Welcome back to the Creative Awards London blog where we continue our on-going series of talks with leading artists and design firms who have worked with us. In today’s news entry, we speak with artist, designer and founder of the London Glassblowing Studio and Gallery, Peter Layton. Throughout his career, Peter has been courted by major art institutions, commercial buyers and private collectors. His work is held in various museums in the UK, Europe and America, including the London’s V&A Museum and the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge.
Peter, thank you for taking the time to sit down with us. Tell us about London Glassblowing Studio & Gallery.
London Glassblowing is one of Europe's leading glassmaking studios. We've been going for over 40 years, having started in 1976. We have been called a Creative Hub, due to the glassmaking activities we do. I have a team of amongst the best glass artists in the UK to assist me in the making of my work and I also, in turn, provide the facility for them to pursue their own creative practice. We also have a gallery, where our work is sold, as well as other invited guest artists.
It seems that not only does your studio produce work but also forms an important creative hub for artists. With a rich selection supported by the gallery, how do you choose which artists to take on?
Many of our resident artists have worked with me for many years and they have developed their own artistic direction in contemporary glass. They have each developed their own distinctive style, using a range of glassmaking techniques. We also invite both established and emerging glass artists to exhibit with us. We aim to show the very best and we look at all available work in this light.
How do technology and tradition come together within glassblowing?
Glassblowing is a very ancient craft and the basic skills of glassblowing have remained the same for centuries. However, we are continually looking and experimenting with new techniques to apply colour or to achieve something different in form.
How can someone who is interested in glassblowing get started?
All the glass artists who work at our studio, with very few exceptions, started with a degree in glass, so this is the best start. A number of them also have a Masters degree, which they have undertaken later on in their careers. It is not an easy path into glassblowing. Even after achieving a degree, gaining workshop experience is essential, but not easily available because there are relatively few opportunities to work in established studios. The costs of running a studio are extremely high and are therefore prohibitive, so the possibility of starting up is very difficult.
What trends within the industry have your attention for 2020?
We are primarily a glassblowing studio, but we are always looking for diversity. One trend that is happening in the UK is in kiln-casting glass, and achieving very different effects through cutting and polishing; adding reflections and refractions within the glass.
On behalf of the team at Creative Awards London we would like to thank Peter and the London Glassblowing Studio & Gallery for kindly answering our questions. For more information on the studio, visit LINK and, for those interested in trying glassblowing, have a look at their range of glassblowing courses.