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Student Showcase Archive
Show RCA 2019

Helen Stokes

Show RCA work

  • Geometric Perspectives

    Geometric Perspectives, Helen Slater Stokes 2018
    Kiln formed glass and digital ceramic transfer
    30 cm diameter x 6 cm | Photographer: Ester Segarra

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  • Geometric Perspective

    Geometric Perspective, Helen Slater Stokes 2018
    Cast glass and digital ceramic transfer
    30 cm diameter x 6 cm | Photographer: Ester Segarra

  • Asymmetry

    Asymmetry, Helen Slater Stokes 2019
    Kiln formed glass and digital ceramic transfer
    42 cm x 42cm x 1cm


Exploring the Optical Perception of Image Within Glass

Within the contemporary world, 3D film and television imagery is at the cutting edge of visual technology. For decades we have been captivated by the creation of such visual illusions/allusions that play with our perception of the world. From auto-stereoscopic barrier methods, pioneered in 1692 by French painter G. A. Bois-Clair, to the ‘Op’ Art movement of the 1960s, and more recently Patrick Hughes' reverse perspective paintings.

By building on these new and old technologies, I intend to extend my own practice, which engages with the 2D image as a 3D allusion/illusion in glass, to examine how this type of image can be created and perceived within glass. I will explore theories of optical perception in connection with the binocular recognition of depth and space, in addition to kinetic clues to distance, through motion parallax monitoring and assumptions about default linear perspective, light and inference within our personal schemata.

  • 'Optical illusion' being an instance of a wrong or misinterpreted perception of a sensory experience. The distortion of senses, revealing how the brain organises and interprets visual information. An individual’s ability to perceive depth, 3D form and motion.

  • 'Allusion' being a symbolic or covert reference

My practical research will focus on the creation of the 3D image, within glass, and explore the notion of glass as a facilitator in working with and challenging the themes of 3D image perception. I propose to address, in particular, artistic spatial illusionary methods, reverse perspective techniques, auto-stereoscopic image-based systems, parallax stereograms and lenticular print and lenses technology

Through building upon my current practice, of working with multiple layered images within cast glass, with more complex and scientific optical methods, I intend to explore our perception of image and work with new and old 3D technologies in order to produce a body of work that examines this perception within glass. Initially the imagery for testing will be of a pictorial nature (representational) as a creative methodology, to add structure to the exploration, and this will be reviewed as an on-going part of the research process.

During my research, I aim to develop original casting processes that incorporate the optical processes of the past and of today. Continued research is envisaged and is intended to provide a theoretical basis for new glass working techniques being developed which will assist their wider applications within and perhaps beyond the glass community.


  • After graduating from The Royal College of Art in 1996, with a Master's Degree in glass design, Helen set up her business Helen Slater Glass, in Oxfordshire. Since then she has exhibited both nationally and internationally and has worked on public and private commissioned works.

    Within her PhD research she aims to push the boundaries of image perception in glass. For this research she is working in collaboration with lenticular lens producers, printers and the casting industry, in order to create works that allow the image to recede into and supersede the outer boundaries of the glass body.

  • Previous degrees

  • MA Ceramics & Glass, The Royal College of Art, 1996; BA Glass and Ceramics, Sunderland University, 1994
  • Experiences

  • Senior lecturer in 3D Design, Oxford Brookes University, 2009-16; Associate senior lecturer in Design Crafts, De Montfort University, 2013-19
  • Exhibitions

  • Venice Aperto Vetro, The Venetian Gallery, Murano, Italy, 1996; Gallery 'L', Hamburg, 1997; Lillya Contemporary Arts Gallery, Netherlands, 1997; Hanover Arts & Crafts Centre, Hanover, 1998; Rowe & More Exhibition, London, 2001; The Cowdy Gallery, Studio Glass, 2005; The Pyramid Gallery, Contemporary Glass, York, 2005; Fresh Air 09 - Quenington Sculpture Trust, 2009; Melting Point, Pyramid Gallery, York, 2009; The Affordable Art Fair, Battersea, London, 2010; Contemporary Applied Arts Gallery, London, 2010; Blast, Zest Gallery, London, 2011; CGS Glass Games, London, 2012; Hadfield Gallery, Cheltenham, 2013; CAA, London Design Week Pavilion, 2013; Catherine Hammond Gallery, Cork, Ireland, 2014; Solo Show, Art Jericho Gallery, Oxford, 2016; Biscuit Factory, Newcastle, 2016
  • Conferences

  • The Optical Perception of Image in Glass, Glass Art Society Conference, St. Petersburg, FL, 2019
  • Awards

  • Charles Bray Prize for Glass, Sunderland University, 1994
  • Funding

  • RCA Travel Funding for GAS conference, AN funding to extend GAS conference stay for further networking and research purposes.
  • Collaborators

  • Mark Taylor; Richard Henshaw
Royal College of Art