But is there tension between the two, or are they perfect partners?
These challenges and opportunities for glass art are the theme of a national conference organised by the Contemporary Glass Society (CGS). Glass skills: exploring the fusion of art and technique is being held on October 12 and 13 at National Glass Centre at the University of Sunderland.
“The debate couldn’t be more timely” says Victoria Scholes, the Chair of CGS. “Times may be hard, and there’s no doubt that traditional skills-based industries are in decline. But at the same time, creativity is a resource in which we are rich, and creative skills increasingly valued.”
The CGS conference will bring together leading artists and glass specialists to give their own perspectives to the question of art and technique.
Finnish artist and designer Markku Salo is, for example, always looking for new ways to express the artistic quality of glass as a material, but sees technique as only a tool rather than something that outranks the content. Dr Jack Dawson, an expert on Scandinavian glass, is interested in the creative dynamic in the working relationship between artists and the glass industry.
Luke Jerram brings together and collaborates with specialist teams of engineers, craftsmen and technicians to help him realise his works – from composers to glassblowers, medieval musicologists to hot air balloonists. In this way, he says, he is “only limited by my imagination in what can be produced. Anything is possible”.
Diane Peacock studied fine art at Sheffield and the Slade, and is now working on a PhD looking at creativity in the context of UK education policy. She’s especially interested in the negative impact of successive policies on students and teachers and in possibilities for averting further damage.
Other speakers include Keke Cribb, Wendy Fairclough and Geoff Mann and, in the exciting Glass Pechakucha, 20 glass artists will present and talk about their work in quick-fire succession. There will also be seminars on architectural glass and presenting work to galleries, plus demonstrations of printing on glass, flameworking, hot glass and water jet cutting.
Glass skills: exploring the fusion of art and technique is part of the CGS Glass Skills 2013 programme – a whole year of exhibitions, events and workshops that highlight the part glassmakers play in keeping ancient skills alive, and in adapting them to create innovative and original art for today.
For more details about the conference and Glass Skills, including how conference participants can opt to take part in the Pechakucha, visit www.cgs.org.uk.
For high resolution images contact Victoria Scholes at firstname.lastname@example.org
Image captions: Markku Salo, Koira; Keke Cribbs, Bateau Rustique; Wendy Fairclough, Aquiescence
Notes to the editor
The Contemporary Glass Society (CGS) is widely regarded as the foremost organisation in the UK for promoting and encouraging cutting edge glass and glass-makers within the wider art world.
National Glass Centre
National Glass Centre is the UK’s centre for national excellence in glass, supporting research, teaching, production, exhibition and enjoyment of contemporary glass. Visitors can learn how to make glass, watch glass being made, view exhibitions inspired by glass and find out about Sunderland’s links with this extraordinary material.