Welcome to the Winter 2018 issue of Glass  – Wonder

WHAT does wonder mean to you? It is a curious word, one that can be used as a verb or a noun, and has multiple connotations. In its modern form, it means “to ponder or consider” or “to marvel”. The word itself has a fascinating history deriving from the Middle English, “wunder”, also from the Old English “wundor” (meaning of wonder, miracle, marvel, portent, horror; a wondrous thing or even monster), and even deeper – in a more ancient tongue, what is known as Proto-Germanic – “wundrą (“miracle, wonder”).

So it seems to me that there is a clear ancient need, or impulse, to wonder. Indeed, it was in antiquity that lists of the world’s wonders were drawn up by Herodotus (484 – 425 BC approximately) and the Callimachus of Cyrene (ca. 305–240 BC) at the Museum of Alexandria. The seven wonders were then itemised as the Colossus of Rhodes, the Great Pyramid of Giza, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, the Lighthouse of Alexandria, the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, the Statue of Zeus at Olympia and the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus.

Tasha Tilberg – cover star of the Winter issue of Glass. Photograph: Damien Krisl

This list is fluid and up for argument however, changing as it does over time. Medieval culture had a different inventory. So what of our modern times? What makes us wonder? What are our contemporary wonders? Are they objects – huge impressive structures – or concepts more mutable and intangible? For me, the internet is the wonder of the modern world. However, world wonders have traditionally been for the good. Whereas the internet, despite its power to connect people and transmit and store knowledge, has a very dark side too.

Jhene Aiko  – cover star of the Winter issue of Glass. Photograph: Ssam Kim

Putting the question of modern wonders to the Glass team elicited the following: intersectional equality movements; social media which confirms Andy Warhol’s prediction that “In the future, everyone will be famous for 15 minutes”; mental health awareness; advances in healthcare; the large hadron collider at CERN; even the courageous Chelsea Manning, whose first press conference in London I was lucky enough to attend.

Raheem Sterling – cover star of the Winter issue of Glass Men. Photograph: Adam Slama

One thing I have always found wondrous is talent and the drive to persevere in challenging circumstances. And in this wonder-themed issue of Glass we interview Raheem Sterling, the hugely talented Manchester City and England footballer, who has overcome many significant challenges to become one of the greatest players of our time. His positive attitude is contagious and has, as our writer says, “recently played its part in the most successful England World Cup performance since 1990”. As he modestly puts it, “It just shows that anything can pay off when you put your mind to it”.

Our interview is also setting the news agenda as its publication coincided with Sterling receiving some shocking, allegedly racist, abuse from a spectator at the Manchester City away game at Chelsea on December 8. Sterling’s dignified and mature response a stark contrast. Our interview was quoted and referenced widely across the international media.


– cover star of the Winter issue of Glass

Daisuke  Ueda – cover star of the Winter issue of Glass. Photograph: Ben Lamberty

We also interview Jhene Aiko, the American R&B singer, who has overcome major mental, physical and emotional obstacles to become the influential, authentic and heartfelt singer she is today.

Noah Mills   – one of the cover stars of the Winter issue of Glass. Photograph: Ssam Kim

The subject of our humanitarian article is Ty Cobb, the Director of Human Rights Campaign Global, the largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) civil rights organisation in the United States. A movement which has more than three million members and supporters worldwide and a network that reaches out to people in over 70 countries and connects them both to HRC and to each other. This, to me, is a modern-day wonder.

Ton Heukels – one of the cover stars of the Winter issue of Glass. Photograph: Dean Isidro

I also find wonder in the simply breath-taking objects, from the diamonds to the interior design, that we feature in the current issue, and in every issue of Glass, as well as the many artists, designers, writers and the wonderfully talented contributors and colleagues whose creativity we celebrate in these pages.

I hope this issue gives you pause to wonder.

by Caroline Simpson


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