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A Kind of Magic | 5 – 27 August

Choosing a title for a show is always tricky. Sometimes it can provide a theme to be explored or developed. Or else it might connect a series of related or unrelated ideas and objects, or it could even reveal clues about how the creative process has evolved, and been realised.

A Kind of Magic’ refers to the alchemical processes of glassmaking. Originally alchemy referred to the efforts to transmute base metal into gold or silver, but to my mind the processes of glassmaking are in themselves pure alchemy. Mixtures of basic, common materials are transformed by fire into a unique and versatile solid with exceptional physical properties, and above all marvellous optical qualities. Glass has now become the smart material of our time, the future, and is enabling all manner of new and far reaching technical advances and achievements in a variety of crucial fields.

Although often taken for granted, the transition of an idea into an object, which at its best can be something beautiful, is nothing less than miraculous. The very act of creation, of making, is alchemical; it is the record of an extraordinary transformative process.   

Peter Layton, Jazz Shibori, Freeblown glass, individually priced from £360

Peter Layton, Jazz Shibori, Freeblown glass, individually priced from £360

This exhibition includes a new collection of work called Jazz which is a riff on the magic of vibrant colour, form and rhythm, and revels in the improvisational, playful nature of its making. Experimenting with the notational elements of pattern, (in part inspired by African fabrics) imparts a joyful energy and, in this auspicious time of the Unesco International Year of Glass, lends a jubilant character to my new collections for this show.


I am also showing a number of sculptural pieces that are staging posts of my career in glass, which highlight my practice over time. A few years ago I was invited on a residency at the Tacoma Museum of Glass near Seattle, a veritable mecca of glass. Never too old to learn something new, I set about making a series of mountains which were blown into wet paper moulds to enhance their surface. 


Peter Layton, Tacoma Mountain, Freeblown glass, £8,200

Peter Layton, Tacoma Mountain, Freeblown glass, £8,200

We often include a collection of pieces from the past which have provided inspiration for my current work. Some of these were created during my development time and some are samples which I have kept for future reference. At 85 years of age, I can’t hang on to everything so we have decided to release some of these at reduced prices. We have called this collection Gems from the Archive.

Peter Layton, Gems from the Archive, individually priced

Peter Layton, Gems from the Archive, individually priced


A Kind of Magic is on display at our Bermondsey Street Gallery from 5 – 27 August and we would love to welcome you. We are also hosting two online events throughout the show; an online exhibition tour with Peter Layton on 11 August at 6.30pm and an online Q&A with Peter Layton on 18 August at 6.30pm. Please click the links to RSVP today! As always, please do not hesitate to contact the gallery via email at gallery@londonglassblowing.co.uk or call on 0207 403 2800 to speak to a member of our friendly team with any questions you may have. 


Article by Peter Layton

Article constructed by Isabel Gilchrist

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