Glass is made by melting together several minerals at very high temperatures. Silica in the form of sand is the main ingredient and this is combined with soda ash and limestone and melted in a furnace at temperatures of 1700°C. Other materials can be added to produce different colours or properties.
The history of glassmaking can be traced back to 3500 BC in Mesopotamia. Archaeological evidence suggests that the first true glass was made in coastal north Syria, Mesopotamia or Ancient Egypt. Glass in the Anglo-Saxon period was used in the manufacture of a range of objects including vessels, beads, windows and was even used in jewellery.
Apart from it's practical uses, glass can be manipulated in many forms and technological advances have come a long way in over 5,000 years, however many of the same techniques are still used today. There are now many glass artists that produce decorative items and jewellery, and none more so than here in North Devon and North Cornwall.
We are proud here at West Gallery to have some of the best exponents of decorative glassware in the South West like Greg Anston-Race, Charlotte Rains and Margaret Johnson, who all approach glass in a totally different way. Greg combines the functional with the aesthetic producing stunning bowls, coasters, mirrors and many creative pieces using a fusion process. Charlotte (or Lotti) creates exquisite jewellery using lampwork and achieves simply stunning designs that echo the sea at her studio on the North Cornish coast. Whereas, Margaret Johnson uses straw silk fibre and precious metal foils to create vivid colours and textures with her Atlantic inspired fish shoal designs.
All of these glass designers pay individual attention to each piece, many of them unique one-off creations, and are at the pinnacle of their profession. It stands to reason, therefore, that people who buy their work are discerning and appreciate the quality and workmanship that goes in to them.
What better gift could you give than something beautifully designed, handmade and unique. Something to treasure for ever, perhaps another 5,000 years, who knows? Click on any of the images below to find out more and see what else they have created. But remember, many of them are one-offs, so when they are gone they are gone.
There, that was all very informative, wasn't it? Quite unlike me!