Two leading North East arts venues have crystallised their new working relationship to raise the profile of glass-making in the region.
The new partnership between National Glass Centre and Newcastle-based art gallery The Biscuit Factory aims to support the work of local glass artists and champion the heritage of glass making in the region.
Bosses at National Glass Centre hope the partnership will expand the venue’s reach across the region.
Michelle Daurat, from National Glass Centre, said: “People in the North East and beyond are very familiar with the region’s industrial past as shipbuilders and coal miners, but it is amazing how many people are surprised by the region’s strong connection to glass making.”
Ever since Benedict Biscop brought the first glaziers over from Gaul in 674 AD, Sunderland has had a rich glassmaking heritage.
Glassmaking has played an important part in the industrial landscape of the city, with factories such as Pyrex and Hartley Woods, providing employment and economic stability.
Michelle added: “National Glass Centre’s partnership with The Biscuit Factory aims to highlight the important part glass-making plays in the region’s cultural heritage.
“There is a very strong community of artists working in glass in the region and we are home to Europe’s largest glass and ceramics degree programme at the University of Sunderland. We hope that by partnering with The Biscuit Factory, we can nurture and support glass artists at all stages of their career and help them to continue to make and promote beautiful work.”
The Biscuit Factory – the UK’s largest art, craft and design gallery – exhibits a range of contemporary glass each season, including work by artists such as Sunderland graduate Samantha Donaldson and one of the world’s most widely respected glass artists, Peter Layton.
It recently unveiled its new dedicated exhibition space for glassware produced by National Glass Centre’s hot glass studio team, which forms part of the gallery’s new 10-week autumn show.
Rachel Brown, general manager of The Biscuit Factory, said: “It made complete sense for our two organisations to come together. With National Glass Centre as a key facility for glass making and The Biscuit Factory a key platform for showcasing the work of makers, joining forces not only supports practitioners to gain more exposure of their work, but for members of the public to have greater accessibility to it.”
In the coming months, visitors and clients to both venues will have the opportunity to find out more about each partner and will also receive exclusive access to experiences, events and exhibit- ions.
Established in 2002, The Biscuit Factory, in Stoddart Street, near the Ouseburn district, is a commercial gallery that celebrates contemporary fine art from across the UK, ranging from small craft to fine art. It also houses a diverse collection of contemporary jewellery, design-led homewares and gifts.