The makers pushing the boundaries of the medium
Glass art will have a stronger presence than ever at this year’s Collect fair – held at London's Somerset House from 27 February to 1 March – with a younger generation challenging its limitations and scale. Here are five innovative artists to look out for at the event, selected by Crafts magazine (discover more in its January / February issue).
At the North Lands Creative stand, the Romanian artist will be showing some of her astonishing sculptural pieces, in which recycled glass is fused with materials such as metal. Her powerfully emotional work, exploring fragility, grace and violence, pushes the very limits of what is conventionally beautiful. ‘Giving another chance to glass objects that were considered trash fascinates me,’ she says.
Showing with London Glassblowing, Danish artist Morten Klitgaard is among the new generation of artists pushing the limits of glass as a material. His beautiful, heavily worked and distressed pieces have a surface patina as complex as ceramic, achieved by applying different oxides during the last heating.
Exhibiting with London’s Vessel Gallery, Elliot Walker makes exquisitely refined narrative still-life pieces using a technique called massello. At Collect, he will present the largest artwork he has made to date, inspired by Dutch paintings, which will include bottles, jugs, bowls and lobsters, modelled in clear glass. ‘The pieces are not cast, carved or ground into shape, but modelled from a cooling liquid so that until the very last second the sculpture is a moving, living entity, frozen in time as the glass sets,’ he says.
Bullseye Projects will show the work of Anne Petters, who uses a technique, based on pâte de verre, for shaping glass while in the kiln into diaphanous rippled sheets similar to paper, with marks like writing on them made using a type of frit. ‘The frit looks like ice. And my work is quite conceptual. It is about freezing thoughts,’ Petters says. ‘A lot of my work is about freezing ephemeral moments, wanting to have control.’
Laura Quinn will be present some of her spectacular wearables: she marries glass to materials such as metal or off-cuts of leather to create dramatic, flexible and eminently functional jewellery. ‘I want people to touch it, to not be frightened of glass,’ says the artist, who will also be exhibiting with North Lands Creative. ‘I was trying to push through the psychological barrier that glass is too fragile to wear or handle – that it has to be put on a shelf to gather dust.’ In creating objects that invite emotional attachment and resist our unthinking, throwaway culture, these works fit in with her wider interest in reducing the environmental impact of glasswork.