This year’s annual exhibition was held at Peter Potter Gallery in Haddington East Lothian. The gallery nestles between the picturesque St Mary’s Church and the River Tyne. It’s a small but bright gallery space with a large window to the front and a great café upstairs; historically this building used to be the town’s fire station.
Like last year’s exhibition, the committee decided on an open submission format and our members were allowed to exhibit a maximum of two pieces. We themed the exhibition ‘Endeavour’ hoping that it would inspire artists; they could draw on the recent Commonwealth Games held in Glasgow in July. The word Endeavour captures the spirit of the games, but also that of artists and craftspeople who, like athletes, strive to do their best in their chosen medium, pushing its boundaries and testing their skills.
There were 20 Members exhibiting 28 pieces in total. We received a varied selection of work ranging from lamp-work, stained glass, painted and etched pieces to kiln fused and wall mounted, from recent graduates to accomplished glass makers. This year, there seemed to be many small pieces in the exhibition as lots of artists posted their work directly to the gallery.
One of the most fragile looking pieces posted (it was very well wrapped!) was Ian Pearson’s ‘Church in old St Peters’, which consisted of many small figures, constructed into a delicate church shape. This piece, well admired, cast many great shadows across the wall. Sarah Marshall created an installation piece in the gallery which incorporated neon work that she had made recently at North Lands and included found material from the gallery surround. Inge Panneel’s wall mounted glass diptych relates to the map of the world, it depicts the air traffic routes reflecting the increase of speed of travel and communication.
Scotland’s political situation was reflected in Siobhan Healy’s mixed media piece called ‘Harebell’. It contained a lamp worked glass harebell; a symbol which she feels reflects the fragile nature of Scotland’s situation at present. Elke Westen’s work was also inspired by the referendum, two large glass domes each containing natural material displayed in upright glass tubes reflecting the individuals striving for new heights.
Several works were inspired by animal themes. Junko Eager’s glass was a fun piece about a human playing a duet with a cat. It contained etched hands and paws hovering over a cast glass keyboard. Liz Cull’s kilned glass Magpies were ‘endeavouring’ to pull a worm from the grass while Wilma Mackenzie’s beautiful detailed engraving of a finch adorned a Dartington glass vase. Roz McKenzie’s multiple cartoon-style piece, told of the story of how she dealt with a queen wasp when she was at Derix Glass studios in Germany. Judith Glennie’s painterly panels focused on a salmon making its way upstream to spawn and the flight of a dragonfly across a river. Caro Barlow’s stained glass work reflected the flight of the swallows realised in traditional glass and enamel paint.
Water also played a major theme in several of the artists’ work, Emma Butler-Cole Aiken’s fused piece was inspired by the dramatic landscape of the Western Norwegian Fjords and Catherine Lowe’s work based on the river Clyde; a triptych of glass fused panels where the river meanders through each connecting the three panels. Jessamy Kelly’s glass was inspired by natural repeating forms, created by casts from the sand along the North Berwick coast.
Kate Henderson’s abstract piece called ‘chaos’ was based on her endeavours to find the balance between family and work. Contrasted with Lin Carruther’s serene and delicate piece which reminded me of a Marquette for a larger architectural work. Gemma Leamy’s piece called ‘Transitions’ represents the boundary between control and chance contained a series of circular discs balanced on fine glass stands.
There were two figurative pieces in the exhibition, one made by Anita Pate whose piece explores the world through pattern, texture and form and contrasting qualities in the design and materials with kilned glass. While Stephen Richard exhibited two very personal poignant pieces in stained glass based on his early life experiences.
The Tunnock’s prize for the most original piece of glass in the exhibition was presented to new member Susan Ratliff for her piece called ‘Time Honoured’ This work contained a found object (a rusty trowel head) and was set in with a delicate handle created in hot glass, she says that “this piece reflects the journey from apprentice to master. Whatever the tools of our trade,… this piece celebrates their part in our success” Thanks to Ian Baillie a ceramicist based in East Lothian who was our judge, Susan received a crystal glass donated by Tunnock’s (with an engraved teacake on it!) plus £100 from the society.
We also have a catalogue from the exhibition with an image from each artist and artist’s statement, biographies and contact details. It’s available to purchase through the website or from the committee.
I would like to thank the members for taking the time to create work for this exhibition and their continued support for the society.