Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Inspired by glass...

On Thursday evening I had the privilege to be among a small audience as four artists in residence from Northlands Creative Glass told us of their journey as glass workers and how they have spent their time in Caithness.

As each speaker had a different take on glass and what it meant to them, so each piece that we were shown fit into their work as an artist in an individual way. The one thing that struck me was that each of the four glass-makers had travelled the globe in the search for knowledge, working with other makers and sharing techniques, and will probably continue to do so. Glass is definitely not a lonely pursuit.

During a question and answer session there was a very interesting comparison made. Glass working was likened to modern day alchemy and in order to understand glass and allow its creative properties to be unleashed, the artist has to perfectly balance the four elements. Without all the elements being finely balanced the glass can be unstable and brittle.

The four artists were Veronika Beckh, Holly Grace, Clayton Hufford and Edison Osorio Zapata.

Veronika makes amazing glass, working with light and form that is captivating. 

(c) Veronika Beckh

Holly takes inspiration from her surroundings and has created some lovely bottle canvases

(c) Holly Grace

Clayton uses his glass in a very technical way, taking everyday items and creating them in glass.

(c) Clayton Hufford

Edison specialises in installations, his glass rod creations are amazing and his fluency in many languages is transformed by glass rollers.

(c) Edison Osorio Zapata

I am fascinated by glass, but have only managed to make it a few times. I would love to make more, but so far I’ve only managed a fish and a glass block, although I must admit that I enjoyed the block making immensely and am proud of the result…even if I have no way of displaying it (it’s been stuck in a kitchen drawer since I made it two years ago!)

(c) Sara Donaldson
 Yes, I know...this is my attempt, but at least I tried ;)

These amazing people, through a talk that lasted less than two hours, have inspired me to do more artistic stuff. Although I have a love/hate relationship with Caithness, seeing it through the eyes of others has made me realise that I tend to take the landscape for granted. Caithness is blessed with Northlands, an internationally acclaimed glass centre that attracts amazing artists from all over the world, one day I’ll get to go on another course.

Ok, I could wax lyrical forever. I love glass, it is tactile, neither completely solid nor liquid and can be made into virtually any form. What do you think about this wonderful material?

Why not visit these websites and have a look at the work of these brilliant people.



  1. Thanks, Sara. Posted this for my fans on FB and on my blog as inspiration for creatives. Beautiful work!

  2. Glad you like it Joanne....please take a look through the artists websites, their work really is amazing, but hearing them talk really brings across their passion.

    I especially like Holly's work :)

  3. Wow gorgeous stuff - and I love yours too Sara - looking fwd to seeing more of your creations


  4. Its amazing isnt it. Glass is just so tactile, and erm...amazing :)

    Thanks for the compliment on mine..I'd love to do more but its SO expensive.

    Hope you're all better now xxx

  5. I love glass, this is great.

    You've answered my last question about Caithness. I have no idea what it's like there but I love Scotland xx

  6. The fact that one of the most important glass studios is up here was a total shock years ago when I found it!

    I live about 20 miles west of John o Groats, just outside the town of Thurso. I'll probably put up some photos so everyone can see what the place is like. It's basically the total opposite of London. ...in fact..I'll make that my next blog :)
    S xx