Exhibition celebrates National Glass Centre’s place in Global Glass Community

SUNDERLAND’S place in the international network of artists working in glass is celebrated in a new exhibition at National Glass Centre (NGC).

Glass World, which opens this Saturday (October 14), presents a range of objects created by artists from, or based, in countries ranging from Canada to New Zealand and Argentina to Japan.

Many of the exhibits have been made at NGC by international visiting artists, academics and graduates from University of Sunderland who have gone on to work in other countries.

Peter Bremers, Metamorphosis 45, 2001. Presented by Hans and Nicola Eggerstedt with Art Fund support. Photo: David Williams

Julia Stephenson, Head of Arts at NGC, said: “We’re delighted to be presenting an exhibition of work created by glass artists from such a wide range of countries. Many of the pieces have been created here in Sunderland, or the artists involved will have a connection with NGC.

“Glass World reflects NGC’s place within the global glass community and our networks. The exhibition is about internationalism rather than nationalism, so work is being shown in relation to the country where the artist’s practice has had the greatest influence, rather than just their country of birth or current residence.

“Some of the artists have strong connections with two or three countries – or even continents. For instance, Sam Herman was a pioneer of the Studio Glass movement in the United States, Britain and Australia and directly and indirectly influenced many of the next generation of artists working in glass.”

The artwork on display comes from NGC’s own prestigious collection and many pieces have characteristics certain countries are known for.

Julia explained: “There are geographic distinctions such as the work of Göran Wärff of Sweden and Oiva Toikka of Finland, who both designed for production rather than focusing on one-off pieces, an established approach in both countries.

“Martin Janecký’s skill in sculpting hot glass reflects the Czech investment in glass education from an early age, while the pieces by Archimede Seguso stands as a monument to the skills in hot glass handed down over centuries on the island of Murano in Italy.

“One thing that unites all of the artworks is quality and it’s an exhibition we’re proud to present.”

Glass World is one of three exhibitions currently showing at NGC. The other two are The Bernard Lloyd Collection (some of which is included in Glass World), shown in the Collection Gallery, and along the balcony, and a collection of work from University of Sunderland graduate Hassina Khan, who has an exhibition of her work in NGC’s Research Gallery.

The Bernard Lloyd Collection also has a geographical element, as Julia explained: “The exhibition allows us to see the progress of the Studio Glass Movement like a world map with flight paths from one country to another. For example, it shows how Italian glass makers working in family businesses dating back generations, inspired American artists and the influence of American practice on British Studio Glass.”

Earlier this year Hassina was awarded the Glass Society Prize 2023, which allowed her to complete a residency at National Glass Centre. During this time she made Past and Future, an artwork exploring what we lose when someone close to us dies.

Hassina said: “It was inspired by losing my father at the age of 14 – and with him all of the connections to half of my heritage and culture.”

All three exhibitions are free and will be on display at NGC until March 10 next year. For more information, go to www.nationalglasscentre.com

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