SWELL is a technical term for a type of wind wave, which is a long length surface wave that travels long distances across a body of water like the ocean. It is a stable, clean wave free of chop and doesn’t break. The long gentle curves of the stainless steel and glass sculpture reflect this type of wave.

Stainless steel provides the wave structure, and glass is used to capture the ephemeral qualities of translucence, colour, and the movement of light and wind through the water.

This work has been constructed as one convex and one concave continuous curve sitting on its edge. Hand cut and faceted glass blocks have been inserted in a channel along the top edge of the bead blasted stainless steel frame.

The title of the work also provides a light-hearted sense of fun. The word ‘SWELL” can be used as a colloquialism to denote; first rate, distinction, stylish (as any self respecting sculpture should be). So this sculpture can be enjoyed as different things to different people, despite the artist’s environmental intent.

Glass/stainless steel/5000 x 1200 x 150mm

Commissioned in 2011 by the Taupo Sculpture Trust and the Taupo District Council, with funding from the Taupo District Council.



Colleen Ryan-Priest is a Hamilton based artist who for the past 10 years has been working with glass.

She is an artist and landscape architect who has been involved with sculpture, land art installations and the design and planning of urban and wilderness environments for 25 years.