speaking about this latest contract, Advanced Adhesives’, managing director Graham Crozier added: “I was delighted to be able to work with Stu on such a creative project, which when it is fully erected was spectacular. At Advanced Adhesives we have the ability to carry out extensive testing and blending in-house and therefore are able to put our adhesives through rigorous trials. It allows us to respond to clients’ needs promptly as well as offer solutions which suit their application instead of them having to use an off-the-shelf adhesive which doesn’t quite do what they require.

“On this latest project the sea glass was glued to a mesh frame, which was almost three metres high and three metres long by two metres wide and was then backlit, bringing the sculpture to life.”

This is the second time Advanced Adhesives has been approached by an artist looking for help with their work. An earlier commission came from international award-winning artist Rana Begum, who had new works requiring hanging brackets bonded to the rear of the art work. Other adhesives she tested either gave an unsuitable bond or showed through on the front of her work due to a pheromone called ‘read through’ where the adhesive, during cure becomes exothermic and expands the thin gauge metal which then shows up on the front panel. Advanced Adhesives not only suggested and tested a successful adhesive solution, the company also carried out extensive strength tests on the varying material combinations to ensure that the bond strength and integrity would suit the application.