Bird-Jones & Heald

Chris Bird-Jones has been collaborating with Karen Heald, a visual artist and researcher working with film, installation and performance, since 2005. Collectively they are known as Bird-Jones and Heald, and are based in Wales.

Their collaborative process is conceptually driven through research, often in response to specific sites, culminating in a diverse and vital practice.



Embryonic embodies creativity and harnessed energy. When closely examined every individual egg has an inherent character, a story to tell.

The development of the glass form, as a receiver for the moving image, evolved in direct response to a joint selection of a fragment of Heald’s film Frozen Seas. Several glass samples were produced and experimented with collaboratively in the studio. The kiln formed wall- mounted piece resulted from this joint physical exploration.

Embryonic (2006) is in the permanent collection of Museo Municipal de Arte Contemporáneo en Vidrio de Alcorcón-MAVA, Madrid, Spain.


As part of the International Festival of Glass (2006), Bird Jones and Heald collaborated with glass blower Simon Eccles, in response to the site of The Red House Glass Cone. Built at the end of the 18th Century, the Cone enclosed a furnace around which men made glass for 140 years until 1936. Reaching 100 feet into the sky it is now one of only four cones left in the United Kingdom.

When the site was operational, raw materials for making glass were transported by barges on the canal. Water has always been an essential part of glass making. In response to the space

Bird-Jones and Heald created Breath, an abstract film, looped, with edited sound, of the process and environment of glass blowing. The series of moving images were projected onto a wheelbarrow, one of the ‘found’ exhibits in the site, within which 

Bird-Jones and Heald placed some of the last glass shards produced by Stuart Crystal in Stourbridge.

The Pillow Series

The Pillow Series explores dreams, the unconscious and the invisibility of time (physical, spiritual and imaginary) from a feminist art perspective; incorporating contemporary technologies and scientific dialogues. Researching how to make the invisibility of time visible, combining glass, film and sound it questions what sleep and the body means cross culturally and in different spaces. The textural glass casing houses the moving image further separating the dreamer from the viewer.

The Box

The Box was an immediate response to Embryonic. Heald shot an experimental film, which documented the performance of Bird-Jones’ journey through Madrid with a wooden crate. The protective crate, constructed by both artists, contained the Embryonic glass receiver during its journey from the UK to Spain, and from the hotel to MAVA gallery.

The film was then mutually developed and presented encased within a duplicate crate. The Box was first exhibited at the GIG gallery in Sydney, Australia (2006).

In the Round

In the Round is a series of pieces created in response to the performance with Sigridur Asgeirsdottir, Hannah Atkins and Aydee Latty, in the Round Room, Swansea (2009).

Fragmentary Chronicles

The Hook

Trywydd . Voyage

Bird-Jones & Heald would like to invite you to the film screening of  Trywydd . Voyage

Date: 10 February 2016 – 1.30pm

Venue: Oriel Sycharth Gallery, Glyndwr University, Wrexham

Join us in the Oriel Sycharth Gallery for a special screening of Trywydd . Voyage. The event will be introduced by Dr Susan Liggett, Head of Media Arts and Design Research Centre at Glyndwr University. Bird-Jones & Heald will talk about their project after the screening.

Bird-Jones & Heald filmed material inspired by collectively viewing significant architectural glass sites, artists’ studios and museums throughout France during the 2014 Women’s International Stained Glass Workshop. The film captured visual details, including figures silhouetted against illuminated backdrops, hand gestures, composite interiors, changing landscapes and emerging patterns.

Part of this body of research focused on the Welsh artists taking part: Amber Hiscott, Catrin Jones, Chris Bird-Jones and Karen Heald.   “Trywydd . Voyage” explores the intimacy, quality, nuances, details, sensitivity and beauty of the Welsh centric aspect of this journey.’

Supported by Arts Council Wales and Wales Arts International.

Bird-Jones and Heald are excited to announced that Mission Gallery, Swansea will premiere Voyage, an art film created as part of the the Arts Council of Wales supported Welsh Women project in the […] space (13th October – 15th November 2015).

the […] space focuses on presenting artists film or moving image and offers a fantastic opportunity to showcase new work in collaboration with the National Waterfront Museum in Swansea, where the gallery will be located for the duration of the offsite development.

This unique film is a Welsh centric artwork generated by original research from a ‘never before’ documented Women’s International Stained Glass Workshop (WISGW) in France, 2014. The film is an art piece, not a ‘fly on the wall’ account, following the Welsh artists involvement in the workshop. The art film enables awareness of the experience by bringing it into the public domain.

Be our guest

June 29th – Sep 4th 2013 — Oriel Davies Gallery, Newtown

Detail: Film still image from pillow series 4 commissioned for “Be our guest” exhibition
Be our guest invite