The Glassmakers Dance
The Ruskin Glass Centre is situated in Stourbridge’s historic glass quarter; located within the industrial heartland of the West Midlands; on the site of the former Webb Corbett/Royal Doulton glass factory. It is also the site where the British Glass Biennale exhibition and the International Glass Festival are hosted.
The Ruskin Glass Centre Ltd is a subsidiary of the Ruskin Mill Educational Trust, a charity pioneering in specialist education for young people with learning difficulties. The Trust promotes culture, arts and special needs education within the context of social regeneration and is inspired by the ideas of John Ruskin, William Morris and Rudolf Steiner.
In the early days of planning the International Festival of Glass, it was recognised that there was an urgent need for an exhibition that would expose the state of affairs in the UK based glass world. As most artists work within confines of their own studios, it is often hard to know what is going on outside of that environment, or even how many makers there are throughout the country. The exhibition would be an opportunity to demonstrate a regular snapshot or ‘slice of now’.
The British Glass Biennale was set up to be a part of the inaugural International Festival of Glass in 2004. Prior to this show, there had been no major review of the British glass scene since 1993 Crafts Council touring exhibition ‘The Glass Show’ (a retrospective of 30 years of studio art glass) (– see Andrew Brewerton essay in 2004 catalogue.) The British Glass Biennale was to show ‘the pulse of recent achievement in contemporary British glass, and to display this wide range of creativity‘.
Each British Glass Biennale is a landmark juried exhibition of contemporary glass by artists working and living in the UK and working in glass. The 2004 Biennale displayed the work of 80 artists, in 2006 101 artists were selected, and in 2008 the work of 81 artists were exhibited, including 11 students.
Artists submit work for selection that has to have been made in the last two years and be available to purchase. Makers have to be living and working the UK for the last two years – i.e. showing a commitment to being based in Britain. Each jury consists of five panel members selected from a range of backgrounds. Each British Glass Biennale features a completely new jury. The juries view all the images anonymously, judging each piece on its own merit. The objective is to give each contributing artist an equal opportunity to have work selected and create as level a playing field for all artists as possible.
The Biennale does not aim to establish an historical survey but to take the pulse of the current British glass scene; to observe, reflect and catalogue trends and influences emerging each year. It also aims to put makers in the UK on an international platform, and celebrate what is being achieved in this country with glass.
Keith Brocklehurst: Co - Director of the International Festival of Glass Natasha George: Co - Director of the International Festival of Glass
Michelle Keeling: British Glass Biennale, Exhibition Organiser & Curator Gemma Truman: British Glass Biennale, Assistant Curator
The winners of the People’s Prize 2012 have been announced, with joint winners Graham Muir and Matt Hayes receiving equal votes.Read More...
The winners of six awards were announced at the Private View and Awards Ceremony of the British Glass Biennale on the 23rd August.Read More...
You can now follow the British Glass Biennale on Twitter. Follow @GlassBiennale for up to date information about the exhibition and artists.Read More...
You can now follow the International Festival of Glass on Facebook. For regular updates and a place to share your experiences of the Festival, search for ’International Festival of Glass...Read More...
The masterclasses which form the start of the International Festival of Glass will run from 20th August until 24th August 2012. The International Festival of Glass website is currently being...Read More...