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Clackmannanshire Council Online

Contemporary Art Features in Glass Exhibition

Published on:


September 2010

The exhibition, 'Glass at the Glass Works: a Celebration of Glassmaking', includes a remarkable range of contemporary glass made by graduates of Edinburgh College of Art and established professional makers.

The exhibition is showing until 30th September at O-I Manufacturing UK Limited and commemorates the 400th anniversary of the start of commercial glassmaking in Scotland in 1610. It looks at glassmaking through the centuries and the story of the Alloa Glass Works, which now operates as O-I Manufacturing UK Limited, which has been working on the same site since it was founded in the 18th century.

Julia Malle, Alan Horsley and Graeme Thyer are all postgraduates of Edinburgh College of Art. Julia specialises in a technique called flameworking, lampworking or scientific glassblowing. Her work is concerned with exploring the tension between reality and representation as well as mapping and map-making techniques.

Alan Horsley uses glass as the medium through which to realise a collection of relics from a dark, baroque world of conflict and confinement. Alan harnesses the transparency of glass to create sculptures where the physical form blends with a complex and dynamic inner dimension of light and energy.

Graeme Thyer is inspired by the natural world. He wants his glass vessels to help people understand themselves a little better. Focussing on the simple bowls used in the ritual of the Japanese tea ceremony, he has reflected on how humans drank before they invented vessels, just using their cupped hands to raise water from a stream to their mouths.

Elin Isaksson creates blown and cast glass pieces. Her work is elegant, fluid and organic. The glass stretches and pulls as it is allowed to drop and it swiftly forms into delicate simple shapes in stunning colours. The bottles and jug shown in the exhibition were mouth-blown especially on 4th September during the Doors Open Days event.

Jill Conlan of the Newfangled Glass Company specialises in contemporary architectural stained glass, kiln-formed glass tiles, splashbacks and glass appliqué. Every piece is an original art work designed and made by Jill Conlan. 'Look Aboot Ye' is an example of a technique called 'glass appliqué' and was inspired by her memories of the beautiful peacocks which once roamed freely in the gardens of Greenfield House.

Eric Hilton is an internationally acclaimed glass artist. He studied glass design at Edinburgh College of Art and glass-blowing at Stourbridge, and later taught there, as well as at Edinburgh College of Art. In the 1970s he moved to North America via Canada and joined Steuben, the art division of Corning Glass based in upper New York State, where he now lives. He has worked for Steuben for many years and his work, produced in limited editions or unique pieces, is highly sought after.

Councillor Bobby McGill, depute leader, said "We are delighted that the exhibition is showcasing work by contemporary glass artists. Their sculptures demonstrate the amazing potential and flexibility of glass and we are very pleased that they have taken part in the exhibition."

The exhibition is being shown through the generosity of O-I Manufacturing UK Limited, which has also arranged daily tours of the Glass Works throughout the exhibition. The factory is in Glasshouse Loan, Alloa, FK10 1PD.

The exhibition continues until 30th September and will be open at the following times:
Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday 12noon until 5pm
*Guided tours of the glass works at 1.30pm and 3pm
Tuesday and Thursday 12noon until 7pm
*Guided tours of the glass works at 1.30pm and 5.30pm
All visitors must report to the Gatehouse
Visitors with mobility difficulties should note, however, that it is being shown on an upper floor to which there is no lift access.
Closed Sundays

The guided tours must be booked in advance as numbers are limited and subject to availability. All visitors must report to the Gatehouse. Stout footwear and sensible clothing must be worn and extra protective clothing will be issued. The tours are not suitable for young children (under 10) and people with mobility difficulties.

For more information and to book tours please contact Susan Mills on 01259 216913 or email