A visit to Peter Layton’s London Glassblowing last year, in search of a ‘Big Birthday’ present from my lovely husband, got me hooked on the molten stuff. The gallery is an enchanting place as it opens your eyes to the incredible dexterity of glassworkers: the details, the colours, the complexity and the variety. It is home to a number of resident artists who constantly push the boundaries of glass. In addition there are regularly new exhibitions with guest artists alongside Layton’s eponymous sculptural work. Louis Thompson caught my eye – picture this collection in front of a window. Magnificent. Another compelling collection of Thompson’s artworks shows his interest in colour.
Unusually, you can watch the glassblowers at work in the onsite studio. I was blown away and commissioned Bruce Marks to make one of his incredible Bird series for me. The sand blown surface did it. Pride of place it has. By sheer coincidence my lovely brother gave me the gift of a glassblowing class at the gallery and this propelled my appreciation into another sphere. The talented Anthony Scala was our wonderful tutor for the day, and, as he said, the day would imbue a heightened sense of the skill, difficulty and virtuosity required to be a successful glassblower. As it was December, the furnace, with it’s molten vat of glass at 1400°C, wrapped us up in a warm welcome. We spent the day attentively dipping, turning, blowing and twisting, all with a sense of magic and I loved every minute. If only it didn’t need such a serious amount of kit….I could joyfully take it on as a hobby.
And there you have it. One of my finished pieces, which took 3 days to cool down to room temperature. Another pride of place. If reincarnation does occur – I’d like to come back as a glassblower.