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elliot walker

"defying convention & twisting perception..."

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 meet elliot walker Image

meet elliot walker

Elliot is one of a handful of glassblowers in the world who focus solely on figurative sculpture. Sculpting in molten glass is known as the Messello technique, and working this way requires extreme dexterity, speed and precise temperature control.

He chooses to sculpt in glass mainly for the material’s immediacy and transparency and for the intensity of the sculpting experience.

“The process itself is very physically and mentally challenging. Once you begin a piece you have to see it through to the end in one session. You are exposed to temperatures of over 1000 degrees and the process of coaxing a complex form out of the liquid glass is unlike working with any other material. The pieces are not cast, carved or ground into shape, but modelled from a cooling liquid so that until the very last second the sculpture is a moving living entity, frozen in time as the glass sets.”

biography

Highly talented glassmaker Elliot Walker has been working with glass for over five years and recently graduated from a Masters degree in Applied Arts from Wolverhampton University.

He has been awarded the Frederic Stuart memorial fund by the Worshipful Company of Glass Sellers and his work is represented in the Broadfield House Museum collection.

He has exhibited widely throughout the UK and is also a member of a glassblowing demonstration/performance team, called The Bandits of Glass, who regularly perform at events around the country.

the video

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the interview

As a psychology graduate, perhaps only Elliot himself can answer the question as to why he took a hammer to a collection of sculptures before putting them on display.

While this is very much a simplification of the technique, it must take huge amounts of belief to trust that perfection often lies in imperfection – taking something blunt and unwieldy to a beatific embodiment of the human form.

But it is this reaction which has won Elliot many admirers; defying convention by purposefully looking to twist perception.

“Unlike many artists, I do not strive for perfection,” says the Midlander. “In fact, I get quite a kick from creating something and then, in many respects, breaking it – seeing how the piece changes when you disrupt what you are expecting to see.

“I want to see the marks of sculpting. I don’t want something to be perfect and for there to be no visible signs of the process. It’s the process, the effort and the artistry that needs to be seen.”

His works in that series feel beautifully connected to the Venus de Milo by showing beauty in a completely different light.

While not every collection is disrupted in quite the same way, the theme of disfigurement looms large in Elliot’s works.

“My next series is going to be a bit more abstract and is based on prehistoric sculptures because I love the way the figures are so ridiculously exaggerated,” he points out.

A quick look through the history books throws up all manner of significant artistic discoveries through the ages which Elliot will reference, each piece steering away from defined features and plumping for bold and rudimentary caricature instead.

So is Elliot’s current career as far away from his psychology degree as you could get?

He laughs.

“I found psychology fascinating but I have always done something art-related alongside my studies whether it was at school or at university,” Elliot explains, recalling his time spent making stained glass windows.

“I did evening courses, courses during the summer holidays and so I suppose going into art full time was a natural progression even though it’s pretty difficult career-wise. A lot of people doing art courses will never carry it on but it’s important that people my age are doing this. Glass has something of an image problem and I have never met a young collector but anyone who knows anything about glass will know it’s the rock and roll of the art world, especially in the United States.”

Taking that mantle literally, Elliot is part of a team of Midlands-based glassblowers called ‘The Bandits of Glass’ who perform fun and informative demonstrations all over the UK.

Receiving rave reviews wherever they appear, it’s a phenomenal way to reach a completely new audience.

Elliot adds: “Thanks largely to people like Peter Layton we’re seeing a real renaissance in glasswork in the UK and while I can’t even think about doing the same sort of thing at his age I would definitely love to have a place like London Glassblowing with a team of talented people around.”

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