Terri Grant & Purnima Patel

Traces are all around us

Trace, a collaborative exhibition by Terri Grant and Purnima Patel, began amongst the fir trees on the campus of the Pilchuck Glass School in Stanwood, WA. In 2019, Grant, Patel, and fellow glass artist Susan Harlan were collectively awarded the Pilchuck Glass School’s prestigious John H. Hauberg Fellowship, which provides a team of artists open access to Pilchuck’s facilities, with the expectation that they will explore new ways of working with glass and engage in critical personal and artistic dialogue. The artists’ vision was to explore the concept of “trace” between themselves as individuals and community members while also invoking its relationship to the landscape and to the larger world that surrounds us all.

The project draws inspiration from the multitude of meanings associated with the word “trace”. As the Pilchuck project evolved, it became clear that “trace,” often thought of as a very small amount, has more deeply visceral meanings that evoke sensory and existential considerations. A trace can be a fragment or a relic, a smell or a taste, a hint or a shred, a speck or a stain. It also can document that something exists, acting as proof despite scale. It can be the path that leads us to our destination, beckoning us to follow or seek. Traces are all around us. Even our home, Earth, it turns out, is composed of a myriad of trace—fragments from exploded stars that coalesced over time and space.

Holding these ideas close, the artists allowed Trace to lead them, like detectives following a series of clues, to make new artistic discoveries and push the boundaries of their craft.

In the months following the Fellowship, Terri Grant and Purnima Patel continued on in their exploration of Trace, and together they share some of their discoveries here, at Bellevue Arts Museum.

Trace extends an invitation to move slowly and to take the time to notice the small details that are poignantly preserved in each work of art.

About the Artists

Terri Grant was an emergency room physician for 28 years before retiring in 2019 to focus on her creative practice full-time.  She began working in glass in 2010, and has developed an innovative process and distinctive style, which employs hand-drawn glass threads to create highly textured and evocative imagery that references the human condition.  Her work was featured in New Glass Review 37 and 39, published by Corning Museum of Glass, and as part of the BAM Biennial in 2018. Originally from Seattle, Grant currently lives and maintains a studio in eastern Washington. Learn more »


Purnima Patel is a glass artist based in Berkshire, UK. A graduate of the Royal College of Art, she works in a range of mediums including fused, cast, and lampworked glass. The vocabulary of her work is drawn not only from the material itself, but also through study of traditional patterns and practices, similar to the repeating patterns of mandalas, for meditation, prayer, healing, and art therapy. The observed patterns provide visual representations, rituals, and spiritual journeys that symbolize a cosmic and psychic order.

Her work invites the audience to engage with every relationship between the place, object and work, and requests the presence or participation from the audience to draw their own conclusions. The objects are a symbolic exchange and have a life of their own. Learn more »

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Exhibition Credit

Trace: Terri Grant & Purnima Patel is organized by Bellevue Arts Museum and curated by Lane Eagles. The exhibition is made possible with support from Art Alliance for Contemporary Glass, ArtsWA, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Media sponsor: KCTS 9. In-kind support from Seattle SignShop.

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