My annual August show provided a golden opportunity to explore a theme. In 2023 the theme was 'Making Waves', initially so that I could revisit my Wave sculptures made with the aid of Elliot Walker of Blown Away fame. Originally inspired by Hokusai’s magnificent Great Wave and aiming to capture in glass, the drama of a wave on the point of breaking. A frozen moment in time.
I wanted to create a new version of my wave whose development would form a display that told the story of its evolution… my attempt to illustrate an evolving creative journey in technique, form and colour.
Peter Layton, New Wave, Hotsculpted glass, H18.5 x W23.5 x D16cm, £2,700
Other kinds of waves began to come into play - light waves, sound waves, the interweaving of undulating patterns and meandrine rhythms inspired by brain corals and sliced agates. Waves as symbols of both continuity and change, a mirror for life in so far as they are temporary and ephemeral and, as with glass, a metaphor for the fragility of life.
Pattern and mark-making are ancient activities that express and record human life.
For glassmakers materiality, or perhaps more clearly, a consuming love of the extraordinary medium with which we work, lies at the core of our practice. Its physical, visual and symbolic qualities lend quite magical dimensions to the expression of concepts, memories and influences as we test its aesthetic parameters.
Peter Layton, Eddies Blue, Freeblown glass, Individually priced from £300
We are living through a period of extraordinary and rapid social, technical, environmental and economic upheaval which presents us with an ever expanding set of challenges. Among the questions posed is - what do we hold on to in these circumstances? What values are worth preserving to steer a positive course through the current murky and threatening waters? Traditional craft values may point the direction. Working with one's hands, making the head, heart, hands connection, seeking the practical and aesthetic expression of an idea, striving to achieve a successful outcome by exploring the potential of our chosen medium, in the hope of enriching the lives of others.
Peter Layton, Meander Black & White with Murrine, Freeblown glass, Individually priced from £300
At best the making process is in itself an adventure, with myriad challenges to overcome. Time is another factor - the way it is contained within each piece, encapsulating the thoughts and memories which go into its creation. I thoroughly enjoy the sense of community and collaboration that glassmaking demands and I value the support of my wonderful team. Their skills, talents and generous input are evident in all aspects of my work.
Jane Reeves, Making Waves Collection, Fused glass panel with enamel, £550 each
I was most grateful that Jane Reeves, glass painter extraordinaire, created a number of small versions of her glass paintings of breaking waves, specially for this show. Her work displays consummate skill in the use of glass enamels. You can view her collection of work here.
Written by Peter Layton