Glisten and Shine: Glass

Our Curator of Exhibitions, Sonja Kielty has written our most recent blog, talking about an exhibition that was held at Cartwright Hall Art Gallery recently.

She writes

Glass is a versatile and captivating medium, which touches our lives in many ways and brings much pleasure and joy to those who behold, make and design it. The artform is an ancient craft and is also at the forefront of technology. Contemporary Glass Society

Piece by Stephen Foster
Stephen Foster

This small selection of contemporary glass supported talented, new and established makers from the UK. Contemporary glass art can be functional in character or sculptural in essence or both.

Abundant Glass
Abundant Glass

‘Glisten and Shine: Glass’ presented established makers such as Vinegar and Brown Paper, Samantha Yates, Hayley Gammon, Stephen Foster, Abundant Glass and Nick Claiden. Comparing material, style and technique to those makers in Bradford’s own glass collection, which included classical Venetian glass and contemporary works by makers such as Kalim Afzal. Contemporary knitted glass by Catherine Carr sat alongside historical works inspired by the Orient and Far East, in this instance, Iran, by Louis Comfort Tiffany. Peter Layton, Priscilla Morgan-Hill and glass from Lithuania as well as Bohemian Persian perfume bottles also featured.

Samantha Yates
Samantha Yates

Visitors could view the variety of styles and range of techniques of glass by artists, designers and craftspeople.

This selection presented new work demonstrating excellence in design, creative imagination and technical skill alongside the more traditional classical works. Some work was available for purchase supporting makers to establish a strong foundation for their business. Many of these makers appeared, and still do, in the gallery shop.

Vinegar and brown paper
Vinegar and Brown paper

The joy of these small selections in the Cellar Gallery is that they provide an intimate space for new and emerging artists and makers to exhibit their work, perhaps for the first time.  Prices tend to be on a broader affordability level than the more established fine art works in the larger galleries. This creates a gallery space that is almost an extension of the shop but allows schools, visitors and artists to experience a unique experience.

Events were held and offered a variety of opportunities for visitors and artist alike, whether it be networking, workshop activities or talks.

The contemporary makers were invited to a launch alongside other exhibitions in the gallery in which they had over 500 guests to network. The regular Responses to Art sessions provided an open to the public day to which up to 20 attendees were able to attend a bespoke drawing session with a local artist, taking inspiration from the glass on show. These sessions are a full day of exclusive learning, experiencing and meeting artists and new work via temporary exhibitions. Look out for them on What’s On section.


From the Visitors

‘Absolutely love the glasswork, glorious!’

‘Amazing glass work, love the Venetian glass from 1900’

‘Beautiful glass, so interesting’

‘V. clever ideas’


‘Just brilliant’

‘Beautiful and though provoking’

‘Stephen Foster pools, out of this world!’

‘Great glass, nice to see the Tiffany vase and the Oranges…bowl’

‘Great wee display – thanks!  Especially the crochet glass!!’

‘Sculptures worth smiling for – keep it up!’

‘The glass vessels are amazing!’

Many thanks to the makers who featured in the exhibition and credit goes to the Decorative Art Collection in which the historical and some contemporary glass belongs for Bradford.

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