Sunderland student wins international glass competition

Sunderland University student Anna Selway at the National Glass Centre.
Sunderland University student Anna Selway at the National Glass Centre.
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A city student is a clear favourite after clinching two top prizes.

Anna Selway, a student at the University of Sunderland, won a joint first prize in an internationally-renowned architectural glass competition, designed to find the best student or recent graduate in the UK.

And, she followed this up by toasting her success in a contest to create the perfect gin and tonic glass. She will now see her work on the shelves in time for Christmas.

The first-year glass and ceramics undergraduate jointly claimed the Brian Thomas Memorial Prize at the Stevens Glass Artist of the Year Awards in London.

Her brief was to design an archway in the School of Glass at the newly-renovated Alex Campus at University of Wales Trinity St David, Swansea. Anna’s design was inspired by traditional Welsh tapestry patterns and is a celebration of craftsmanship, skills, and heritage.

Anna said: “Going to London was really fun. We went through everyone’s entries and it was amazing because it was very formal, but there was also the opportunity to mix with people that you wouldn’t normally get the chance to.

“I was over the moon when I found out I had won, because I completely invested myself and did my absolute best – I received tremendous support from the University of Sunderland. People bent over backwards to allow me to make the piece.”

After this success, Anna then went on to be awarded a commission by Durham Distillery, which produces traditionally made gin and vodka.

They asked the undergraduates at Sunderland to reimagine how gin should be enjoyed, and asked them to create the ultimate glass, with Anna’s picked as the winner by the distillery’s managing director, Jon Chadwick.

Jon said: “The standard of the work was incredible. It’s a kind of logical thing for people who make gin, and also vodka, to be interested in glassware, and the idea of having the NGC and the University of Sunderland, it was just too neat a fit not to come and do it.”

Anna said: “It has been really good because this is something outside of what I can do by myself, so it has made me think about the market, researching bottles, seeing what might work out there on the shelves.”

She added: “The opportunity to engage with a business has been brilliant. It was good practice for speaking to people and being as professional as possible.”