It's always best to see my glass panels in good strong light but when I visited my latest commission yesterday it was a blazing sunny day and I felt almost blinded by the glass panel which was sparkling furiously! Using different textures of clear glass in various sections means that different configurations of glass will catch the light across the day and across the seasons. Sunglasses may be needed to see this in the summer!
See the full panel here
It has been rather a long time since I've brought out a new product, and this one doesn't actually feel that new to me as I've been making these Coral Bowls for the best part of a year already. However the Coral Bowls have only just been photographed properly and I must say, they do look delectable in their exotic colours!
Read product info here
Christmas is coming! I don't mean to panic you but it's only three weeks away, and if you still haven't got round to any Christmas shopping, why not join us this Thursday evening for a late evening of civilised present purchasing in a beautiful space in The City. Precious Offering is a new exhibition showing work from Alex R, Brett Manley and The Edition Collection, and guest artist Adam Aaronson. We have something to suit all pockets from £10 to £1800. The show opens between 9-21 December with late night shopping until 9pm on Thursday 12th December.
Download private view invite here
There have been a couple of wonderful evenings at the De Morgan Centre in conjunction with Teepee Glass to celebrate our Inspired exhibition which has been extended until January 11th. The next one, hosted by our friend Patch Rogers from Liberty, promises to be the most interesting, as we will enjoy talks from decorative arts expert Eric Knowles and our former Central Saint Martins tutor Caroline Swash.
In December there will also be a late opening of the museum for a Christmas shopping evening. Come along to 38 West Hill, SW18 on Thursday the 5th of December for a warming glass of spiced wine and to browse a good selection of smaller items ideal for Christmas gifts.
Read more about Teepee Glass here
The De Morgan Centre in Wandsworth is one of those little gems in London that you often find yourself passing without ever knowing what treasures are inside. A visit to the venue in West Hill SW18 will reveal a trove of lovely ceramics and paintings by husband and wife duo William and Evelyn de Morgan, who were key proponents of the Arts and Crafts Movement at the turn of the 20th century.
Teepee Glass are honoured to have been invited to hold an exhibition in the De Morgan Centre this Autumn. We strive to keep the values of the Arts and Crafts movement alive in our works of contemporary glass. Our group of eight glass artists have each produced a body of new work for the exhibition, including
at least one piece inspired directly by the works of the de Morgans.
Read more about our exhibition here
A few images from the Big Day.... the most labour intensive wedding ever!
Back at the beginning of the year I was commissioned to make a thick-walled glass bowl for a font in St Nicholas Church in Radford Semele. The church had been hugely damaged by fire and was being rebuilt, so at the point where the commission was initiated, the church was a a building site. Thus instead of starting with a site visit, the design process was conducted entirely through emailed drawings and samples sent by courier. The wooden stand was being made at the same time as the bowl, so I sent a slumped blank in order to ensure that the two elements would fit together. Fast forward six months and I went to see the completed font within the beautiful new church building.
See the best image of the font here
The Victoria and Albert Museum is one of my favourite places. I lived round the corner from the V&A for ten years and when my son was little I used to take him there every week to marvel at its treasures. I have also had my work displayed in the V&A ten years ago when one of my pieces won the People's Prize at the Inspired By competition. So I'm really happy to have more work at the V&A, this time in their wonderful shop. They have ordered a specific mix of blue and green glass birds for this season to tie in with a narrative for the Christmas catalogue.
See the piece that was won the People's Prize at the V&A here
I've been making wedding flowers from paper every night now for four weeks. I've really been enjoying the quite different way of working with paper, where the object comes to life in my hands, rather than the sightly detached way of working with fused glass where all the action happens inside the kiln. And paper mistakes are instantly correctable rather than the frustrating 24 hours one has to wait to open the kiln!
More on paper flowers here
The annual Dulwich Open House is here again! I took some photos from last weekend before we opened the doors on Sunday morning. We're open from 11am-6pm both days this weekend too.
Tied in with my wedding preparations I have been making hundreds (if not thousands!) of white paper flowers. The more I made the more I thought how nice these would look with a bit of colour and some lovely glass centres. I've been thinking a lot about the glass beads I learned how to make back in December and I think these have been a bit influenced by those beads as well!
Read about the beads here
I'm used to glass cuts.... but recently it's all been paper cuts!
I've just come back from West Dean where I taught a demanding programme (entirely self-imposed, so don't feel sorry for me!). We explored different ways of creating imagery in glass, with the idea to overlap this imagery across many layers of glass. In the event most students ended up working on two or three layers, but as everyone was doing different things it once again became a test of my kiln skills to make sure all the students' glass worked in the firing. Hard!
This course will be repeated again next year at West Dean, and I will also be teaching a new course based on the mosaic technique I use in making my Butterfly Bowls. Look out for the course in the new West Dean programme if you're interested in coming.... but beware, this is only a course for those with EXTREME patience! There'll be a lot of little pieces to deal with!
My second pop up Glass Boutique at the Craft Central Corner Shop in Farringdon was distinctly tiny, but perfectly formed!
Read more here
In a couple of weeks I'll be hosting the second Glass Boutique, my pop up shop in Farringdon which will be open from Tuesday 29th January until Friday 1st February. Of course, considering the time of year, there'll be lots of hearts and Valentine's gifts on sale.
The space is small but very cute and perfect for me. Having run a pop up shop here two years ago, I must admit I do like having a few days of sitting down and catching up on admin between customers.... it's like a little holiday from the constant standing of my job. However it's a bit like looking after someone else's children - fun while you're doing it but you're also quite glad when it's time to hand them back!
Glass Boutique, 21 Clerkenwell Green, London EC1R 0DX Open 10.30-7pm, Tuesday - Friday
See the original pop up shop here
I am wishing you Happy New Year with an image of some glass beads I made just before Christmas. I treated myself to a day's beadmaking class as little present to myself... it's always good to remind yourself what it's like being a student when you're used to being a teacher, so it was partly for that reason but it's also good to shake things up a bit and inject some enthusiasm by learning new skills. But there was another reason too... 2013 will be a big year for me as I will be tying the knot in August, and I have an inkling to try and hone my bead-making skills by then so that I can incorporate some glass beads into my wedding dress. Watch this space!
Other than at my standard stockists, you can see my work in various exhibitions over Christmas.
Winter Glasscapes is the ZeST Gallery show (Roxby Place, London SW6) and it is a veritable profusion of gifts, jewellery and decorations all made of blown or kiln-formed glass. Also on until the end of January is Ornament at the Llantarnum Grange Arts Centre in Wales where all work has been inspired by the precious nature of the tree decoration. For the seventh year running I'll also have a variety of work, large and small, at Effervescence at West Dean Gallery. This is a show which brings together the work of emerging and established makers in many media and it's open until 13th January. Finally The Pyramid Gallery, which is celebrating its thirtieth year in York, is showing some of my Vintage Butterfly framed pieces over Christmas, as well as smaller hanging decorations.
It had been a while since ordering my last consignment of giftboxes and an order of 300 printed dishes for the Guinea Pig Club needed giftboxing so that pretty much finished off what little stock I had left.
These slim giftboxes were designed for individual items such as the hanging decorations or my Wedding favour dishes (left). Recently they have become more and more popular with my stockists, who report that the box really finishes the product off and means they don't have to spend extra money on packaging at the point of sale. So I invested in a bigger order of 3000 boxes and while I was at it I also designed a 25cm box! This box will work for the small Peacock and Butterfly Bowls as well as the wide and curved Candy Stripe Bowls (pictured top right). And that finally completes my range of packaging, meaning I have the correct sized giftbox for any product up to 30cm - a box for every occasion!
See my product range here
At the beginning of the summer I went to a University reunion at Tate Modern with my friends from the Courtauld Institute. It was a classy evening timed to coincide with the opening of the Damien Hirst retrospective. I'd heard through the grapevine that his latest thing is three dimensional Glass Butterflies, which was REALLY annoying for me as I've been doing them for years now. So I was itching to go up and see the show. However there were a lot of canapes and champagne which were also calling and we never quite made it upstairs...
Cue forward three months and I finally dragged my nearest and dearest along with me last weekend before the show closed, and as we queued I worked myself into a lather of irritation over Damien's toe-stepping actitivites. And after all that, not only were there no glass butterflies on show (although maybe they are still to come), but I am ashamed to say I absolutely loved it all, especially the stained glass-like butterfly collages. Damn him!
See my latest framed butterflies here
What an amazing summer, with the Olympics and the Glass Biennale happening in the same month! I didn't have anything on show during this Glass Festival.... it would have involved my own Olympian effort to have got anything together for it and I wasn't up to the task this time! The silver lining was that I could visit the Festival as a relaxed spectator instead of a frazzled exhibitor. I enjoyed a rare opportunity to catch up with all my fellow Teepee Glass artists... even better, we managed to stop Simon Bruntnell - one of the country's best glass photographers - as he walked past, and enlist him to capture the moment for posterity! Plans are afoot for the next Teepee extravaganza... watch this space. Read about the last Teepee endeavour here
Last weekend I had a non-stop stream of visitors through my 'House of Glass' as part of the Dulwich Festival. The Open House trail includes over 180 venues and 200 artists showing work of all kinds. This is the fifth time I've taken part and it's always great fun hosting this event in my house, despite my carpets getting trampled! It was the first weekend of sun after a month of rain, which may explain our record numbers of visitors.
With my new studio garden looking at its best, and all sorts of glass on show - such as the butterfly installation in my hallway (above) - there was plenty for visitors to see and buy. I had four people helping out, including my Uncle Wolfgang who enjoyed last year so much he timed his annual trip from Germany to coincide with the show! They were all kept busy welcoming customers, serving refreshments, and, most importantly, sellling the glass!
Read more about the Dulwich Open House here or how to visit this weekend (11am-6pm) here
Excuse the extravagant size of this picture! I just thought my friend Brett Manley took a great photo of me talking at the Guild of Glaziers last week! I was asked to talk twice that day: first to this year's Stevens Competition entrants about my win in the same competition seven years ago, and later that evening to the assembled Glaziers about my career. Has it really been seven years since my win?!
More on the Glaziers here
From time to time, I am contacted by people who want to commission a stained glass job and just such a lady contacted me recently. Funnily enough, I worked for her a couple of years ago, after she moved into what she said would be her last house. However as it transpired, she must have found an even better house around the corner and she got straight back on the phone to me for more glass! She has spent the last few months rebuilding the whole house and the stained glass was one of the last things to go in, before the whole place was given a lick of paint. The house is still a hive of activity with loads of builders on site... I just hope the glass survives before the family move in!
See more traditional leaded glasswork here
This week I oversaw the installation of the artwork for Bromley Reform Synagogue. It is interesting to look back and compare the finished installed artwork (left) with the original design (far left). During the intense making process, I regularly thought of the lady, now sadly passed away, who first brought my work to the attention of the synagogue committee. She had been a radiotherapy patient at UCH where she'd been moved by my Sundance piece. In the making of this piece, I made the top circle a stronger yellow to echo Sundance, which brought her so much joy.
I was recently asked to make a bespoke bowl for a customer to take all the way to Australia for a wedding gift. As always with one-off commissions, I had to be very careful to keep a strict control on the timing and budget. The bowl is made from a single circle of ordinary window glass, but sandblasting, screenprinting and handpainting has transformed the glass into something very special. It got me thinking once again about the use of float glass and how it could form the basis for a more economically priced production range. Watch this space!
See a selection of bespoke work here
It has been a job under discussion for many months, so I'm glad that my wall panel for the Bromley Reform Synagogue is underway. Yesterday four members from the Synagogue committee spent the morning in the Glass Studio adding some Hebrew script to the glass in the preparatory stages.
The text reads: "The days follow each other, the year passes,
But the melody always remains
But the melody always returns." The words reflect the theme of the panel which is based on the seasonal cycle, however the text will soon become a hidden message as the glass will be cut into smaller pieces and reassembled. The form of the Hebrew script will appear as a multiplicity of lines, suggestive of tree branches against the dappling light through its foliage.
Read more about the Synagogue commission here
I've just got back after three days on my stand at Home 2012 at Earls Court. It seems like an age since the last time I did a trade show and it took me until about lunchtime on Day 1 before remembering why I dislike them so much! You spend the best part of two days in a cold, draughty warehouse building trying to make something of your little square of allotted space. And then after all the craziness of the set up logistics, you then have the next three days of what seems like just hanging around waiting for the beautiful space you've created to tempt in the next trade buyer. And then the whole lot is ripped down in about an hour and jammed in the car any which way. Surely the very definition of a waste of time?! And yet somehow it's always worth the effort.
Of course as soon as New Year comes around I am already having to think about Valentine's Day and I've already made a massive stock of glass hearts in preparation for what can only be described as the annual onslaught of Valentine's orders. Some of these have been earmarked for a special exhibition in which I've been invited to participate. Heavenly Sent at the London Glassblowing Gallery will be making the most of Valentine's Day by opening for a whole month from 31st January. As well as hearts, I'm sending my Peacock Bowls and wall butterflies to the gallery which has recently moved to to Bermondsey Street, the vibrant shopping street in London SE1.
Read more about the gallery here
Maybe because the time between Christmas and New Year has just fallen between two weekends, or maybe it's because I'm feeling a bit exhausted after this year, but I've just enjoyed a very lazy final week to 2011. Despite the post-Xmas bulge, I did however manage to sort out a photo shoot for my stars hanging from my Christmas tree. I usually like to keep my tree for as long as possible, but it always seems a bit desperate once Christmas is over, so it was nice to give my tree a raison d'etre after the end of the festivities! Happy New Year 2012!
Two shows have just opened for the Christmas period which include Alex R glass. Visit ZeSt Gallery in Roxby Place, West London until 23rd of December for a fabulous selection of unique handmade glass gifts (open 10-6pm Tue-Sat). You can often see glassblowing going on in the studio next door so ZeST always makes a great destination to glass at its best. Also the West Dean Gallery is hosting a very popular Christmas show, now in its 6th year, called Effervescence which brings together handmade work from artists working in various media. This show is open until 23rd Dec and then again from 4th-15th January (open 11-6pm every day). Details on ZeST here and West Dean Gallery here
I made The Glaziers' Bowl for the Worshipful Company of Glaziers to be given in a ceremony last night in lieu of the the annual rent to the freeholders of Glaziers Hall. I wanted the piece to reflect both the idiosyncratic nature of this age-old tradition and the personal significance of the Glaziers guild to my own practice. Based on an old vintage coin with an embossed and antiqued metallic surface,
The Glaziers’ Bowl represents the payment to the landlord. The imagery in the bowl is sandcarved into its surface and can be read in a clockwise direction around its circumference as it charts my journey in glass since winning the Glaziers' annual glass competition, the Stevens Competition, six years ago which is what kickstarted my career.
From time to time I get enquiries through my website about private teaching and when I have a group of four students I run a private course in my studio. Holding courses in my working studio rather than a classroom means that students are getting a very intensive learning experience as well as unlimited access to materials. I run the course for two days but with a week in between which alllows time between to develop ideas.
I ran such a couse at the beginning of this month and the foursome produced some fantastic work. The four students consisted of a married couple and a pair of friends, and interestingly each pair produced similar work but quite different from the other pair.
Read more about the private course here
I was one of four speakers at the 'Glass at Central' conference on Sunday talking about New Ways with Glass in Architecture chaired by Andrew Moor. I was talking about my Sundance piece for University College Hospital. I have made a stop frame film made from 800 photos which were taken during the making of the piece. See the stop frame film here
We're all very sad that all the glass courses have now been closed at Central Saint Martins (from where I graduated in 2005). There are also plans to demolish the Cochrane Theatre which operated a gallery on the first floor that for a number of year has been dedicated to showing new glass. To mark the closure of the site, there is a two day Glass Conference being held in the theatre itself on the 18th and 19th September.
I'll be one among a number of speakers on the subject of 'New Ways with Architecture' and I'll be talking about my commission for University College Hospital. I'll be going into the technical side of the making of the piece and the difficulties I faced in installing a panel of that size. The conference is open to all interested in glass - another reason to visit is the last exhibition at the Cochrane Theatre Gallery which includes works from ex tutors from course. The conference coincides with the launch of a book also about 'Glass at Central'.
More info about the conference here and about the book launch here
I have been in discussions with a committee from south London about making a wall panel for their synagogue. There is a wall space near a window which they are looking to fill with a two metre high artwork made of glass. I attended my first Jewish service, the symbolism and ritual of which was explained to me to give me a starting point for thinking about the artwork.
One of the themes that was discussed was the changing of the seasons, as it links to the progression through the Torah scrolls in services throughout the year. I have designed a reflective wall panel for the space which uses the motif of four circles to represent the four seasons. The composition is abstract to abide by the non-figurative aspect of Judaism, but was inspired by the idea of the light dappling through the branches of a tree in each of the seasons. I am currently working on sample panels.
See other bespoke work here
I've been asked to make some samples for a Snakeskin platter and a glass votive holder. As the potential order coming out of these samples may be fairly large, I've been looking at ways to cut costs and an obvious answer was to try the samples out in float glass, the everyday clear glass that is used in windows. I introduced colour again by painting enamels onto the glass before firing, and I'm surprised how well it's worked!
The quality of the finished platter is certainly different from the original Snakeskin platter in coloured glass, but it is actually very effective. This immediately made me think about my Snakeskin range and whether it would be a good idea to offer a more reasonable 'float version' of the collection. In these straitened times, any way of cutting costs is a welcome development.
See the original Snakeskin range here
My work is usually quite strongly coloured, but in the run up to the wedding fair last month, I focused on the delicate white end of the colour spectrum. I am really inspired by the contrast between the creamy opaque whites and the translucent subtle mauves and greys, and I've made a number of vessels in these colours using my Candy Stripe techniques. From next week, some of these glass vessels will be on display at the Modern Pantry shop in St Johns Square, EC1.
The Modern Pantry offers a modern casual space for dining in their ground floor cafe and two elegant light-filled dining rooms upstairs. The Pantry shop at the side of the building also has a beautiful window which is regularly used to display pieces by local artists and craftsmen. A small collection of my vessels will be shown in the window display for the next few weeks and can be bought there.
See the Modern Pantry website here
I've had such a busy start to the year that a commission that I started back in January has taken until now to finish. Work on this commission has been very stop-start as I kept being interrupted by other things, but I've finally had a chance to focus on finishing the two artworks which were commissioned as a legacy from a loving grandmother.
The idea for each piece came from the children who are to be the recipients, and both pieces have been designed for displaying books. The grandson wanted a special cabinet with a bold glass frame which I used with a mirror background and dichroic accents to keep the colours bright. His sister wanted a wall-hung receptacle completely made of glass with a floral design etched into a graduated colour background.
See the commissioned pieces here and here
I've just been showing my new wedding range at Craft Central Gets Hitched, a handmade wedding fair in central London. The fair was held over three days at Craft Central's studios in Farringdon and included a preview evening where the bucks fizz was flowing.
I had my limited edition gold and silver wall butterflies on display alongside my hearts in wedding colours and special coasters in festive white and gold. Larger pieces included a new three tiered cake stand with gold screenprinted detail and a larger version of my candy stripe bowl in whites and mauves. Also new were some sweet little favour dishes in various designs and colours. All these new wedding items are now collected together in a range called The Wedding List which is featured on my products page.
See The Wedding List here
Wedding Season is upon us! In fact I received my first wedding invitation of the year yesterday. Recently I have been developing number of new products in glass that are specifically wedding-themed. I will be showing these at 'Craft Central Gets Hitched', a wedding fair for brides who are looking for unique handmade touches for their big day. Thirty other designers working in various media will also be at this three-day event in Clerkenwell in late June.
Along with the inevitable glass hearts in bridal colours (above), I will be bringing tiered cake stands, wedding favour dishes (left), vases and table centrepieces. For anyone ordering on the day, I will be offering a service to customise their glass with individual names or logos, as well as the option to order glass in bespoke colours to match their wedding theme. I love the excitement of the build up to a wedding so I can't wait to meet the brides-to-be!
Read more about the Craft Central Gets Hitched here. Flyer here
With terrible timing I had two events happening simultaneously last weekend. As well as the final days of Grand Designs I had my House of Glass Open Studio for the Dulwich Festival. Luckily I could leave studio in the hands of the fantastic Isaac who did a stirling job showing hundreds of visitors around. It ended up as a bit of a family affair as the Dream Team of my dad and my Uncle Wolfgang, here on holiday, wrapped the glass and charmed the ladies!
I opened up the whole house this year with every room - even the bathroom (pictured right) - being used as a gallery space for my work. The studio sale included lots of seconds and slight seconds glass at bargain prices and much of it was sold. Luckily I have plenty more glass to put out for next weekend (14th/15th May) and this time I will actually be there! Do come along if you can, as there are lots of Dulwich artists' houses still open for the final weekend and it makes a really nice day out, especially if you enjoy having a little peak at other people's houses!
See the Open House catalogue here. See the Glass Trail map here
At the end of May I have been invited to give a talk about my work at Cambridge Contemporary Crafts. This is part of Craft and Design Month which is a national event that celebrates all things hand-made. Each week in May Cambridge Contemporary Crafts will focus on a different medium: ceramics, textiles, jewellery / wood and glass / enamel with a changing display and talks and demonstrations in the gallery space.
I shall be sending new work to the gallery for the final Glass week and will be talking about my passion for glass as well as the methods and techniques I use when making my work. I'll mainly focus on the making of my production work which will be on display but I will also touch on the other end of my work which is the large one-off artworks and I'll discuss how each type of work benefits and informs the other.
Read more about Celebrating Craft and Design here
I'm preparing for a big show at the end of next month. The Grand Designs home show is being held at ExCel in London and I'll be at stand E82. It is quite unusual for me to do consumer shows (I still struggle to remember my retail prices!) but this show is open to the public and at nine days long, it is going to be a good opportunity to make some direct sales. I always like selling to the people who will actually be owning my glass. It's always quite handy to be at these shows after hours when I always have a good look around without the inconvenience of the crowds, and make a mental shopping list for later. I'm also looking forward to meeting the legend that is Kevin McCloud! If you are planning to go, you'll get £8 off the ticket price if you use my discount code EXHIB11 when you prebook on 0844 209 7349 or contact me directly for free tickets.
See the Grand Designs website here
I spent a wonderful evening last night at the Glaziers Hall being welcomed as a Freeman of the Company of Glaziers and Painters of Glass. I was awarded the Freedom of the Company by Gift, an honour which is occasionally bestowed on a young glass artist who has made a succesful career in glass after winning first prize in the Stevens Competition.
During the evening ceremony I was introduced to the Court by an assembly of Wardens in full livery, and I signed my name into the Declaration Book. After all the pomp of the swearing-in ceremony, it was good to find everyone really friendly and down to earth. We had drinks in the fabulous River Room with views over the Thames and then enjoyed a three course dinner and speech from the Master of the Guild.
See the Glaziers Hall website here
Late last year I was contacted by a lady who is being treated in the Radiotherapy Department at University College Hospital where my 'Sundance' piece is installed. She went to some trouble to find me on the internet as the hospital don't currently have a name plate against the artwork, and we subsequently spoke several times on the phone. I was very touched to hear that 'Sundance' has had quite an effect on her. She spoke very eloquently about how the artwork has helped her feel positive about her visits to the hospital, and how she has brought her friends to see it.
She is now commissioning me to create two works of art as a legacy to leave for her grandchildren. I suggested a glass-making session as a way to get to know her family before starting the commission. So earlier this month I had 3 generations of the family come to the studio and spend an afternoon making these jolly fish for their bathroom wall. Discussions have begun about what the final two artworks will be and I will start work on them soon.
Read more about 'Sundance' here
I was hoping to start 2011 as a shining paragon of smooth running and ultra organisation, but instead I am still plagued by problems with my absolutely useless computer (cue much verbal abuse directed towards said machine... very unfestive). In fact the New Year saw my website going down for a few days. Not a great start, but normal service has now been resumed!
A pretty major change brought in with the New Year is that I am now VAT registered, so invoices will look a bit different. The cost of glass keeps rising year on year, but I am trying to avoid raising my prices for as long as possible by counteracting higher materials costs with more efficient working practices. Inevitably there will have to be a price rise at some point in 2011 but, for now, net trade prices will largely remain the same. On the retail side, I am absorbing some of the VAT but prices will go up slightly to meet my new commitment to HMRC. New prices are available in the 2011 pricelist, and to sweeten the pill you'll see that many products now also come in my beautiful Alex R giftboxes, which must surely make up for it!
Access the 2011 RETAIL pricelist here .... Access the 2011 TRADE pricelist here
Effervescence, the Christmas exhibition at West Dean Gallery, is in now in its fifth year (running from 27th November until 16 January next year). This exhibition has become an annual treat for the denizens of West Sussex, as it brings together contemporary art and design from makers around the UK. Effervescence is always really well curated by Dr Sharon Michi Kusunoki to offer work at a wide range of prices and so it's a great opportunity for me to try out new work, both one off pieces and also glassware which may eventually end up as part of my production range.
This year I sent down some new bowls which I've really been enjoying making and am hoping that they will become the next addition to my regular collection. With the stripey design and delectable colours, the name came very naturally - the "Candy Stripe" bowls - look out for them on my new and improved product list in 2011!
Read more about Effervescence V here
Usually I mainly do shows in London or relatively close to it, so I'm not away from home for too long. However it had been seven years since I went up to see my friend Sarah in Glasgow and when I found out that the Country Living Christmas Fair was going to be held in Glasgow during her birthday week, it was a no-brainer!
The fair was held in the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre, which is a fantastic building on the banks of the River Clyde, and I was staying only ten minutes' walk from the centre. But what started as a work trip ended up turning into a bit of a pre-Xmas jolly. The event opening hours were civilised to the extreme and I took the fact that I didn't have to be on the stand till 10am each morning as a sign from the Glass Gods that they wanted me to have a bit of fun too, so I ended up going out every night with Sarah and her student friends! It became a morning ritual for my neighbouring stallholders at the Fair to gauge my previous night's activities by the magnitude of my hangover, and I did have quite a few of them across the week!
Read more about the Country Living Christmas Fair here
I had a week away from the studio last week to take charge of my very first pop-up shop. I took over Craft Central's Corner Shop from Tuesday until Saturday and packed it full with glass goodies for sale in the run up to Christmas.
The window display must have done it's job because I had quite a few locals come in who said they'd never come in before. It's a tiny space - two customers and it felt full! - but it suited me perfectly. I stayed open late on weekdays to catch the local workers on their way home and as the weather turned last week it felt very cosy in the dark, rainy evenings. I really enjoyed my first pop up experience, and I'll definitely be returning to the Corner Shop in 2011 so watch this space.
Read more about Craft Central here
Lots has been happening this month and in typical Alex-fashion, it all came at once. My builders arrived to start work on my kitchen just as I left for a trip abroad... and when I say "just as", I mean literally twenty minutes before I left for the airport! A week later I returned to complete chaos in the house and studio and in the midst of that I had to get my Christmas orders out. It's finally all finished now and looking lovely - the bespoke doors have been painted a delicious shade of purple which is not to everyone's taste, but certainly in keeping with Alex R colours! Somewhere in all the madness I made the decision to get a credit card machine. I've been considering getting one for ages but it was obviously the pressure of all the upheaval that pushed me into taking the plunge. So Alex R can finally offer credit card facilities to trade customers or for mail orders over the telephone.
Some very exciting news is that the National Trust have picked up on my Glass Butterflies and will be stocking them in various National Trust shops around the country. It made perfect sense to me that the National Trust should be interested in the butterflies as so many of their houses have beautiful gardens, and I've always thought that the wall butterflies are a great way of bringing a bit of the magic of an English garden indoors.
I'm glad to see that many of the shops are ordering the sets of three as well as the individual butterflies. The sets of three are obviously pricier then buying a single 'fly, but the sets are like
a ready-made art installation in a box! I always make loads of butterflies in random colours and lay them out on my workspace in order to find groups that really complement each other, with echoes of the same common colours running through all three.
The Robert Burns Birthplace Museum in Alloway, Scotland have commissioned me to create a set of dishes for their new shop. For 200 years the beautiful scenery of Alloway and its special connection with the life and works of Robert Burns have drawn visitors to this stunning Ayrshire village. As part of a major project to rebuild the Museum, the new shop will open in September. The dishes are based on the 'Inspired' Rose design which is the signature design for the Museum. The shop is now also stocking my glass hearts and butterflies, and it's exciting for my products to be part of the launch of the new Robert Burns Birthplace Museum.
Read more about the Museum here
I'm sure my obsession with butterflies will soon be totally exhausted but while it continues, I am still indulging it! Over the last few weeks I have been experimenting by using gold lustre on the backs of my production butterflies which creates some very interesting effects. The gold lustre changes from gold to green-blue when light comes through it, so when the butterflies are placed near a light source they become very dynamic... glass that changes with a move in viewpoint is something that I'm fascinated in, so this may be something I'll pursue.
My production butterflies have done fantastically well over the last few months, but to be able to sell them at their price point I've had to simplify the butterfly form, which can sometimes be frustrating. I've started making a few limited edition fine art butterflies which, as you can see, are much more detailed and realistic. They will be presented in gilt frames for the final leg of the Teepee Era show at the IFG.
Read more about the Era exhibition here
Back in May, when I was part of the Open Studio trail, I managed to escape for a couple of hours to go and see other artists' work and one of them was glass artist Eryka Isaak, who works not far from me in Forest Hill. It is always interesting to see how other artists work, particularly other glass artists as we have to fit a lot of big equipment in our space.
A few weeks later while awkwardly cleaning under my kiln I snapped and decided on the spot to rearrange my studio. Before I knew it, I was feverishly dismantling my glass storage area, pulling shelves off walls, and shifting heavy equipment with the superhuman strength of someone who has got a right bee in their bonnet! It took me most of a week and at one point involved queuing up for IKEA worksurfaces at midnight - total madness really, as I had work piling up! But at the end I had all my equipment lined up along one wall which magically unlocked four metres of new workspace - well worth it.
Later I thought about it and realised I must have been subconsciously inspired by Eryka's studio... long and thin, with all her equipment lined up along one wall. Thanks Eryka!
After a very successful exhibition at the Cochrane Gallery, our Teepee Show 'Era' has moved to its second venue - the Stained Glass Museum at Ely Cathedral, where it will be open to the public for the next month.
We were blessed by the many windows at The Cochrane Gallery so it is interesting to see the majority of the pieces displayed against a wall at Ely Cathedral. It is also a smaller space so the exhibition has been edited a little to make sure it all fits. If you can't make it to Ely, there will be one last chance to see this show at its final venue at the International Festival of Glass in August. This will be a treat for anyone interested in glass as there is a glass symposium with talks, lectures, and other exhibitions of glass at the Festival, so book your tickets now and see you in sunny Stourbridge at the end of August! Dates run from 27th August to 11th September.
Read more about the International Festival of Glass here
I have been invited to exhibit in the Alexandra Reinhardt Memorial Award Anniversary Exhibition at the North Wall Arts Centre in Oxford.
I will be showing a few pieces inspired by my arts residency which was supported by ARMA. Other works on show will be by the four previous winners of the award. For five years the Max Reinhardt Charitable Trust has been supporting arts in hospitals through the Award, so this should be a fascinating exhibition for anyone interested in this area. The show is open daily between the 8th and 16th of May.
Download an exhibition invite here
This May I am taking part in the Dulwich Festival for the third time. The Open House trail is growing, with over 200 artists showing this year over 2 weekends (8th/9th May and 15th/16th May). My 'House of Glass' will be open 11am-6pm both weekends.
As before, everything will be for sale with at least 30% reductions on normal prices. I will be having a studio sale in the ground floor studio and garden, with lots of slight seconds at bargain prices. The first floor will also be open to the public with some new pieces on show. For anyone planning a visit, I won't be present on the first Sunday as I will be in Oxford for another private view, but you'll be in the capable hands of Isaac who'll show you round.
Read about the Dulwich Open House here
Teepee Glass are exhibiting together again, this time sees us return to our art college stomping ground with a new exhibition at the Cochrane Gallery. The show is entitled 'Era' to reflect the five years since we were all students at Central Saint Martins, and all 8 of us have created new work in response to the title. The USP of the show is that every piece of work is displayed in a traditional gilt frame. We put the show up last week and it is fabulous, with a real diversity of styles and techniques all unified by the ornate gold frames. I am showing two large nudes, which seemed in keeping with the traditional frames.
Unfortunately I missed out on the private view as I was up in Harrogate at a trade show, but by all accounts it was a very buzzy, well attended evening. However we are having a closing night party on May 21st with talks by Caroline Swash (artist, CSM tutor) and Alan J Poole (glass collector) which should be interesting. The show is on for another month, and is well worth a visit.
'Work and Love' at the Menier Gallery, photos by Carine Lucchese. Read more on the show here
I have very excited to be holding my first solo show at the Menier Gallery from 4th-12th March with a private view on Wednesday the 3rd of March.
The opening times are 10am-6pm Monday to Saturday and the gallery is in Bankside, close to London Bridge.
Do email me at email@example.com if you'd like an invitation to the private view or for more information about the exhibition.
See previous exhibitions listed here
Once again I find myself here on the cusp of the new year wondering what happened to the last twelve months??! It feels like I was only just writing about my plans for 2009 and here we are a year later! Some of those plans wonderfully have come to fruition, yet some remain as frustrating testaments to my lack of time... one of my new year resolutions is to employ an assistant! I am looking forward to 2010 as a year where I will be moving forward in my personal work, something which is hard when the phone is constantly buzzing with orders to fulfill. However 2010 marks five years since I graduated so it seems an appropriate time to reflect back on my work over this period. In this spirit, I will be having my first ever solo exhibition in the Menier Gallery in March, something that I am incredibly excited about. The show is called "Work and Love" and it will chart my journey over the last five years, including both personal work and production pieces. There are further plans for two other important exhibitions in April and May, details of which will be posted in the next newsletter.
Read more about the Menier Gallery here
In March next year the Menier Gallery will be hosting my first solo show 'Work and Love'. I'm terrible when it comes to titling work, and coming up with a title for the show has been even more problematic. Since the summer I have been reading all sorts of books about neurology and psychology as research for my residency, and the solution to the problem came to me while reading "The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat" by the neurologist Oliver Sachs. I came across a quote which is often (albeit probably wrongly) attributed to Freud: 'Love and work are the cornerstones of humanness' This phrase hit a chord with me, as my waking life over the last five years (and there has not been much sleeping time!) has been almost exclusively about the pursuit of love and work. My main struggle as an artist is finding the balance between my desire to express myself through my art and the glasswork I must produce to earn a living; on a personal basis my struggle is striving for a balance between work and home life (I do live in a glass studio, after all!). The title 'Work and Love' encapsulates these ideas, but also seemed to fit with the experiences of the patients I worked with on the hospital residency as the two strongest factors that helped patients on their recovery was the love of family and friends and the motivating force of work.
Read the exhibition press release here
After the rush of Christmas orders, I've finally been able to focus on the making of the lightbox for the National Hospital of Neurology. The piece is inspired by the neuroimagery of MRI brain scans, and I hope it will transform imagery that may hold negative associations for the patients into a beautiful patchwork of colour and texture. The design is divided into a 25 part grid with each part representing one of the patients I met during my residency there. A large part of my time was spent talking with them about their experiences and hearing their stories in whatever way they wanted to tell them to me. Imagery representing these stories is painted on the pieces around the central discs, with some patients having contributed their own drawings for the design. The emerging themes of the artwork encompass love and work, family and home life, food and exercise - all the good things in life.
See other bespoke work here
I have been very busy over the last few weeks sending out orders for Christmas to galleries and shops around the UK. I'll also have work in three gallery exhibitions over the Christmas period:
6 Nov - 10 Jan 10 .... 'Christmas Crackers'
Millenium Gallery, Sheffield
14 Nov -24 Dec 09 .... Mixed Christmas Show
Cambridge Contemporary Art, Cambridge
28 Nov - 17 Jan 10 .... 'Effervescence IV'
West Dean Gallery, West Sussex
My work will also be featuring in a special Christmas window at Bristol boutique 'Perfectly Posh' which will display of one hundred glass stars. Also on sale here is a bespoke range of Alex R hearts in giftboxes in all the popular designs but in unusual colours.
See previous exhibitions listed here
My residency is drawing to a close at the end of this week. Three months seemed like more than enough time when I started, but it has gone very quickly. However I've achieved a lot in the time using different materials and activities to engage the patients and staff. Some of the sessions have been individual projects such as the making of the Memory Bowls (below), which patients take home with them as a reminder of their stay in the Rehab Unit.
Other projects have been collaborative pieces with the aim of creating a sense of community in Unit and involve a greater number of patients and staff. 'The Rehab Tree' (above), which is the current project, was made out of clay by the patients who inscribed words into the bark of the tree to express their feelings about their experience in hospital. The making of the group artworks, such as the Tree or the huge Clock we made for the Day Room, have invoked a palpable sense of ownership and allow patients to leave their mark on the hospital.
Read more about another group piece, the Rehab Clock here
It's been a long time in the making but I have finally finished an incredibly time consuming project to make a glass mosaic wall for a walk-in shower area. All the pieces for the wall were made using a combination of clear, gold and black glass, which were handpainted with gold and copper before fusing together. The tiles were laid on a plaster bed in the kiln which I had worked into to create a textural surface in the glass causing it to glint and sparkle with reflected light.
The overall design is intended to evoke the idea of flowing water so it was important that the lines all connect but appear to be random. The biggest technical challenge of this project was gettting all the pieces to fit together exactly within the space (taking account of the shower head and two water jets) but without looking like there were any obvious join lines.
See other bespoke work here
I'm already 2 months into my residency at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery. I can't believe how fast the time has gone, but all the patients I started working with at the start of the project have now gone home. It has been amazing to see some patients, who arrived in wheelchairs, leave the rehabillitation unit on their two feet. However for others the rehab process is also about coming to terms with long term impairment to their speech or their movement.
As part of my work with them, we have worked on various activities but a favourite seemed to have been the making of a huge clock for the Unit. This activity particularly captured the imaginations of the patients who each decorated a number with sparkly glass pieces. Our clock challenges preconceptions that time drags in hospital. In the making and the using of the clock, we've demonstrated that time spent in hospital can instead be used to tap into creativity as part of the recovery process.
Read more about the residency here
I spent the first week of August in the lovely surroundings of West Dean College teaching a new combined course in both stained glass and kiln-formed glass for Summer School.
This was an incredibly intensive week both for the students and for myself, and I am absolutely sure that of all the summer school courses, the students on my course worked the hardest! It was all worth it though, as they made some beautiful glass panels (left), which were a riot of colour and texture.
The eight leaded panels were constructed almost entirely from glass pieces that students made in the kiln. This course was a bit of a balancing act for me to make sure all the kiln work was done in time before teaching the stained glass element, as well as ensuring the glass ended up the right size for leading it all together. However with a lot of hard work and a few late nights, we did it!
Read more about the West Dean Summer School here
'Made To Think' is a new show at the West Dean Gallery (formerly the Sussex Barn gallery) which features my work. The exhibition will cover a variety of media but the common thread is that the exhibitors all teach at West Dean College. I've taught at West Dean for three years and it continues offer a fantastic ever-changing programme of teaching, so I was excited to recommend my friend and Teepee Glass colleague Brett Manley to West Dean. She has been taken on to teach cast glass there and her work will also be included in 'Made To Think'. The exhibition opens on 30th July, with three private views in late July and August, and it will run until 6th September.
See the full invitation for 'Made To Think' here
I've spent the last few weeks working with glass powders to create a range of dishes and coasters especially for the National Gallery. They approached me to develop a bespoke range in response to the new exhibition "Corot to Monet", a fresh look at the 19th Century landscapes from the National Gallery collection. I created four designs for both the dishes and the coasters which were based on some of the Impressionist landscapes. My brief was to vary the tonal intensity in each set of designs, from subtle to bold, which has meant each piece is totally unique. It was like creating one hundred little works of art on glass. See the results in the National Gallery Shop until 20 September.
Read more about the exhibition here
My third time exhibiting at Pulse in Earls Court One was a mixed experience. The show was the quietest I've ever seen it, in terms of numbers of visitors to the show and the quantity of orders I took over the three days. It seems the recession has well and truly hit the home and gift market... however I was secretly relieved at not being knee-deep in orders by the end of the show, as I have a huge amount of other work coming up this summer and have been slightly panicking about it!
A few weeks after the show I got a phone call from a very special buyer who I had not spoken to at the show as, bizarrely, she said that every time she had come to my stand I had crowds of people on it... that was certainly not my memory of Pulse this year! Anyway, other than referring to her as a "special buyer" I can't reveal any more about this right now as we are currently in discussions about a commission for her company, but it is very exciting! Hopefully if all goes well, I will have some great news about this in the coming months.
I have been busy preparing for my residency at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery. This residency is part of my commitment as the winner of the Alexandra Reinhardt Memoral Award and I shall be using my time there to do the research and preparation work for an installation piece that I shall be making for the Neurorehabililtation Unit at the hospital.
Between June and September I shall be spending two days a week at the Rehab Unit, working with the patients and learning more about the effects of Multiple Sclerosis, stroke and spinal injury on the brain. I'm nervous about working with patients who may be very physically impaired, but it will no doubt be an eye- opening experience and I hope it will feed into and inform my final piece of work - a large wall hung lightbox which will be installed permanently in the Hospital at the start of next year.
Read more about the Alexandra Reinhardt Award here
This May I am taking part in the Dulwich Festival for the second time and I will be one of over one hundred artists opening up their studios and houses to the public over two weekends (9th/10th May and 16th/17th May). My 'House of Glass' will be open 11am-6pm, Saturday and Sunday.
I will be using the ground floor studio as a sale area for smaller gift items and bargain pieces including one offs, slight seconds and discontinued ranges. Upstairs larger pieces will be on display including wall panels, bowls, lightboxes and sculptural pieces. Only two floors will be open this year as the third floor is currently undergoing an extensive refurbishment, including a new bathroom featuring a wall of Alex R handmade tiles - but you'll have to wait for next year's Open House to see that!
See details of the Dulwich Festival Open House trail here
Until now I have only ever done major trade shows in London, but the British Craft Trade Fair has been a show that's been often recommended to me.
This year I took the plunge and decamped up to Harrogate for four days to take part. I had a fantastic stand right in the entrance to the Yorkshire Showhall and met some great new customers, particularly shops and galleries from the north of England, who may not have come down to the London shows.
However the part I enjoyed most of all was sharing an apartment in Harrogate with my friend Amanda Simmons - with whom I was at Central Saint Martins - and each evening after the show we had long chats to catch up with all the glass gossip and reminisce about our student days! Amanda, who works under the name Corsock Glass, also did really well at the show and was highly commended by the judges for her beautiful glasswork.
Read more about the British Craft Trade Fair (including Amanda's award) here
Slumdog Millionaire swept the board at the Oscars in January, and as a result everyone seems to have gone Bollywood mad! My Global Treasury Lightboxes made their way into the Times supplement this weekend because one of the series was originally inspired by the colour palette of vintage Bollywood movie posters.
The 'Bollywood' lightbox is the one on the right, but they also included an image of the Aztec box on the left. It is a timely piece of editorial as I am about to stop this range as a product line. From April they will no longer appear as a product but if you would like to have a Global Treasury lightbox of your own, it can still be commissioned as a bespoke piece.
Read about the Global Treasury range here
The recession is obviously worrying for small businesses and having done a number of trade shows in London in the last couple of years, it was with trepidation that I set up at Top Drawer Spring this year. At the last minute I was offered a substantial extra space next to me which had not been taken - a worrying signal that even large businesses like Clarion are feeling the pinch. However it was good for me - it meant I had a huge L-shaped stand something I'd happily have every time if I could!
The show was a success - though not the knockout that it was last year, but then I guess we'll all have to wait a while longer for the economy to get back on its feet. My Bloom Bowls sold well as well as the inevitable rush of hearts being bought for Valentine's Day. A warm welcome to the many stores and galleries who ordered from me at the show, as well as welcome back to those who reordered!
Read more about the Bloom Bowl range here
I feel like I've barely recovered from all the hard work of last year and here I am starting it all again for 2009!
All sorts of plans are afoot for the year ahead. I have trade shows booked for January, April, June and September and this year I would like to squeeze in a few more consumer shows too. I will certainly be hosting another Open Studio event in May, as well as a new Christmas Open Studio in December. I will have my work in a number of exhibitions in London and around the country, kicking off with the 40cm2 show which has moved to the Stained Glass Museum at Ely Cathedral.
On the commission front, I have another school project coming up as well as a couple of ongoing private commissions and I'm still waiting to hear if I get the big one - a series of three glass installations in a Portsmouth hospital. I will be teaching two new courses this year at West Dean College in March and August. Also changes are already being made to my website and you can expect to see a brand new shop section on the website in early 2009.
See upcoming events for 2009 in listings
This week I have two more Christmas shows opening. On Thursday I'll be showing at the Museum of London for one day only as part of their Late programme. The Museum will be staying open after hours for visitors to wander round, relax with a drink to some live music and shop for unique handmade gifts.
Also starting this Thursday is TP2+1 which is the second show by Teepee Glass at the SE1 Gallery in London Bridge. I won't be able to make the private view in the evening, but do go along to enjoy a glass of wine with my fellow Teepee artists between 6pm and 8.30pm or come and see me in the gallery on Friday the 5th or 19th as I will be holding the fort on those days from 11am till 6pm.
There are two other dates for your diary as we will be hosting some very special talks at the gallery. On Friday 12 Dec, the inimitable Peter Layton will be making his way over from London Glassblowing to give a talk about contemporary glass. On Friday the 19th we will be joined by two guest speakers, artist Angela Thwaites and renowned glassblower and gallerist Adam Aaronson.
Read more about the speakers and the TP2+1 show here
My new Bloom Bowls have gone down well with the public at the Spirit of Christmas show last month, so I couldn't resist showing a sneak preview of the bowls before they go up officially on the website in January.
The perfect size for nibbles, the Bloom Bowls are very cute little dishes in a rainbow selection of colours. The seven floral designs are printed onto the glass in either black or gold but other colours will be available soon. Designs include Rose, Peony, Lily, Poppy, Fuchsia, Hydrangea and Chrysanthemum.
A bowl presented in a giftbox will retail at £18, and if you just can't wait to get your hands on one before the New Year, come along to the Teepee Glass show at the SE1 Gallery or the Museum of London show at the start of December where a small selection will be on sale.
More about the Teepee show here or download an invite to Late at the Museum of London here
My long awaited giftboxes have finally arrived and I'm delighted with them! I'm usually the one sending out big cartons full of goodies, so for once it was thrilling to be the one to open up the carton.... who'd have thought anyone could get so excited about a load of cardboard boxes?!! But I have put a lot of thought into designing them so that they can contain various items (including products that still only exist as a twinkle in my eye!) to make the perfect giftset for a loved one..
I'm very excited to be launching some of these new giftsets at The Spirit of Christmas show as they will make great pressies for Christmas. In a giftset one can choose to have 3 glass hearts, 3 glass stars or alternatively a set of 4 coasters (either Damascus Rose or Pinstripe). My new Bloom range of small screenprinted bowls with floral imagery will also fit in to make a lovely gift.
See details of the giftsets for glass hearts and glass stars
The new notonthehighstreet.com Christmas catalogue is out now on and Alex R is one of four small businesses specially featured in the catalogue as part of its sponsorship by O2.
The catalogue is a fantastic collection of unique gifts from small British businesses which all trade on nothonthehghstreet.com. I have been involved with notonthehighstreet.com since its inception and so it is great to be promoted in this way. It's also nice to see the studio so tidy!
My glass stars also appear in the Decorate! pages of the catalogue which display beautiful festive Christmas decorations. The catalogue is being sold as a supplement with this month's House & Garden magazine. Alternatively follow the link below if you would prefer to have a free copy of the catalogue sent directly to your door.
See the feature in my press coverage or request a catalogue at notonthehighstreet.com
I'll be showing at the Spirit of Christmas Fair ar Olympia at the beginning of November. The Spirit of Christmas brings together over 600 companies hand-picked by House & Garden magazine for their quality and originality.
I will be one of a handful of designer-makers to be featured in the British Designers Gallery, a dedicated area to showcase aspiring new designers at the Fair.
This is a consumer event so I'm looking forward to selling direct to the public which is, after all, one of the best ways of getting feedback on my work. This will be a great opportunity for me to launch my new product lines: I have been wielding my printing squeegees to create a small collection of screenprinted pieces which which I am really excited about. Also on show will be the old favourites such as the Bejewelled Bowl, pictured right.
Read more about the British Designers Gallery on the Spirit of Christmas website by clicking here
September sees a multitude of events happening around the city under the umbrella of the London Design Festival. To coincide with the last day of the Festival, Craft Central are holding a One Day Sale featuring ten UK designers that they have cherry-picked to represent the best in contemporary craft. I will be the only glass designer on show and will be bringing a good selection of work, with all pieces sold at discounted prices of up to 30% off.
Prices will range from £8 for my glass stars (normally £12) which make fantastic Christmas decorations to £165 for a lightbox (which represents a huge £70 saving on the normal price). I'll also be bringing lots of glass butterflies which make great presents under the £25 mark, as well as some gorgeous glass bowls for those who have a bit more to spend on a really special gift. Finally, I'm hoping to show some new product lines which will be on sale at a special introductory price.
The One Day Sale runs from midday to 7pm on Tuesday 23rd September.
For Press Release click here . . . . To download invitation click here
The summer holidays are fast approaching and that will mean a busy programme of teaching. I'm looking forward to teaching the next 'Intricate Surfaces' course at West Dean College in July. This course is always popular and there are no places left this time round, but details of the next one in the Autumn will be coming soon. I also teach a weekly course at BACES in Kilburn Park which comes to an end this week and I'll be running a 2 day taster course for the Summer School in 'Making Bowls and Beads'.
As well as my college teaching, I am now holding private courses for adults and workshops for children (age 8+) at The Glass Studio. This is a great opportunity to learn about glass fusing in the creative atmosphere of a working studio. As groups are smaller than in college courses this is a really intensive learning experience, as well as being a lot of fun.
More details: West Dean . . . .BACES . . . The Glass Studio
This summer my glass will be on show in various galleries. Following hot on the heels of the Spring Collection, the SDC Gallery invited me back to take part in the current exhibition Enchanted, which sees the work of 38 designer-makers (including 6 glass artists) displayed in their Shoreditch space. From Shoreditch to Stafford, the Shire Hall Gallery will be showing a number of my Bollywood Lightboxes (shown left) and Bejewelled Bowls in their new exhibition Inspired by Bollywood, which promises to be an exciting show of all things Bollywood, from vintage posters to costume to film.
Finally the long awaited follow up to the last show by the British Society of Master Glass Painters, the 40cm2 exhibition returns to the Cochrane Gallery in which 75 members of the Society will be showing their glass panels. My panel continues my current obsession with butterflies, and as one of the hanging committee I got a sneak preview of the show so I know that mine are not the only butterflies in the show! This is a fabulous exhibition showing a huge range of styles and techniques which is not to be missed in London before it moves to Ely Cathedral later in the year.
More details for Enchanted here ... for Inspired by Bollywood here ... for 40cm2 here
Pulse 2008 was an interesting experience for me, not least because of the length of the stand I took. Managing a six metre stand on my own for three days was certainly a challenge but it all went swimmingly and the extra space allowed me to set up my stand with more of a gallery look with plinths down the length. Even better, I had space to set up a little work area - what a luxury! The show generally seemed quieter and the dreaded words "credit crunch" were bandied about, however happily my order book was looking healthy by the end of the show.
My new Damascus Rose range of screenprinted bowls, dishes and coasters went down very well (more information about this new range coming soon!). In the show I made a feature of The Butterfly Collector panels and they have now been sent to selected stores from Adelaide, Australia to Florida in the US. A warm welcome to all the new buyers who made orders from me!
For more details of The Butterfly Collector panel click here
Pulse is a trade show being held at Earls Court for the sixth year running which has earned a reputation for being the place to discover brand new suppliers, ideas and talent that simply cannot be seen elsewhere.
This will be my second time showing in the Launchpad area at Pulse, and this time I have taken an extra long stand to showcase Alex R - Glass Art.
I will be displaying my vessels on plinths this time round and making more use of the walls to show lightboxes and glass lighting which have always been part of my product ranges but which I rarely show. I am also hoping to show an exciting new range of screenprinted vessels based around a damask design which will be hot out of the kiln!
Trade buyers should already have received invites to visit me at at my stand (LP34) which is in the Launchpad area.
For more details see www.pulse-london.com
Over two weekends in May (10/11th and 17/18th May) the doors of The Glass Studio will be opened to the public for the first time as part of the Dulwich Festival. As well as the studio, the rest of the house will be open, with rooms on three floors filled with glass. Pieces on show will be mainly from Alex R, but fellow Teepee Glass artists Pippa Stacey, Brett Manley and Maria Fagan will also be exhibiting.
In the studio there will be a myriad display of smaller items including decorative hangings, tiles, coasters and a sale of slight seconds bowls. Ten colourful lightboxes will be casting their light on the staircase to the first floor, where visitors will see installations of glass in two windows. We will be pulling out all the stops and covering every surface in the sitting room with glass bowls and platters, while the walls will show a display of lightboxes and panels.
Hanging in the stairwell to the second floor will be a huge vintage chandelier adorned with some Alex R glass, in keeping with the 1970's architecture of the house. Two bedrooms will be open upstairs: the dark bedroom will show a couple of illuminated sculptural pieces, while the light bedroom will contain an installation of glass butterflies.
10-11 / 17-18 May: 11am-6pm Enjoy a free glass of wine with us. Download tickets here
Even if the weather's not that brilliant this year, summer will be coming to The Glass Studio in the form of more colourful butterflies. I've started developing my popular hanging glass butterflies into a product better suited if you only have wall space. The resulting wall panel, called 'The Butterfly Collector' for obvious reasons. There are three sizes: the small panel displays a single glass butterfly, the medium panel sets three complimentary butterflies together and for those who want to splash a bit of cash on a really special wallpiece there is the large panel with nine butterflies.
Each butterfly I make is totally unique due to the specially designed continuous moulds I use. This means not only will you never get two butterflies which are exactly the same, but the panels will also all be completely individual. The colour combinations can be customised to suit your interior decoration, but usually I make sure that the panels display a mix of colours. Each frame is made from gloss white perspex with a front panel of glass to keep the butterflies clean. I am making wall panels in limited editions of thirty for each size, so order one before they get snapped up!
For more product information on The Butterfy Collector click here
In February I received a last minute invitation to exhibit at Form London, an exciting contemporary art and design show which is now in its second year.
Keen to show my new glass butterflies, I used swathes of sky-blue fabric to create a backdrop. After hours of balancing on a very tall ladder to pin up the fabric, I stood back to admire my efforts only to realise with horror that it was a bit too reminiscent of one of those terrible puffball bridesmaid's dress from the 1980's!! However it all came together once the butterflies were added along with a display of bowls resting on their boxes. One visitor aptly named it 'The Glass Picnic'.
Coincidentally fellow Teepee artists Lucy Batt, Pippa Stacey and Brett Manley had pieces shown at the ZeST and Caira Mandaglio stands... a distinctly Teepee affair!
For more info on Form see www.form-london.com
Top Drawer Spring was fantastically successful for me. My stand was hung from ceiling to floor with hundreds of glass hearts which went down a storm.
Buyers were queuing up to place orders, and over one thousand glass hearts were sent out around the UK in time for the Valentine's Day customers. It is no exaggeration to say I do not want to see another heart... at least until next Valentine's Day!
A company called Pins and Ribbons was on the neighbouring stand and they loved the hearts so much they took a whole load to decorate their house. It just so happens that their home is being featured in Period House Magazine in the next couple of months, so keep an eye out for it!
To purchase glass hearts click here
Top Drawer is the essential trade show for innovative and inspirational design-led products. The Spring Show at Earls Court One will kick off the year's buying from the 13th to the 15th of January.
This will be my third stand at a trade show and I'm hoping it will be as successful as previous displays. I'll be taking a four square metre stand in the Interiors and Home Accesories area to showcase Alex R Glass. As buyers will be out in force looking for last minute products for Valentines Day, I will be making a feature of my bestselling glass hearts.
The walls of my stand will be adorned with literally hundreds of hearts to create a 'Valentine's Grotto' while the central set will be a table for two with Alex R glass bowls, platters and coasters on show.
If you're a trade buyer I look forward to seeing you at my stand (T14) in Home Accessories area near the Spring Bar.For more details see www.topdrawerspring.com
Also on show is a dazzling range of glass from jewellery and bowls to architectural panels. Displayed as it might be seen in a home, the glass is set against Arts and Crafts furniture from Patch Rogers who has curated exhibitions for Liberty of London for many years. Both glass and furniture are for sale.
We are all very excited that the exhibition has been extended by six weeks for a January Glass Sale with 15% off normal prices. There will also be two special evenings of talks on art and glass:
Fri 25 Jan: "Art in Education " Talk by Philippa Tunstill
Fri 1 Feb: "Back to the Bauhaus" Talk by Caroline Swash
For more information see www.teepeeglass.com
Happy New Year 2008 to one and all!
The Glass Studio has been a hive of activity for the last six months in the run up to Christmas with Alex R glass being sent around the UK to both trade and retail customers. A warm welcome to all the new boutiques and galleries which are now stocking my glass - look out for an updated stockist list on my website very soon.
The most exciting event of 2007 was seeing the former prime minister being shown my glass. “The Rise and Fall of Tony Blair” was a documentary broadcast on Channel 4 during Blair’s last week in office. One of his final duties involved a visit to London’s newest hospital, University College Hospital in Euston Road, which is of course where my piece ‘Sundance’ has been installed. He was filmed being shown around the Radiotherapy Department by Julia Solano, the new head of radiotherapy. I have it on good authority that Tony was very impressed with the 'Sundance' piece!
To read more about 'Sundance' download the press release as a pdf here