The Mystery of Glitter

“I used to ask people ‘Where’s the local glitter factory?’ and no one could ever tell me because, in
fact, very few people knew where glitter comes from. Subsequently I found out it was invented on
a cattle farm in New Jersey in 1934 where you can still buy it today. At one point I found out that
glitter, kilo for kilo, is a drug-like commodity. You can go to Vienna, buy two kilos of glitter for the
same price as a tiny vial in Stockholm. It has a very under-exploited commodity status. Part of
this is to do with the fact that very few people could ever tell me if glitter was made by Chinese
children or was a by-product of the arms trade. Maybe it was an innocent material made by well-
paid artisans. To this day, I’ve still never been to a glitter factory. I can’t tell you if people are
happy in glitter factories, whether glitter factories are organised collectively or a “Glitter Board”
regulates them.”

Artist Liam Gillick on one of his favorite materials


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