19 June – 3 April 2022

Collections Gallery

About the exhibition

Taking an item that has already served one purpose and using it to create something new can add depth, history and human connection to the new object being made. This approach is not only positive in environmental terms, but it can also alter how we consider re-purposed objects, often elevating them above the value they held in their original life. This exhibition presents work by a number of artists who work with items made in glass and ceramics. In different ways they each re-purpose objects that have been broken, used, discarded or previously seen as a waste product.

Re-Purpose consists of works from National Glass Centre’s collection and loans from the Victoria & Albert Museum (V&A), North Lands Creative and individual artists. The exhibition supports DesignLab Nation, the V&A’s National Schools Programme which aims to inspire the next generation of designers and expand the reach of the V&A collections. The programme brings together secondary schools in partnership with regional museums, artists, designers and the V&A to engage students and support teachers through in-depth design projects.

About the artists

Neil Brownsword

She Wants Your Junk – 1999

Neil Brownsword is an artist who grew up in Stoke on Trent at a time when the Potteries were going into decline.  He is known for creating new work from the waste created by the Potteries, regenerating these found objects into new sculpture.

Victoria and Albert Museum, London (V&A: C.66-2002)

Gésine Hackenberg

Kitchen Necklace – 2008

This is one of a series of artworks by jeweller Gésine Hackenberg. A new necklace has been made from an old plate. The piece is so beautifully made that the remaining plate has a new beauty in itself as well as being a place to keep the necklace when it is not being worn.

Victoria and Albert Museum, London (V&A: C.228:1,2-2009)

Helen Pailing

Stitched – 2018

Untitled – 2017

Workshop Assemblage #72 – 2016

Untitled – 2017

Helen Pailing works to recraft materials destined for landfill in order to acknowledge their value. In 2019, based at National Glass Centre, Helen completed a PhD concentrating on recrafting waste materials into sculptural objects, architectural interventions and installations. The work displayed in this exhibition uses the waste glass created by Wearside Glass who are based on the ground floor of this building.

Victoria and Albert Museum, London (V&A: C.1-2021, V&A: C.4-2021, V&A: C.3-2021, V&A: C.2-2021)

Alexandra Muresan

Incomode Reconciliation – 2019

Alexandra Muresan is an award-winning artist and lecturer at the Ceramic and Glass Department within the University of Art and Design, Cluj-Napoca in Romania. Alexandra has a background which combines an understanding of philosophy and glass and a particular interest in using recycled materials as part of her practice.

North Lands Creative, Lybster, Scotland

Juli Bolanos-Durman

Ave del Paraíso – 2019

Beehive Ginger – 2019

Anturio – 2019

Juli Bolaños-Durman is an Edinburgh based artist who is originally from Costa Rica. The three pieces displayed are from Juli’s Wild Flower collection. Each ‘flower’ is made by combining found pieces of glass which are then transformed to create a new and beautiful object.

Ave del Paraíso –  National Glass Centre Collection. Beehive Ginger and Anturio – loaned by the artist.

Tord Boontje and Emma Woffenden

Vase 2

Double Vase

Long Stem Vase

Cut Vase



Designed 1997, made before 2010

Tord Boontje and Emma Woffenden created the first pieces from their Transglass range in 1997 repurposing wine bottles to make items including vases, carafe’s, drinking glasses and candleholders. Since 2005 Transglass has been produced in Guatemala City in a newly created workshop where young people learn the skills of glass making with many becoming experts in cutting and polishing.

National Glass Centre Collection

Amber Cowan

Ring And Eye Topiary #1 – 2018

Amber Cowan is an artist based in the United States of America. She works with historic American pressed glass which she re-works using a technique called lamp-work. This approach allows the artist to heat glass using a gas fuelled torch. Once the glass softens with the heat, the artist can manipulate it into the desired shape.

Heller Gallery

Bridget Harvey

Sides To Middle – Since 2014 – Ongoing Series

Bridget Harvey is a London based artist who uses craft to add meaning to everyday objects particularly through her approaches to repair

Loaned by the Artist

Image gallery

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