I have a long held obsession with glass, that predates my interest in painting and art generally. It encompasses all types of glass, those you drink out of and sculputral or decorative glass. It is all the fault of maternal grandfather William Cook Stuart, after whom I am name.
He was the last member of the family to run Stuart Crystal, then a family firm, before it was sold to Waterfords Crystal.
By the time I new him he was retired but still maintained an active interest in glass and gave out prizes and scholarships. There was always very interesting glassware in his house. He also introduced me to kippers.
This is what I put my abiding interest down to. An interest that I have to work hard not to indulge because glass, particularly sculptural glass is expensive, very breakable and difficult to store. If I win the lottery I might build myself a glass wing.
I do have a few pieces. My favourite is probably the Blue vase, which I bought in Bath and is the famous Bath Aqua Glass. It has a deep blue quality glows differently in different light. The splashed gold glass is by a woman called Hanne Enemark and my wife bought it at the Ma degree show at the Chelsea Art college back I think it was in 2008.
Where then can you see glass in London. There are basically two main places. The first is the wonderful glass room at the V&A. It is cunningly hidden on the top floor, through the architecture room and so if often an oasis of calm when the ground floor throngs with hordes of people. I often marvel at the simple ability of stairs to defeat people. Fortnums has the same thing, step up of the crowded food floor and you enter a much more sparsely populated world.
The other place is London Glassblowing in Borough South London. It is an active glass blowing studio and gallery displaying contemporary glass which is available for purchase. You can also sit there and watch glass being blown which is a nice and interesting experience.
William John Mackenzie
I am an artist with a specialism in landscapes and still life. My contact details are here.