The Crafts Council's Breathtaking blown glass breezes in to Bilston Craft Gallery

By Laura Burgess | 08 February 2011
Joanna Manousis, Inverted Vanitas, 2010© Nick Moss
Exhibition: Breath Taking, Bilston Craft Gallery, Wolverhampton, until March 19 2011

A new Crafts Council show at Bilston Craft Gallery reveals a contemporary approach to an age-old process.

Breath Taking presents a new wave in British glass blowing by displaying innovative glasswork by 22 UK makers.

Visitors will discover an eclectic mix of conceptual and non-functional forms of glass and motifs including a hand-grenade, a model of a futuristic apartment-block and wind instruments.
Glass Chandelier
Chandelier, Ben Walters, 2010 © Nick Moss
Joanna Manousis’ Reaching an Ulterior Realm displays what looks like three helium-mounted targets fired at by arrows. Of course they are not as light as expected because they are made out of heavy, solidified blown glass.

Kate Williams’ In the Same Breath and Airbourne are replicas of wind instruments that have been flame-worked, allowing the two to be played to create music.

The hand-grenade, Picking Daises 2 by Layne Rowe is an obvious symbol of war and politics that has been turned into a beautifully crafted fragile object. The glass daisies offer a symbol of peace.

El Ultimo Grito’s Apartments is an imaginary architectural form created from repurposed scientific glass products. The pieces look like they have come straight from the laboratory but on closer inspection they are revealed to be models of futuristic glass apartments.

There is also a film by Federico Urdaneta exploring the work and practice of Elaine Sheldon and Dominic Cooney. At their converted chapel SheldonCooney produce blown glass by energy from their two wind turbines, sourcing packaging locally and living on-site.
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