Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Glass Collaborations win sales for West Midlands designer-makers

Post by Adrian Burns

Throughout 2010, Interiors & Lifestyle Futures has worked closely with West Midlands’ designer-makers. A key partner is Glass Collaborations, whose aims include one of pursuing ‘new business opportunities for regional makers through networking and transnational collaborations.’

Made In Glass, with financial support from Interiors & Lifestyle Futures, was an initiative to create successful partnerships between glass makers and designers in the West Midlands with others in the UK and in the European Union and America.

Vase collaboration by Denise Hunt, Erwin Eisch and Verity Jasmin Burley
Denise Hunt, one of the driving forces of Glass Collaborations, partnered North East based Verity Jasmin Burley and German glass art pioneer Erwin Eisch. “This is an experimental, shared risk, which allowed artists to think in an unfamiliar way and achieve unexpected results. More often than not artistically liberating, on occasions, frustratingly crippling. Without doubt though, it is a unique experience.”

Nineteen artists planned their collaborations, in detail, via email and a web-based forum. They then spent week-long residences at Stourbridge’s Red House Glass Cone, solving logistical and artistic issues for the new pieces. “Equipment limitations actually forced us to innovate,” says Stourbridge-based glass artist Charlotte Hughes- Martin who teamed up with Lachezar Dochev from Bulgaria. “We developed a technique that no one has used before, we’re really excited.”

Table by Charlotte Hughes- Martin & Lachezar Dochev
Finished work was shown at the Made In Glass exhibition together with individual pieces by The Next Big Thing group of artists. Together, their work also formed part of the International Festival of Glass 2010, exhibited at venues in the Stourbridge area from July until the end of September 2010.

As of late September, the West Midlands artists and those from the Next Big Thing had achieved sales of over £9,000, attracting buyers and art collectors from England, Scotland, Ireland, Belgium, Germany, and Canada.