Glaziers Art Fair 2016
An opportunity to visit the Worshipful Company of Glaziers and Painters of Glass venue in Southwark to see a multitude of glass makers and artists showing their work was too good an opportunity to miss and it did not disappoint. Perhaps the only frustration was for the exhibitors as so few tickets had sold – perhaps £10 admission, no advance catalogue or online catalogue was a deterrent for many. However, the lack of visitors turned the event into a kind of symposium as artists found they had time to explore each other’s work, chat and reflect on their own work and talk about what else they do.
Handed a catalogue on arrival I discovered there were around 60 exhibitors in 4 areas of the building organised in no particular order and this blog follows my random wanderings and chats.
Lynnette Wrigley, whose stained glass sourcebook has been used by many of us showed a variety of fused work.Based in Hammersmith, her quill feathers and delicate frit work painting of a blue tit were her standout pieces. We had an interesting chat about the perils of publishing and surviving as women glassmakers in the 70’s and 80’s – food for thought.
The Lemons’ geometric colourful woodcut prints and glossy blue glazed ceramics were refreshing. Father and daughter Thomas and Rachel from Rainham and Brighton were lovely to chat with – colours, glazes and West Ham – you never know where a conversation may take you.
Rachel Elliott’s stand was covered with her water jet cut animals and delicate jewellery made with spectrum glass printed with animals and motifs. Based in Glasgow she has a great variety of work and courses on screen printing on glass – just what I’m looking for!
Moving on past the photographer, the seamstress and some more glass I reach ‘This is Alice’ – a small exhibition of conceptual pieces, different body parts squeezed inside the base of bottles – fingers, ear, lips. Wistful and sad rather than celebratory Alice Wheatley’s work leaves many unanswered questions and opened the door into the inner artist. Sandwiched between the glass practitioner makers’ stands on either side it was difficult to take in. Reflections of entrapment continued upstairs with a wonderful display of needlework and needlepoint made by prison inmates trained by Fine Cell Work, the quality and intensity of the work was incredible.
After these challenges of conceptual and therapeutic work I moved back into familiar territory and had a chat with Sarah Brown. She has a refreshing and different approach to glass with her architectural and illustrative work showing people in everyday life. Her glass sketches of Borough Market were very effective and we shared thoughts about being inspired by Japan. Her study trip to that country recorded in images is bound in a lovely book.
Japanese artist Nobuyasu Yoshida‘s work was also different – cast pate de verre the pieces stretched dripped glass between two sides of the small work, as well as producing vessels with a felt like appearance that were smooth to touch. The Naked Craft Project stood out from the traditional and challenged boundaries – I really liked it.
The familiar work of Siddy Langley displayed by the window outclassed its neighbours and looked wonderful with many colourful and large pieces. I caught up with Siddy’s news, skylights are being installed in her gallery in Devon, more progress but always being delayed by the fun that can be had in the glass blowing studio. After that it was back to exploring new unknown (to me) artists. Carolyn Barlow told me she was writing a poem about her response to one piece of work which was unexpected – her work had a depth that drew you in but she seemed to move onto the next before it was completely finished so it was a bit breathless and rustic. Nathalie Hildegarde Liege who is based in the West Midlands had some lovely representations of vegetables in stained glass, and Brett Manley had some dishes with 400 year old prints of the River Thames – showing Glaziers Hall.
Conversation with Jonathan Spiller about making a career in stained glass later in life, the huge number of women compared to men who have taken it up, and Chagall was enjoyable. Jonathan is also an IT person and has produced some wonderful digital art work which is abstracted into bold stained glass that should be produced on a grand scale in church size buildings – it is not surprising that he was Highly Commended in the Steven’s Prize for his Titanic Window design. Derek Hunt, who I remember from the BSMGP 30cm2 show in which I also exhibited, has a large portfolio of work – I talked to him about technology for replaying memories in windows and my mobile phone stained glass panel. Maybe memorial windows could be more interactive? I’m not sure he was sold on the idea. Derek is based not far from Leicester where I’d been at University so we compared notes. Stopping to purchase Jonathan Cooke’s little ‘how to’ book on stained glass painting and to learn that he supplied Walpole stain I moved on to take a second look at Jamal Rafay’s striking painted work. The compelling eyes of the pre-Raphaelite style figures in his work draw you to look closer, he also has some humour in his little characters. Finally, also showing was a section of the amazing stained glass windows ‘Roots of Knowledge’ made by Holdman Studios and the University of Utah, a testament to the enthusiasm and dedication of Tom Holdman and the university community it was incredibly detailed and very impressive.
Here are some links (cut and paste into your browser):
Adam Aaronson in Surrey www.adamaaronson.com
Siddy Langley in Devon www.siddy.com
Jamal Rafay in Oldbury Birmingham www.stainedglassic.com
Derek Hunt in Leicestshire www.derek-hunt.com
Lynette Wrigley in North London www.lynettewrigley.com
Nathalie Hildegarde Liege in Shrewsbury www.couleurlive.com
Jonathan Cooke in West Yorks www.jonathancookeglasspainter.com
Illustration and Glass
Sarah Brown in Gloucs area www.s.brown.co.uk
Printing on glass
Rachel Elliott in Glasgow www.rachel-elliott.com
Holdman Studios www.holdmanstudios.com and see also: https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2016/oct/26/gigantic-stained-glass-window-roots-history-knowledge-tom-holdman?CMP=share_btn_fb
Fine Cell Work – www.finecellwork.co.uk
Jonathan Spiller https://making.glass
Brett Manley www.brettmanley.co.uk
Carolyn Barlow www.carolynbarlow.com
Nobuyasu Yoshida Naked Craft Project http://glassand.web.fc2.com
FYI Print your own book e.g. Blurb.co.uk