The Glass Hub goes to Messums

Messums is a spectacular new fine art gallery in Tisbury, Wiltshire, showcasing fine art, and more recently, crafts. On 28th Jan 2018, The Glass Hub packed up their mobile studio to take part in the event “Glass Festival: Alchemy in Art”.  This was a unique opportunity to showcase not only beautiful glass artworks and fine craftsmanship, but also the physical process …live in the gallery!

The concept of the day, evolved from simple participatory glass bauble blowing into a unique display of live master glassblowing demonstrations for the public to watch. The talented line-up consisted of: Dave Barry, James Devereux (featuring Cathryn Shilling), Katie Huskie, Elliot Walker and then a surprise guest from overseas – Dante Marioni.

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A Glass Spectacular at Messums Wiltshire

We were approached by Messums Wiltshire in November 2017, to take part in their “Glass Festival: Alchemy in Art” due to take place on 28th Jan 2018. The plan was to take our mobile Minimelt glassblowing studio to the event for demonstrations. Messums is a spectacular new fine art gallery in Tisbury, Wiltshire, showcasing fine art, and more recently, crafts. Glass ‘art’ has generally been segregated from the fine art world, and so this was a unique opportunity to showcase not only beautiful glass artworks and fine craftsmanship, but also the physical process …live in the gallery!

The concept of the day, evolved from simple participatory glass bauble blowing into a unique display of live master glassblowing demonstrations for the public to watch. Previous events at Messums have included operas …so why not?  Within twelve hours we had confirmed a schedule of great glassblowers and things were in full swing. The talented line-up consisted of: Dave Barry, James Devereux (featuring Cathryn Shilling), Katie Huskie, Elliot Walker and then a surprise guest from overseas – Dante Marioni.

Transporting the Glassblowing Studio

Loading the van

It’s extraordinary how much “stuff” one needs to create a glassblowing studio at an event like this. Thankfully we’ve held many hot glass demonstrations out in the field including festivals as diverse as Glastonbury and The international Festival of Glass together with performances in cathedrals and workshops all around the country. While a full class was running at The Glass Hub, we packed up the Minimelt Mobile Glassblowing studio, including four mobile kilns. After a very steady forty minute drive we arrived at Messums beautiful tithe barn to set up the studio on a specially prepared stage of shiny new steel.

Glass Festival: Alchemy in Art – Sunday 28th January

We fired up at 7am, on the 28th. Kiln 1 was on and heating up Cathryn Shilling’s fused tile (at a scarily rapid rate) and the MiniMelt furnace turned to full blast, preparing the glass for the first demonstration…

Demo 1.  David Barry assisted by Bliss Hill

With only a small amount of time to practice, check layout and set the stage, David Barry and Bliss Hill were the first demonstrators. They performed a beautifully perfected piece of choreography, as they moved together and connected with molten glass, to create a fine piece of English handblown stemware. Both work for the local company Bristol Blue, the fluidity of production glassblowing shining through. Dave then went on to create some sculptures. He crafted a stunning dagger with clear glass that had its handle dipped in the rib mould and twisted on the marver. The blade was then dropped on hot, cut with shears and perfectly stretched to a point.

 

Demo 2. James Devereux, featuring Cathryn Shilling, assisted by Katie Huskie

The kiln temperature was up, and a sigh of relief as the 6mm tile that we previously added and heated up rapidly was still in one piece. Cathryn Shilling took to the mic’ while Katie and James prepared the tile ready to roll. Cathryn talked us through the history and process of the “roll-up” whilst the young master James Devereux, (himself a local Wiltshire lad) was glassblowing on the stage, assisted by the talented Katie Huskie. Cathryn and Devereux-Huskie performed their well-rehearsed technique, creating a blown vessel from a flat sheet of fused glass. As expected, they dealt smoothly with the new situation, location and audience as if they blew glass there every day. We feel so honoured to work just down the road from these guys Devereux and Huskie, and are privileged to have them demonstrate for us at The Glass Hub on many occasions.

 

Glass: Craft or Fine Art? Debate

After a lunch break we all took our seats in the barn again for a discussion about glass – “Craft or Fine Art?”. A panel consisting of Cathryn Shilling, Emma Woffenden, James Devereux and Dante Marioni responded to a range of questions on glass in relation to the craft/art debate. For me, just the fact that we as makers and designers were there talking about it in a fine art gallery is progress.

Demo 3. Katie Huskie

1.30pm and Katie Huskie was up next. Katie was assisted by James Devereux, together they performed a wonderful display of team, gathering and bit work as Emma Baker and Dave Barry were pulled in to assist. Katie blew up a coloured cylinder and added strands of hot glass by trailing and tweezing them into shape. There was a solid and retro quality to Katie Huskie’s piece that we loved, it captured light beautifully and was awesome to watch …but no time to linger, It’s time to get the next show on the road!

 

Demo 4. Elliot Walker

Elliot Walker is no stranger to the limelight of performance and doesn’t like to stick to any kind of rehearsal or script, but loves to go with the flow. His aim was to make a “bird inside an egg” which was in fact, a solid bird, sitting in a nest, encased inside a clear blown egg. Like a magician, he talks with perfect ease to the rapidly increasing audience. His few years of working as “The Bandits of Glass” lending confidence and a natural agility. This ambitious piece of work was executed brilliantly and finally flew to rest in the lehr with no time to spare! His work is incredible.

 

Demo 5. Dante Marioni

And so the moment arrived and the audience extended all around the centre stage now. With about two minutes to go, I looked into the kiln to check on a pre-fired reticello cup that Dante had given me to heat up earlier. Phew! It hadn’t smashed into pieces and Dante Marioni was ready for the off.  American born glass artist Dante Marioni has achieved international acclaim for his work. Having trained with such masters as Lino Tagliapietra, Benjamin Moore, and Richard Marquis, he is best known for his venetian style colourful free-blown vessels. I’m not sure that he was fully aware of the limitations of the mobile glassblowing set-up in the barn that day, but he seemed to be confident that he could go further than just a Reticello vessel, and would make one of his ‘Acorns’.

The crowd hushed, and a serene silence filled the building. Dante admitted that he was more comfortable with American noise, music and stadium sound rather than this tranquil silence, but being truly British, we politely continued our stillness, in awe, watching a master of this calibre. He picked up the preformed Reticello cup, sealing it into a perfect object in itself, then gathered over and produced the most incredible piece of glass. Assisted expertly by James Devereux, he managed to deal with any equipment limitations to effortlessly create the most stunning Reticello Acorn.

 

Finale

A massive sigh of relief was released from the silent crowd as the final piece was tapped off into gloves and popped into the last space of the top loader kiln. We had five incredible pieces in. Not one had smashed on the floor; the equipment had lasted, but more than that, we had demonstrated to the audience at Messums that day the extraordinary skills and the beauty of glassmaking in action!

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Andrea Spencer Masterclass – Where Lampworking met Fusing.

Andrea Spencer Masterclass 19th – 20th October

Andrea Spencer is fast becoming one of the UK’s leading women glass artists. Her work is simply exquisite, and with a spirited and investigational teaching style, Andrea joined us to teach an explorative Masterclass for students eager to merge the techniques of lampworking with fusing. Her class was instantly booked, with a waiting list to boot.

Andrea has extensive experience in glass, working with a myriad of processes and techniques. After graduating from Edinburgh with a BA in Architectural glass, one can still see echoes of this background in the way she displays and frames her work. Her glass is inspired by natural forms and can be both incredibly delicate and capable of filling spaces with site-specific installations. Her work embodies both the experience of natural forms and personal narrative. Among many other things, she has been an artist-in-residence at North Lands Creative Glass (Scotland) and a visiting artist at Penland School of Crafts (USA) and Pilchuck Glass School (USA).  Andrea Spencer’s work is held in significant public and private collections and has been exhibited in galleries in the UK, USA and China. Notably, her work has been exhibited in three British Glass Biennale exhibitions (2008, 2010, 2012). Andreas public art commissions can also be seen in several healthcare buildings throughout Northern Ireland.

On Day one, Andrea’s students arrived: Some with a background in fusing who wanting to use lampworking to extend their manipulation of glass, and some with a lampworking background, wanting to extend skills with the kiln process. This experimental class fired up imaginations alongside the torches – fuelled by Andrea’s tremendous energy and enthusiasm. Running the torches hotter than is normal for standard torch work, the excess air and gas, soon turned everyone’s glass molten, and they were dropping, twisting and pulling multiple small objects that would later be placed onto a sheet of bullseye to create a composite work. Following a few demos, everyone was set to work on their individual components.

This was no bead class but one where students were encouraged to heat and drop, squash, sculpt, twist and squish the coloured rods to create small pieces which were then placed directly onto the kiln shelf ready for assembling later on. This somewhat unconventional way of working was refreshing, the items being small enough to sit together on the shelf, and all ready to use that same afternoon. For the impatient, this was a genius moment of discovery. Soon the batch of small objects were assembled onto sheets of bullseye glass. Some sat flat on the sheet as they had fallen hot onto the kiln shelf, so didn’t roll around, glue was used for the bits that did move. In this way students built up their composite works and the kiln was set for the first day’s firing.

Over the two days, Andrea would give a series of demos, and students would then interpret what they had learned into their own work. Andrea demonstrated skill in manipulating sheet glass pieces – bringing them together and sculpting them into a beautiful leaf and a delicate wishbone in an ivory colour. This was a unique way of working and a contemporary approach to an ancient technique. Students were so inspired by the making process they forged ahead, making multiple small objects right until the end of the second day. They left with, not only a large bag, full of components to fuse at home, but a great sack of knowledge and freedom.

Thank you Andrea!

Click the image below to view photos on Flickr
Andrea Spencer Masterclass

There will be another class with Andrea in the Autumn, 2018. please contact us if you are interested.

Scott Benefield Masterclass at the Hub

Scott Benefield and Andrea Spencer arrived from Belfast on a Sunday night and were whisked through the high hedges and darkness to Stowford farm where they would spend the next week teaching at The Glass Hub.

Day 1.
The following morning Scott introduced our group of six keen students to the types of glass cane they were going to be pulling over the week. The first day – simple “veiled” cane. Colours were chosen, cut and heated up in the top loaders, ready to be picked up. The ladders were laid out, doors closed for draughts and Scott demonstrated a few hot and perfect pulls. Then it was our students’ turn. The speed, accuracy and single-handed style of Scott is both unique and authentically a Murano style. This was certainly challenging for the group, but the day ended with bundles of coloured canes ready for day two.

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New Opportunity at The Glass Hub!

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We are currently looking to recruit an intern that can train with us for up to ten months. This is a great opportunity for somebody looking to gain experience in glassmaking and glass education, alongside developing their own work in a well-equipped glass studio.

The Glass School Internship is an educational work placement opportunity. The successful applicant will experience a variety of roles that will include ‘glass technician’ and ‘glass teaching assistant’. They will be trained in the proper operation and maintenance of glassmaking equipment as well as undertake real-world experience in the operation of a busy glass school. The applicant will be given ample studio time to practice and develop their own work. They will also have health and safety training and the opportunity to attend specialist glassmaking courses for personal creative development throughout their internship.

This internship may be suited to students who have completed their undergraduate study in glass (BA) and are looking to gain professional studio experience and develop their own work.

Read more…

Image above courtesy of Lucien West.

The Glass Hub Internship

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Vacancy Title:  Glass School Intern

Description:

The Glass School Internship is an educational work placement opportunity suitable for individuals looking to gain experience in glassmaking and glass education, alongside developing their own work in a well-equipped glass studio.
The successful applicant will experience a variety of roles that will include ‘glass technician’ and ‘glass teaching assistant’. They will be trained in the proper operation and maintenance of glassmaking equipment as well as undertake real-world experience in the operation of a busy glass school.

The applicant will be given studio time to practice and develop their own work (negotiable depending on hours in training). They will also have health and safety training and the opportunity to attend specialist glassmaking courses for personal creative development throughout their internship.

As part of their training, interns can expect to handle many day-to-day responsibilities such as equipment maintenance and cleaning. They will be dealing with the general public and are therefore expected to be enthusiastic about engaging with people.

Applicants should have a strong work ethic and are expected to be self-motivated both on and off the clock. Interns are encouraged to participate in classes either as teachers, teaching assistants or students depending on their interests and abilities.

This internship may be suited to students who have completed their undergraduate study in glass (BA) and are looking to gain professional studio experience while developing their own work.

 

Location:

The Glass Hub
Stowford Manor Farm, Wingfield, Wilshire BA14 9LH
Website: www.theglasshub.co.uk
Email: info@theglasshub.co.uk

Duration of Internship: 10 months from September 2016 – July 2017

Hours: Hours will vary week to week but interns could work up to a maximum of 30 hours in a week when we are running 5-day schools, and some weekends (especially weekends when courses are running) alongside their personal studio time. The number of hours will vary according to age and experience.

Remuneration:

Interns will receive £200 per calendar month, plus use of the glass studio and studio equipment for personal use (negotiable studio hours).

Accommodation:

Accommodation is not included; however assistance in finding suitable accommodation will be given if required.

Requirements:

  • Glassmaking experience or a qualification in glassmaking (or related craft/Art) discipline.
  • No formal qualifications are required but an interest in learning new skills and a passion for glass essential
  • Fluent English speaking
  • Be able to lift up to 25kg
  • A full driving license and own car is essential as the school is in a rural location.

Applicants should:

  • Be able to work in both a hot glass and kiln room environment
  • Be reliable and punctual
  • Be able to work as part of a team
  • Have a positive attitude and strong work ethic
  • Enjoy working with their hands
  • Take instruction well
  • Have good communication skills
  • Be able to work in a public facing environment

Future Prospects:

  • Potential for further employment as glass technician/tutor for the right candidate
  • Exit interview and feedback from the employer to build on apprentice’s CV

 

How to Apply:

Applications by email.

Please send your CV, Artist Statement and up to 8 images of your work by email to Kim Wood info@theglasshub.co.uk You will receive a confirmation of your application or a request for further details within 72 hours.

Closing Date for Applications: June 30th 2016 for interviews in mid-July. More information and enquiries by email info@theglasshub.co.uk

Download PDF

Image above courtesy of Lucien West.

Seize the Opportunity! …IFG Masterclass with Neil Wilkin

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Neil Wilkin and James Devereux: The Sum of all These Parts
at The International Festival of Glass
Mon 25 – Thu 28 May 2015

A rare opportunity to work with Neil Wilkin, a leading figure in the British Studio Glass movement on a special 4-day masterclass at the International Festival of Glass. Neil’s level of skill, knowledge and experience in hot glass is second to none and he will be working alongside the very talented and experienced James Devereux as gaffer and instructor. The masterclass is presented by the IFG In partnership with The Glass Hub and the University of Wolverhampton.
The course will focus on building individual glassmaking skills and learning how to enhance scale and quality by working as part of a team. Students with blown glass experience are invited to take part in this unique hot shop experience to develop their skills and push personal boundaries under the expert guidance of great makers.

There are still places on this course so book now online. More information and link to booking on our courses page click here, with booking through the IFG. Don’t miss out! ifg-logo-2015