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Artist Recreates the Fleeting Beauty of Sunsets With Jars of Hand-Colored Sand

Sand Art by Carly Glovinski

Some sunsets are so spectacular that there's the overwhelming feeling to want to bottle them up and keep them forever. Artist Carly Glovinski has done that, in a sense. Through her series Canning the Sunset, Glovinski recreates the beautiful sunsets she witnesses out of hand-colored sand and places them in jars. With the delicate layers of hues and the perfectly encapsulated swirls, each vessel seemingly transports us to the moment when Glovinski witnessed these stunning sights.

Canning the Sunset began during the pandemic. “There’s a great spot to watch sunsets over this farm field on the way to my studio,” Glovinski tells My Modern Met, “and it just became this ritual because we couldn’t do anything during the pandemic. So the sunset became an event to go to and a way to mark time.”

The sunset has a duality to it. On one hand, it’s a constant in our lives; the sun dips below the horizon every day, and often it goes unnoticed. But on the other hand, when it looks so bright and beautiful, the event feels very ephemeral—like it may never look that vibrant again. “The sunset marks the sky with color in a fleeting moment each day, slipping down behind the horizon like grains of sand through an hourglass,” Glovinski says. “To try and capture it, contain it, or possess it is a futile, and impossible gesture.”

The artist views the jars and their contents as symbols for larger patterns in human existence. “Thinking about souvenirs as objects that attempt to preserve a memory of place and time, this work begs reflection on time moving forward in perpetual motion, and our surrender to the perpetual cycle of day to night,” she explains. “Thinking about souvenirs as objects that attempt to preserve a memory of place and time, I am recreating images of the sunset out of colored sand. This act of ‘preserving’ them in recycled glass jars, also makes a connection to canning, and ‘putting up’ rations for times of scarcity.”

Artist Carly Glovinski encapsulates the fleeting beauty of the sunset by recreating it in jars with hand-colored sand.

Sand Art by Carly GlovinskiSand Art by Carly GlovinskiSand Art by Carly Glovinski

Each “canned sunset” is a sort of time capsule, preserving the memory of a beautiful sky.

Sand Art by Carly GlovinskiSand Art by Carly GlovinskiSand Art by Carly GlovinskiSand Art by Carly GlovinskiSand Art by Carly Glovinski

Carly Glovinski: Website | Instagram 

My Modern Met granted permission to feature photos by Carly Glovinski.

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Sara Barnes

Sara Barnes is a Staff Editor at My Modern Met, Manager of My Modern Met Store, and co-host of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. As an illustrator and writer living in Seattle, she chronicles illustration, embroidery, and beyond through her blog Brown Paper Bag and Instagram @brwnpaperbag. She wrote a book about embroidery artist Sarah K. Benning titled 'Embroidered Life' that was published by Chronicle Books in 2019. Sara is a graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art. She earned her BFA in Illustration in 2008 and MFA in Illustration Practice in 2013.
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