GLASS LIVES INTERVIEW:
Louis Thompson

Louis Thompson in conversation with North Lands Creative Director Karen Phillips.

PROJECT ACTIVITY - visiting artist workshop

PARTNER - north lands creative

YEAR - 2019

1. When did you first start working with glass, and how has your making process and work evolved over time? Do you make with a particular audience in mind?

I started working with glass in 1986 while studying at North Staffordshire Polytechnic. I hope my work is continually evolving as I am eager to discover different ways of thinking, working and expressing ideas. I guess the arena/audience for my work changes as I work on different projects and in different contexts.

2. So how did you come to be at London Glassblowing?

I was invited to join Peter Laytons team of glassblowers in 2001 as I was looking to spend more time in a hot glass studio.

Louis Thompson Portrait

3. Please tell us how you found your time teaching at North Lands during the Visiting Artists workshop ‘The Glass Makers’ Orchestra’?

North Lands and the surrounding area is such a unique and special place to work. It’s isolated, breathtakingly beautiful and a fantastically resourced studio. The environment has a spirit of generosity and openness and I think this is reflected in the creativity of all the participants of this workshop.

4. What was the concept behind the class?

To encourage creative thinking, team working and problem solving to develop new individual collections of works and ideas.

5. What do you think you offer to teaching programmes?

I enjoy sharing my experiences of working with glass and encouraging students to think expansively about their ideas and to not be constrained by perceptions of what is possible or not. 

6. How do you benefit from your time teaching students?

It is an opportunity for me to learn from them. Think about different approaches and skills and to reflect on my own practice. 

'The Glass Makers' Orchestra' led by Louis Thompson at North Lands Creative, 2019

Louis Thompson demonstration during Glass Nexus Forum, 2019.

7. How have you been during the months of quarantine? How is the artist community in the UK dealing with this unsettling situation?

Personally quarantine has been an opportunity for me to pause, step back, reflect and think about possibilities for the future. 

8. It's great to see UK glass artists' work being exhibited abroad; can you tell us about your recent/upcoming exhibitions or projects? 

Recent Overseas Exhibitions/Projects: Ocean2050 Exhibition at Galerie Elsa Vanier, Paris, France. I exhibited collaborative work with Sophie Thomas. The exhibition was a themed one, looking at issues of plastic pollution in the ocean. 

Future Overseas Exhibitions/Projects: These activities are subject to the future global situation.

9. How would you define contemporary glass in the UK?

Diverse, innovative and exciting. 

Louis Thompson and Sophie Thomas discussing new work.

10. What are your favourite European artists, studios and/ or places?

I enjoy travelling to the Czech Republic, in particular Novy Bor. There is a fantastic range of glassmaking studios and factories. I find the environment here open and welcoming and enjoy observing highly skilled glass making executing exquisite designs and objects.

11. How important is it to you to be making work internationally and with other European organisations and artists?

I have always enjoyed collaborating with other artists, often across disciplines. As a creative person I want to continue to absorb alternative ways of thinking, making and expressing ideas and to continue immersing myself in different cultural and making traditions.

12. You communicate with artists and studios in other European countries. What is the prevailing mood currently?

I have had little contact with artists in Europe in recent months so I couldn’t really comment on this question.

13. The contemporary glass world is built on mobility: artists and their projects are not subjected to national borders, they travel and work in different countries, and their works are exhibited globally. How do you think the international glass scene will change after this crisis?

I guess in the current climate artists will need to focus more nationally/locally on physical, ‘real world’ activities. Virtual responses for International events.

Louis Thompson and Hanna Enemark demonstrating at Novotny Glass.

Louis Thompson demonstrating at Glass Nexus Forum, 2019.

Louis Thompson demonstrating at Glass Nexus Forum, 2019.

ARTIST BIO
Louis Thompson

Louis Thompson has been working with glass for over 30 years. His portfolio is diverse, from creating large scale installations to creating smaller intimate groups of objects that invite closer inspection. He completed his Masters degree at the Royal College of Art in 2011 and has been invited to work and teach with glass artists both in the UK and abroad. Louis was the recipient of two prestigious awards in 2012, the Jerwood Makers Prize Commission and the Best Exhibit Prize at the British Glass Biennale. His work has been exhibited extensively at galleries in the UK, Europe, Japan and the USA. He has been invited to create installations for various museums and international exhibitions and his work is held in museum collections in Belgium, Germany, Japan, USA and most recently the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. Louis has completed a residencies at the prestigious Museum of Glass in Tacoma, USA, Glazenhuis Museum in Belgium and at the Soneva Art Glass in the Maldives. Hot glass is his visual language and he looks to place innovative ideas with the material in different public arenas. It is this methodology of allowing his ideas to flow freely and expansively, which enables him to realise works of such aesthetic, technical and material diversity. He lives and works in London where he shares a studio with two other artists.

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