Some of you will be familiar with COLLECT, the Craft Council’s annual Contemporary Art and Craft fair. For those who aren’t, I would like to suggest that it is among the best in the world, certainly the best of its kind in Europe. We are delighted to be participating once again, as last year, in the digital version on Artsy.com.
For 2022, we have invited thirteen individual artists to participate, and two very exciting collaborative endeavours to take part, in COLLECT at London Glassblowing. Our participating artists always pull out the stops for this prestigious show and this year is no exception. The result is the most outstanding exhibition by the UK’s foremost makers.
For my own part I have had great fun experimenting with unfurling fronds and ferns, quite possibly inspired by our customer, David Attenborough’s latest programme – Green Planet. Another continuing source of inspiration is the magnificent Majorelle Garden in Marrakech.
London Glassblowing is turning into a family venture – and I am enormously proud of my daughter, Sophie Layton. Following her sell-out show of prints at Eames Fine Art, she is continuing to apply her knowledge of print technology to carefully designed glass vessel forms. She is reviving the use of enamels and decals (printed ceramic transfers) together with intricate masking and etching to achieve dynamic and painterly surface effects.
Tim Rawlinson, her husband, is one of the UK’s brightest young prospects whose stunning pieces sell almost the instant they are placed in our gallery. I recently watched him packing some nine or ten crates destined for a New York gallery, with chagrin, however I am glad to say that we do have a number of his exceptional pieces in this collection. Even better, they are expecting their first child around the time that COLLECT begins.
Long time exhibitor James Devereux, well known for his ‘hot-chipping’ technique, has embarked on a most exciting collaboration with a much-admired and sought after American artist, David Patchen. Patchen’s great talent for working with ‘murrine’, has made him a household name in the glass world, and the impressive pieces that they have made together can only enhance their burgeoning reputations.
For many years I have admired the skill, wit and social messages of David Reekie’s Cast Glass work. His daughter Morag Reekie has inherited his sense of humour as well as his concerns for the human condition. I am particularly fond of their satirical piece, ‘There is no Planet B’ whose stark message gets to the heart of the matter. In the Venus work, they point to the continuing vulnerability of women, questioning whether things have improved over time.
Colin Reid, a leading sculptor in glass is one of my oldest friends in the field. We are extremely lucky to show some of his work, because most of it goes abroad or into museum collections. His pieces are in huge demand in the USA and China so we feel very privileged to be showing these pieces.
We are also proud to be showing a simply gorgeous piece by Sabrina Cant. As with all the work in this collection her work is enormously labour-intensive and time consuming. I love the delicate striations of colour and veiling which are achieved through hours of preparing and assembling small components to be fusecast in her kiln, over many firings. Similarly, I take great delight in the emerging artist Sila Yucel, an assistant in our Cold Studio. The apparent simplicity in her delicately coloured cast blocks belies the complexity of the creative processes involved in their construction.
Three artists, whose work couldn’t be more different, although each works in a figurative manner, are Elliot Walker, Kate Pasvol and Katharine Coleman. Elliot, who had us on the edge of our seats through his participation in the Netflix programme, Blown Away II, worked in my Studio for seven years. Extraordinarily inventive, he is without doubt one of the world’s most talented glass artists and one to watch (and indeed collect!). Kate’s landscapes, created by layering glass with precious metal foils are stunningly beautiful and evocative. As one of the world’s leading glass engravers, Katharine Coleman’s, intricately engraved pieces are snapped up immediately. So difficult and time-consuming to achieve, these are truly masterful artworks.
Anthony Scala, has created new work to be launched at Collect at London Glassblowing. At the time of writing this blog, I haven’t seen them. But I can see from the images that they are knockout. Bruce Marks, Layne Rowe and Louis Thompson have all found their individual directions in glass while working at London Glassblowing. It seems to provide an environment in which artists can thrive and become masters of their chosen medium of expression. I am inordinately proud of them all.