The National Glass Collectors Fair

Heading: National Glass Collectors Fair

In-Fair Exhibition:
Norman Stuart Clarke

Norman Stuart Clarke in his studio.
Norman Stuart Clarke in his studio.

The May 2017 the National Glass Fair featured an exciting exhibition, celebrating the career of contemporary glass artist Norman Stuart Clarke.

At 73 years of age, Norman Stuart Clarke is probably Britain's oldest working glass artist. During his formative years Norman's only desire was to be an artist and throughout his career this passion has pushed him to develop a range of distinctive styles and techniques. The creativity evident Norman's work has arguably made him one of Britain's leading glass artists. Norman influence and reputation is unsurpassed and he has worked alongside, taught and mentored many of Britain's top studio glass artists.  

"Working with the hot flowing glass is a transcendental experience. The conscious and unconscious merge in timelessness and a vessel is created, glowing and pulsing like a new born star." - Norman Stuart Clarke

Norman's work is often, quite literally, a painting in glass. Sometimes a deconstructed abstract; other times, a picturesque landscape. Norman's painterly style and his use of bold colour is undeniably his own:

"I use bold, powerful colours; it's a consuming interest of mine, an obsession, placing different hues together on a piece, watching them react optically. They throb and dance to a tune shared only with the beholder."

A selection of Golden Seascape vases, inspired by the Cornish landscape.
A selection of Golden Seascape vases, inspired by the Cornish landscape.

Norman has been an inventor, an explorer and an adventurer. Working alongside Peter Layton, he developed a special iridising technique which may be seen at its best in designs such as 'Golden Seascape'.

With his 'Batik' range, Norman explored the technique of plunging hot pieces of glass into ice cold water, so they would crack. He would then stain the cracks with metallic salts and case the whole piece in clear glass: producing vessels reminiscent of volcanic lava pits and the batik cloth that inspired him.

"I like to play with different effects of colour and shape; I can't wait to open the kiln each morning to see the results of yesterday's adventure."

Pondlife vase by Norman Stuart Clarke
Pondlife vase by Norman Stuart Clarke

Norman's extraordinarily mercurial talent and artistry has resulted in pieces of his work being on display in galleries and collections all over the world. Norman can count Sir Elton John, Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth and various other members of the Royal family amongst his patrons.

The glass included in this exhibition showcased Norman Stuart Clarke's extraordinarily wonderful and expansive talent. Visitors also had an opportunity to learn of the influences behind some of his designs...such as how the 'River Bank' range came from his experience of jumping into a river to rescue a duck, or the the fact that his 'Karma' range was inspired by singer Boy George. The inspiration behind Norman's work can often be as diverse and capricious as the man himself.

The exhibition not only gave people the chance to view and read about Norman's work, it also provided people with an amazing opportunity to meet the 'Master of the Flame' Norman Stuart Clarke himself. 

The exhibition was curated by Michelle Guzy, one of our long-standing exhibitors, and featured around 45 pieces of Norman's glass. Visitors were also able to purchase some of Norman Stuart Clarke's vintage works.


Exhibitions Archive

May 2009: Fair Lamp Exhibition >>>
May 2010: All That Jazz Exhibition >>>
Nov 2011 >>>
May 2012: Royal Commemorative Glass >>>
Nov 2012: Portland Vase >>>
May 2013: Gray-Stan Art Glass >>>
Nov 2013: Short History of Art Glass in Hungary >>>
May 2014: Primrose Pearline & the Copyists >>>
Nov 2014: Uranium Glass >>>
May 2015: Hyacinth Vases >>>
November 2015: Carnival Glass Society >>>
May 2016: Isle of Wight Glass >>>
Nov 2016: Royal Brierley Studio Ware >>>
Nov 2017: Anthony & Maureen Ward Glass Collection >>>
May 2018: Chance Handkerchief Vases >>>
May 2019: Land of the Midnight Sun >>>