North Lands Creative returns to COLLECT

Posted On: 20/02/2020

North Lands Creative returns to Collect, the international art fair for modern craft and design, from Thursday 27 February – Sunday 1 March 2020. For 2020, Collect is moving to an iconic new home in the heart of London, Somerset House. Organised by the Crafts Council, Collect welcomes over 14,000 visitors including international galleries, artists and collectors. Visitors can experience an insightful programme of events, tours and free talks.

North Lands Creative at Collect 2020 celebrates the outstanding British and International creativity in glass. All the artists have a connection to our Alastair Pilkington Studio and the work has been inspired by their immersive time on our artist in residence programme or as a collaborative process from our associate artist projects. Our 2020 Collect artists are Emma Baker (UK), Alberto Lago (Italy), James Maskrey (UK), Alexandra Muresan (Romania), Laura Quinn (Ireland) and Martin Janecky (Czech). Authenticity is at the heart of our work. Centred around a core belief in conservation, education and sustainability of the art form, North Lands Creative has an outstanding reputation for facilitating individual and corporate commissions of contemporary art, design and craft pieces and offers an immersive special experience for collectors. Our commissioning service and the work for sale in our gallery reflects a global trend, with increasingly discerning collectors searching out objects of beauty and substance against a flowering of craftsmanship worldwide. We bridge iconic heritage and contemporary design as well as supporting independent artists to tell their stories.

Our programme aims to attract a broad audience united in their appreciation of imagination, individuality, passion and skill for contemporary studio glass. A curated programme of events annually allows visitors to meet our artists and gain access to exclusive exhibitions, demonstrations and workshops. Karen Phillips, Director of North Lands Creative said: “With its mix of ingenuity and imagination, North Lands Creative has always been a meeting point for historicism and modernity in glass. Our stand at Collect 2020 bridges the two by offering fresh insights into the historic techniques of glass whilst pioneering new thinking on the medium. I think being an artist anywhere is a courageous thing to be. But being a glass artist, where you have limited structure to support you, is probably even braver. You definitely have to have a strong entrepreneurial vision. Often artists have limited access to facilities and further training after graduating. A studio like North Lands Creative provides valuable equipment and support and due to its remoteness visiting artists are really influenced by their context”.


In 2020 the gallery will represent the work of Martin Janecky (Czech), Emma Baker (UK), Laura Quinn (Ireland), Alberto Lago (Italy), Alexandra Muresan (Romania) and James Maskrey (UK). The history of glass is full of ‘origin stories’: stories of how and where glass began. North Lands Creative at Collect 2020 takes this as a starting-pointing for the six artists exhibiting, each exploring a fundamental component of contemporary glass blowing. The Future of Making – Tradition to Liberation and how the artists have each broken the mould by creating ground-breaking work which sees traditional techniques evolving. How does the glass community start to create a new language and support the freedom of artists, makers and curators to break the conventions around tradition. Guiding the creative process for glass blowing, North Lands Creative uses the studio and gallery as a freespace for people to gather and exchange, with new networks emerging, new possibilities taking shape and achieve a global dialogue that can weave through gender, social politics and sustainability. The exhibition will be playful, witty and provocative, Origins asks us to look again at the myths, conventions and histories that guide how glass is created and experienced. My perspective as Director in running North Lands Creative and the studio gallery is very curatorial. As a national charity our income goes directly into helping build a stronger glass community, which benefits many artists and crafts makers globally so events like Collect we need to still think like commercial galleries but the difference is the artists benefit directly from that success. We are very interested in discovering artists and so, having been doing this for over two decades now, we exhibit artists from the contemporary emerging, mid-career to masters of the craft. Having begun to represent artists at various points during this period, it is obvious that we have grown together and that those that would have been considered ‘emerging’ then are working their way towards ‘established’ now.

We see our relationships with artists as similar concentric circles. Residency and associate artists are core artists, those at the centre of the circle. We work together and communicate constantly, and we are at their service. Then there are others with whom we have a relationship, but do not currently work on a project with us. We are very active off-site curators, our location on the periphery of mainland Scotland dictates that we do not have high footfall at the gallery but a strong international collectors base. Attending Collect 2020 was devised as partly a response to the needs of collectors – to show work in a considered fashion and in a spectacular location; and partly a response to artists – to show work in a high profile, large scale show, but which is not restricted by the limitation of a booth stand. We are constantly identifying and working with new artists, and depending on how things develop, an artist from a particular project can often transfer into another project, sometimes even becoming an associate artist. Likewise, our audience might also come over from one project to another. Our target audience is primarily collectors but also the craft world audience generally. In terms of the positioning of our gallery in relation to others, with a cursory glance it might appear that we run a traditional model. As a gallery in itself this is true, but combined with the other projects it can be considered a far more complicated, multi project that emphasises curation, ambition, hard and dedicated work, lateral thinking and collaboration – and in collaboration we mean with other curators, other galleries, arts organisations artists, and collectors. It is important that the main ingredient – the artwork itself – has a relevance to contemporary practice as well as a potential resonance with the audience (collector). My mission is to find like-minded artists to pair with like-minded collectors, with like-minded gallerist / curator as the fulcrum. I search for authentic artists that are engaged wholly with their internal critical model. As someone who took the route to being a director/ curator by studying design at degree level and then fine art at masters, I have a profound understanding of what it is to be an artist. And so I am perhaps unusually equipped to relate to the struggle of making work (and in fact still make work myself). I am open to all mediums (but perhaps have the deepest affiliation with crafts and of course in my current role I have fallen in love with glass), and I respond to work with strong content. I am interested in horror and beauty; the sublime; the psychological and psychoanalytical; magic and mythology; sexuality – that which is concerned with the big human themes. Just as I look for authenticity in the artist I also look for an authentic, instinctive reaction in myself when attending work, and even if one of our shows looks varied visually, by considering these subjects the sense of cohesion becomes quickly apparent. And so, the above must be considered the key factor at the beginning point in a relationship with an artist. From there I will look for consistency and professionalism, and there is an element of needing to be able to work together in terms of personality as well. I am not looking for a difficult artist or a lazy artist. I’m looking for an individual that can continue relationships and work in a climate of mutual respect and trust. And these relationships can only be maintained with honesty, integrity and progress. And so there must be drive, ambition and commitment on both sides.


Emma Baker

IG/ @_emmbaker

Emma first saw glassblowing at Waterford Crystal in 2007, completely oblivious to how it would later impact her life. After successfully completing a BA(Hons) degree in Glass and Ceramics in 2014 from the University of Sunderland, she have had the opportunity to work at various glass studios. Alongside having the privilege to assist many talented makers and learn first hand from their skill, she has been fortunate to be exposed to different techniques, studio environments and styles of glassmaking. She is currently self employed as a freelance glassmaking assistant alongside developing her own glass work. Celebrating memories through the presentation or re-creation of important objects epitomises her conceptual work. The inspiration is most often drawn from profound personal occurrences; therefore her work is often aesthetically literal. By using emotively associated objects, she builds work that immortalises memories of significant times and happenings through the use of glass. Alongside her love to involve narrative within the work, process is a primary interest in her development with glass. Works have evolved from experimentation and pushing the material to its limits in order to understand its behaviours, the results are highly aesthetic and exploit the honest attributes of glass itself. Most recently she has been working with blown glass within kiln forming processes, revealing an entirely new and exciting pathway in her work.

Alberto Lago


Alberto Lago is a designer/social artist from Venice (Italy), with interests that go from design to graphic, till social engagement. His educational background range from architecture, engineering, carpentry and design. His intellectual curiosity and the constant need of new stimuli have always led him to travel and engage in new challenges. He has lived and worked in San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Stuttgart, Milan, Matera and Venice. Alberto creative process is based on traditional craftsmanship in relation to natural materials (ceramic, fabric, glass, marble, metal, and wood). The starting point is always having a direct interaction with skilled artisans to understand their techniques, passions and dreams. These knowledges are then used in symbiosis with digital technology to inform the artistic process in a unique manner. The result is a learning experience, both for the artisan and the designer, that leads to a new paradigm in the traditional craftsmanship culture. At the moment, he is currently working for a Murano Glass Furnace as a designer/artist mainly working on experimenting with traditional Venetian glass techniques. Alberto has won different national and international awards, moreover, he has exhibit his works at Milano Design Week, Venice Glass Week, Biennale di Venezia, and Industries Museum in Chemnitz. The basis of my work lies behind the creativity of human interaction. When in a community or just within few people starts a synergy, there is a special alchemy that arise that could not be triggered while exploring independently. In addition, having a not defined path gives a spark to this collaborative process. The combination of these two aspects provide me the possibility to examine something that is unknown and most of the time driven from collective mind. The possibilities given from this collaborative process could be infinite and the outcome is a sort of mix of different perspective and experiences that could not be created without this blend.

Alexandra Muresan

IG/ @alexandramuresanglass

Alexandra Muresan combines glass with metal meshes and objects, renewing the old technique of glass making and demonstrating the glass’s modernity. “Don’t push me …” – a reflection of the way we push nature and our environment towards breaking point through invasive industrial behaviour. Although in my practice I explore different forms of expression, I adopted glass as the main voice for my thoughts because I fell in love with its transparency and its translucence, with its ability to play with form, light and perception. Coming from a background of poetry and philosophy, I am fascinated with the dialectic between beauty and ugliness, between effect and defect, between perfection and error. The range of subjects I approach in my works depends a lot on the flux of inspiration that emerges from my contact with the world around me. An idea can haunt me for days, months, years, it sometimes lays dormant gathering strength and then bursting into a series of material experiments that materialize in a finite piece.

Laura Quinn

IG/ @lauraquinndesign

Laura Quinn is an Irish designer and glassblower. In 2015 she graduated from the National College of Art and Design in Dublin with a BA (hons) in Glass Design, as well as a BA (hons) in Art History and Design. Sisyphus was the body of work she created for her BA degree show. The inspiration for this body of work came from the myth of Sisyphus, and how it is in the human experience to complete repetitive actions or tasks in the hope that there is an overall greater meaning. This body of work was primarily wearable sculpture, combining glass with other materials such as rubber and metal. After graduating she worked in the Corning Museum of Glass teaching the public how to make their own glass objects. By the end of 2015 she had also completed her internship in Olustvere Glass Studio in Estonia where she spent 3 months working as a glass blowing assistant. In 2016 her journey brought her to Gloucestershire in England where she worked under a master glass blower in LoCo Glass Studio. Here she developed a love of making glass within the production setting. Working in various studios around the world raised questions for Laura about the use of glass with other materials. In 2017 she began her MA in 3D Design Crafts in Plymouth College of Art.

James Maskrey

James Maskrey started working with glass in 1990. He originally trained as an apprentice and subsequently worked for 7 years at a hot glass studio in Dorset, predominantly working with William Walker. He periodically worked with other makers spending an extended period assisting Neil Wilkin. In 1997 he embarked on a Three Dimensional Design BA Hons degree in glass at The Surrey Institute of Art and Design graduating in June 2000. After graduation he was appointed as Artist in Residence at the Surrey Institute, developing his own work alongside teaching skills to students of all levels. In 2001 James joined the Glass and Ceramics department at The University of Sunderland. In 2002 he started his Master of Arts studies at the University. He graduated with an MA in Glass with distinction in 2004. In July 2004 he attended an inspirational week-long masterclass at North Lands Creative Glass in Scotland studying under Steve Klein and Tom Rowney and has been a regular visitor ever since. He has since worked as a gaffer for many artists at Northlands including Susan Cohn, Emma Woffenden, Magdalene Odundo, Richard Slee and Petr Stanicky and as a TA to Richard Jolley. He has led his own annual skills courses at Northlands between 2011 1nd 2013 and his own masterclass in 2015. Additionally he has worked as a TA at Sars Poteries France, and has led his own masterclasses at Glazenhuis, Lommel, Belgium and twice at BildWerk in Frauenau, Germany. James continues to work at the University, specialising in hot glass. As well as forming part of the team delivering skills demonstrations and workshops, He has taught the validated LIFT hot glass courses and as a visiting lecturer on the BA programme. In September 2011 he visited the Crisil glass factory in Cochabamba, Bolivia as a Design and Technical consultant on behalf of the fair trade organisation Traidcraft. He has exhibited his work in the UK, Europe, The USA and China. His work is held in many public and private collections including The Crafts Council and the Victoria and Albert Museum.

Martin Janecký

IG/ @martinjanecky FB/ @martinjaneckyglass

Martin Janecký, born 29 February 1980, began working with glass at the age of thirteen at his father’s factory in the Czech Republic. After graduating from the Glass School in Nový Bor he gained experiences in South Africa, Sweden, the Netherlands, and chiefly in the US, where he studied at the Pilchuck Glass School under Richard Royal and William Morris. It wasn’t long before Martin Janecký himself became a highly sought teacher in his field. He has been a visiting artist and instructor at various glass programs all over the world, such as The Studio of the Corning Museum of Glass, Pilchuck Glass School, Penland School of Craft, University of Toyama. Among his most recognized strengths is an ability to master the glass moulding technology of so-called blowing and sculpting “inside the bubble”, a technique used to create startling original works. Martin Janecky is considered to be one of the best glass sculptors working today. He has exhibited his artwork in galleries and museums all over the world.

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