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Talented Glass Artists Raise Money To Support Britain’s Glass-blowing Heritage

The Midlands have long had a history of engineering and manufacture and for one industry in particular this area was regarded as having the finest craftsmen in the world – that industry was glass-blowing. Since the 17th century the glass-blowing industry has had it’s roots in Stourbridge, reaching the peak of it’s advancement between 1850 and 1900 when it was regarded as the Mecca of glass-making. Since then the industry has been sadly in decline but it has left behind a legacy of fine glass in collections all over the world. One of these collections is the one held by the Broadfield House Glass Museum which has one of the finest holdings of 18th, 19th and 20th century glass in the world. This stunning collection includes examples from every major period of glass production in the country with the highlight being the collection of cameo glass, the speciality of the Stourbridge factories at the end of the 19th century.

Platinum Sphere in Black and Silver by Allister Malcolm. Photography by Simon Bruntnell

Platinum Sphere in Black and Silver by Allister Malcolm. Photography by Simon Bruntnell

Shell Work by Allister Malcolm. Photography by Simon Bruntnell

Shell Work by Allister Malcolm. Photography by Simon Bruntnell

Mermaid Vases by Allister Malcolm. Photography by Allister Malcolm.

Mermaid Vases by Allister Malcolm. Photography by Allister Malcolm.

Mermaid Paperweights by Allister Malcolm. Photography by Simon Bruntnell.

Mermaid Paperweights by Allister Malcolm. Photography by Simon Bruntnell.

Unfortunately for glass enthusiasts and people interested in Britain’s industrial heritage the museum faced closure, prompting the launch of The British Glass Foundation in 2010 as a charitable group concerned with not only supporting the extensive collections of glass and other glass-making archive material contained in Stourbridge but also to support and promote contemporary glass art and artists. In 2012 The British Glass Foundation held the World’s Longest Glass-blowing Demonstration to raise funds – pitting two teams against each other in a gruelling test of endurance and glass-blowing skill. On one side was the team led by Allister Malcolm, resident glass artist at Broadfield House joined by Jonathan Harris, son of renowned studio glass artist Michael Harris and a superb glass artist in his own right. On the other was Elliot Walker and his team. Over the course of the event, which was an incredible 26 and a half hours they long produced an incredible 32 pieces that were later auctioned off. In total the event raised over £14,000 for the British Glass Foundation – an incredible sum that will go towards preserving and promoting Stourbridge’s glass-making heritage. We were delighted to have the chance to sponsor such a worthy cause by donating them with the supply of gold and silver leaf used during the glass-making.

Jonathan's first range of glass launched in 1992 and was an instant success in upmarket shops in London!

Jonathan’s first range of glass launched in 1992 and was an instant success in upmarket shops in London!

Jonathan's boundless enthusiasm and knowledge for his craft is something he wants to impart onto others. His studio and showroom are open to the public and visitors can watch master glassmakers turning balls of red hot glass into masterpieces.

Jonathan’s boundless enthusiasm and knowledge for his craft is something he wants to impart onto others. His studio and showroom are open to the public and visitors can watch master glassmakers turning balls of red hot glass into masterpieces.

Every step of the glass-making process, right down to the tiniest details, is done by hand

Every step of the glass-making process, right down to the tiniest details, is done by hand

Every vase that Jonathon and his artisans create are unique and a testament to their skill with these challenging techniques.

Every vase that Jonathon and his artisans create are unique and a testament to their skill with these challenging techniques.

Allister Malcolm, who has long been a customer of ours, is a renowned craftsman within his field with over a decade of experience. His rare combination of hot glass manipulating and cold glass processing skills along with his strong design sense have created a portfolio of handmade glass artwork that is an inspiration for other glass artists and has a powerful draw for collectors. Allister’s work has a dedicated cadre of collectors and the demand for his work means he’s been attracting commissions from discerning corporate and private clients the whole world over!

One of the pieces produced by the teams at the World's Longest Glass-blowing Demonstration. Photography by Simon Bruntnell.

One of the pieces produced by the teams at the World’s Longest Glass-blowing Demonstration. Photography by Simon Bruntnell.

A piece produced by Jonathan Harris during the World's Longest Glass-blowing Demonstration done in his distinctive style. Photography by Simon Bruntnell.

A piece produced by Jonathan Harris during the World’s Longest Glass-blowing Demonstration done in his distinctive style. Photography by Simon Bruntnell.

This piece was created by Ed Burke of E&M Glass, our gold was used for the lettering. Photography by Simon Bruntnell.

This piece was created by Ed Burke of E&M Glass, our gold was used for the lettering. Photography by Simon Bruntnell.

Sadly, a gold piece that was being produced fell off the iron and broke! These pieces were made from the broken shards that were gathered afterwards! Photography by Simon Bruntnell.

Sadly, a gold piece that was being produced fell off the iron and broke! These pieces were made from the broken shards that were gathered afterwards! Photography by Simon Bruntnell.

This year Allister is looking to do something a little different and drawing inspiration from the story of Damien Hirst giving a taxi driver a quick sketch as a tip, which would later fetch over £4000 at auction, has come up with the idea of Celebrity Doodles. Allister is hoping that local celebrities, such as Dudley’s Lenny Henry, will submit signed drawings that glass-makers can use as base to create a piece of work around that will later be auctioned off with the proceeds going to the British Glass Foundation to help them continue to preserve and promote the industry of glass-blowing in the Stourbridge region. We wish Allister the best of luck with his project and we are very happy to be offering our support by once again donating gold and silver leaf.

View more pieces like this at http://www.jhstudioglass.com/

View more pieces like this at http://www.jhstudioglass.com/

View more pieces like this at http://www.jhstudioglass.com/

View more pieces like this at http://www.jhstudioglass.com/

The Daisy Range by Allister Malcolm. Available at http://www.allistermalcolm.com/  Photography by Simon Bruntnell

The Daisy Range by Allister Malcolm. Available at http://www.allistermalcolm.com/ Photography by Simon Bruntnell

The Africa Range by Allister Malcolm. Available at http://www.allistermalcolm.com/  Photography by Simon Bruntnell

The Africa Range by Allister Malcolm. Available at http://www.allistermalcolm.com/ Photography by Simon Bruntnell

You can see more of Allister Malcom’s work at www.allistermalcom.com and you can see more of Jonathan Harris’ work at Jonathan Harris Studio Glass Ltd.