Spring has eventually sprung and so has this season’s blog! Amidst the snow and the rain there has been more than an inkling of activity in the world of glass. The Just Glass exhibition at Orleans House finished with a flourish in January (& my sculpture ‘I♥You’ has a new home) and at the end of February CGS’s ‘Glorious Glass’ opened in Taunton Somerset. The first of a series of linked regional exhibitions in Great Britain, organised under the leadership of CGS by artists local to the venue, ‘Glorious Glass’ reached out to a new audience from its CICCIC performance arts venue in St Paul Street. 24 artists, including myself, at varying stages of their glass artist careers showed their work. I exhibited two stained glass panels of fish on a plate which proved popular. It never ceases to amaze me just how versatile a medium glass can be. Cut, pulled, blown, printed, layered, moulded, dropped, dripped, glued, balanced, lit, fused, polished, blasted, painted, leaded, immersed, etched and more… but above all loved. There was something for everyone and I particularly liked Fabrizia Bazzo’s work (left) and Rachel Woodman’s exquisite coloured nuggets like little amulets that could nestle in your hand.
Alongside the adventures of exhibiting there have been some wonderful glassy days this Spring. Mark Holford kindly followed up his offer to the Askett Glass Artists to show us his private glass collection and a group of us enjoyed his talk about his acquisitions and lunch after in the heart of SW1. Inspired I dug out my accumulated glass collection and decided that at very least my Anthony Stern goblet deserves to be properly displayed. Hot on the heels of the collector visit was, appropriately, a hot glass day at Messums. I’d never been to this eclectic Wiltshire Gallery before and it was a lot of fun. Lovely café, art exhibitions and a day of hot glass performances. I think the organisers wondered if they would still have a barn at the finish with all the flames and heat flying. It was an exciting day and what a joy to watch Cathryn Shilling work with James Devereux and Katherine Huskie, see Dante Marioni
at work with consummate professionalism and skill, and to be consumed by the excitement of Elliot Walker as he made an impossible vessel possible. The day had started more calmly with what is probably one of the most understated skills – the making of a stemmed glass. We are so used to using them we have no idea how difficult it is to get it just right. Watching Cathryn guide and intervene as James and Katherine made her work prompted debate among those watching – who is the artist? Is it the same if you design and make it yourself as when someone makes it for you or with you? Rachel Woodman, responding to the topic at the Glorious Glass seminar in Taunton explained she didn’t make her own work anymore but worked with others to do so; she said after college she had done her apprenticeship in Sweden and made stems for glasses for many months, repetitively, and nothing else. Her excellence as a maker now enables her to instruct others to make work to her design and exacting standards but with the technical dexterity she no-longer enjoys. This is not work in the school of Woodman, or indeed Shilling, but work made in partnership sharing tools and instructions – an orchestrated and choreographed work with an artist practitioner as the conductor.
The final glassy day was spent with Jacque Pavlosky and Marilia Carvalho fellow artists in the Askett Glass Studio group. We first visited and scrutinised the exquisitely painted windows, Sunrise and Sunset, made by Clayton and Bell for 2 Temple Place c1895, where there is also a more traditional leaded roof light shown in the header above. Our walk to Glaziers Hall took us along the Thames Embankment and past the new wonders of London’s architecture on Blackfriars, Southwark and London Bridges – notable for the extensive use of reflective glass. Our day was rounded off by Professor Sarah Brown’s lecture on the East Window of York Minster – better to read her new book than I try to convey it all here.
As Summer comes there are more exhibitions, a residency and plans for the Winter to prepare for. I’ll have some work at Bucks Art Weeks as part of a large group show in Askett – you can check out the information on the Bucksartweeks.org.uk web site – 9 -24 June. Linked with the art weeks shows I’ll be running a workshop on the 24 June at WycombeMuseum.org.uk and later in the Autumn giving a couple of evening talks. You can find out about current activities via my Facebook.com page janevincentglass.
Article and images by Jane Vincent ©Jane Vincent except as noted