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Museum in the Park hosts world-class glassmaking exhibition

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An exhibition of work by world-class glassmakers opens at Stroud’s Museum in the Park tomorrow, May 1st.

A Thread of Light, is an exhibition bringing together the work of nine leading British glass artists, joined by two renowned international artists. Collectively their work can be found in the collections of more than 75 museums worldwide.

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Some of the artists exhibiting at the ‘A Thread of Light’ exhibition at Stroud’s Museum in the Park (from left): Bruno Romanelli, Richard Jackson, Angela Jarman, Sally Fawkes, Fiaz Elson, Colin Reid and Joseph Harrington. Picture: Matt Bigwood.

The work is all kiln cast glass, a process where glass is melted at high temperatures in a kiln and flows into a mould. It is then cooled and subsequently ground and polished.

It may not be immediately obvious why a major exhibition of world-class glassmakers, originally curated for Liuli museums in Taipei, Taiwan and Shanghai, should choose Stroud for its second outing.

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Stroud artist Fiaz Elson with her pieces ‘Horus’ (left) and ‘Bridging Light’. Picture: Matt Bigwood.

The simple answer is that five of the featured artists, Colin Reid, Sally Fawkes, Richard Jackson, Karen Browning and Fiaz Elson are all based in and around Stroud. The connecting figure in this group is Colin Reid, not only an extraordinary artist in his own right, but as a mentor and inspiration to a generation of makers.

Colin Reid’s New Mills workshop in the Slad Valley provides the centre of gravity for the show, the studio in which the emerging practices of Angela Jarman, Bruno Romanelli, and Joseph Harrington were in turn also mentored by Reid, himself a student of Keith Cummings in the 1970s. New work by Keith Cummings, now in his 80’s, also features alongside two works by Loretta H Yang and Chang Yi, pioneers of Asian studio glass who founded Liuligongfang in 1987.

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Guests at the exhibition preview, framed by Colin Reid’s ‘Open Eye R2029’. Picture: Matt Bigwood.

As Andrew Brewerton’s catalogue essay for the show, notes, ‘That which is significant internationally always has its home address in some locality’. A Thread of Light will be an opportunity to see a diverse range of practices by an outstanding group of artists working in this distinctive medium close to the locality of its making.

A Thread of Light is dedicated to Chang Yi, who sadly died in 2020 whilst the exhibition was being shown in Shanghai.

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