Artist Spotlight Ian Chadwick

share your creative practice:
in conversation with ian chadwick

What influences translate into your art practice?


Ever since my time at Grays School of Art in Aberdeen, Scotland my work has  used geometric repetition as its main device. Artists such as Sol LeWitt and Victor Vasarely along with the Vorticism movement were blended with my interest in sacred geometry and its use in ancient architecture and art. 


Has this changed the way you approach your work?


Whilst I had no access to a dedicated glass department whilst at art school I used glass wherever possible in my practice and pursued this further and worked within a stained glass studio for a number of years.

I was a relative latecomer to kiln-formed glass and self-taught which allowed me to adapt the processes to achieve the accurate linear qualities I needed to push through my aesthetic vision. The glass I produce employs many of the same geometric principles I was experimenting with whilst at art school. 


What initially captured your imagination about glass?


I grew up on the Isle of Wight and I was exposed to the work of studio glass pioneer Michael Harris who set up Isle of Wight Glass Studio glass the year I was born. I initially applied to Edinburgh School of Art when I left schooling as I wanted to pursue glass blowing but fate intervened and I had to follow a different route. 


What’s the significance of the handmade to you?


The process of handmaking is important to me as an individual, It allows me to translate what is abstract into something which can exist within the world. It is a vital and integral part of a well functioning society that it is full of handmade objects which represent the voices of diversity and individuality.

What was your route to becoming an artist?


I attended Art School and then worked within the stained glass industry for several years. I spent many years wandering the metaphorical wilderness before access to a pottery kiln and a pile of glass sent me down this current path.

What is your chosen medium and what are your techniques?


I am predominantly a kiln-formed glass worker but I occasionally produce work which utilises techniques learnt earlier in my career. The work I currently produce employs the deconstruction and construction of coloured sheets of striped glass which are arranged within the principles of rotational symmetry into kaleidoscopic patterns which I describe as portals.

How would you describe your work and where do you think it fits within the sphere of contemporary glass?


I’m not too sure about this….. I think I’m still trying to find where I fit. I have a good following within the glass fusing community but I also have very strong and loyal support amongst the burgeoning community of borosilicate pipe making artists. 

Tell us a bit about your process and what environment you like to work in?


My work is driven heavily by process which I often describe as ritualistic. I approach the production of each of my patterns almost like a magikal ritual where I cleanse my space and then lay out my tools before drawing out the geometric key onto which I build my patterns.

I prefer to work alone and believe there is great benefit in the type of work I produce to have an environment where interruptions are kept to a minimum.

Who do you look up to when it comes to aesthetics?


Sol LeWitt , Victor Vasarely, James Turrell, Olafur Eliasson, Zaha Hadid, Klaus Moje and Terri Grant.

What currently inspires you and which other artists do you admire and why?


 I’m very conscious of the lack of narrative within my work whilst I exist in a time of such upheaval and injustice. I am unwilling to crowbar meaning into my current work but I feel strongly that important issues require responses by artists and I hope to address this in the future. 


I admire the work of Norwood Viviano, Olafur Eliasson and Jeff Zimmer who primarily use glass as their medium and successfully highlight sociopolitical issues within their work whilst still maintaining a engaging aesthetic. 


ian chadwick

Ian Chadwick has a background in sculpture and stained-glass window design, disciplines which he applies to his constantly evolving range of kiln-formed glass art.

The glass Ian produces uses rotational symmetry as a tool to achieve patterns which exhibit a hypnotic, op-art effect.  Ian uses kiln-forming techniques to produce sheets of striped, coloured glass which are then deconstructed and reconstructed into symmetrical patterns.  These patterns embody Ian’s interest in the esoteric art of sacred geometry,  commonly used in the rose windows of cathedrals and spiritual visual devices or Mandalas,  used by religions and cultures throughout time.  These arrangements are then kiln-fired and extensively cold worked with diamond abrasives to produce the finished piece.