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It's a chandelier - but like nothing you've ever seen before

Inspiration comes from a warning used by drug dealers

The glass trainers, which have real laces threaded through them. Photo by: Simon Bruntnell.

It’s a chandelier – but not as we know it.

Huddersfield artist Andrew Collins has taken his inspiration from a sight often seen on deprived estates and down-at-heel urban areas.

And Andrew’s glass sculpture of trainers hanging over telephone lines has won him a prize at the International Festival of Glass.

The 37-year-old’s piece, which is a chandelier of glass shoes, was awarded the runners-up student prize at a ceremony in the West Midlands.

Andrew Collins and his nephews Alex and Rafi Collins-Kanaan. Photo by: Simon Bruntnell.

Andrew said: “To be accepted into the most prestigious glass exhibition was my single greatest achievement.

“To take a prize away is surreal. To be recognised by top professionals in my field is something special.

“It has given me a huge lift in confidence and the affirmation that I’m moving in the right direction.”

The sculpture, which was displayed in the British Glass Biennale exhibition, is called ‘Urban Chandelier.’

The shoes have real laces attached and were gilded with designs including three stripes. Photo by: Simon Bruntnell.

It has been suggested that the practice of shoe tossing marks a drug gang’s territory. The shoes are high up so they are easily seen and identified, but not easily removed – ensuring that the message is clear to rival gangs.

Andrew, a former University of Wolverhampton student, said: “I took inspiration from the urban convention of throwing trainers over telephone lines.

“The piece aims to highlight social inequalities through the integration of contrasting status symbols.

The practice of shoe tossing is said to mark a drug gangs territory. Photo by: Simon Bruntnell.

“It’s unusual, but relatable. There are dark undertones, but it’s fun.

“Making the shoes was a multiple stage process. I made moulds from shoes, blew glass into them, cut the excess, ground them down, engraved some, masked and sandblasted them, drilled holes, attached laces and gilded them.”

Andrew is now finishing his undergraduate degree in glass, ceramics, jewellery and metalwork at the University for the Creative Arts in Surrey.

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