Sunderland's National Glass Centre commissions four major new works, including exploration of life of St Bede

National Glass Centre has announced details of four new commissions by contemporary artists, to be displayed to the public at North East sites including Sunderland city centre and Durham Cathedral.

Four renowned glass artists have been invited by the Monkwearmouth centre to each create a major new work as part of Glass Exchange which runs from March 26 until September 11.

Glass Exchange has been set up to celebrate Sunderland’s status as a world leader in glass art. It draws on Wearside’s strong links with glass making and British ecclesiastical history.

Monster Chetwynd’s Life of St Bede features four key scenes from the lives of St Bede and St Cuthbert. Her commission will be displayed in the Galilee Chapel at Durham Cathedral.

James Maskrey, master glassmaker at National Glass Centre, pictured working on Katie Paterson’s commission.

Ryan Gander’s Ghost Shop will be seen in a vacant shop front, the exact location in Sunderland city centre is yet to be revealed. The theme is the decline of the British high street. It depicts an abandoned betting shop.

Katie Paterson’s has created Requiem, a series of hand-blown hourglasses containing material from before the Sun existed; and a glass urn filled with a dust spanning “billions of years including the evolution of humankind over the last few millennia”.

It will be displayed in the Glass Centre while The Moment, a timepiece from Katie’s series, will be in both Durham Cathedral and the Glass Centre.

Recently displayed in Sunderland Minster, Pascale Marthine Tayou’s Colonial Ghost is about colonisation and the growth of Christianity in African countries. It consists of crosses, each made using five human figures. It too will be in the centre.


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An early image of what Ryan Gander’s Ghost Shop could look like.

Julia Stephenson, head of arts at National Glass Centre, said: “We’re thrilled to be working with such high-calibre contemporary artists on Glass Exchange and we’re delighted to be working with such well-respected and high-profile venues.

“This is an exciting, ambitious exhibition and one which is already attracting national and international attention.

“Glass Exchange is a major celebration of Sunderland’s role as a world-leading centre for artistic practice in glass and it is important to us that the project will have a lasting legacy in the city.


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"Some of the artwork created will be acquired into the National Glass Centre’s collection.”

National Glass Centre has commissioned four new works.

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Colonial Ghost by Pascale Marthine Tayou.