Emily Bellhouse - glass artist

Personal Statement

It was the tactility of the material that first seduced me and ignited my interest in glass. It is therefore no surprise how important is it to me that people touch and engage with anything that I make. With all my work I hope to eliminate the concern that glass is fragile and encourage people to make direct contact with it.

The actual context of my work stems from my strong sense of family and memories of a happy childhood. The Images in Glass collection originated from my fascination of old sepia photographs. I have always been concerned by their fading impressions and lost characters/stories that they hold. The work was created by way of permanently capturing these generations of memories, forming what I describe as a visual narrative and a glass catalogue of important mementos.

The inspiration for the Installation work was my first experience of glass, where as a child I would comb the beaches of South East England looking for fragmented glass. This to me seemed to be small jewl-like treasures, waiting to be uncovered. By way of trying to recreate these early feelings of excitement and wonder, I hide my sculptures in unusual places for others to discover.

 

 

 

 

 

Glass tile

 

 

 

 

 

Background

Emily originally trained as a product designer at Loughborough University and worked for 7 years as a Creative Design manager developing innovative needle-free drug delivery products. During this period her products were awarded Millennium Product status, short-listed for Design Week Award and exhibited in the Design Museum (London).

When first exposed to glass on an introductory course in London, Emily developed an immediate passion for the medium. She decided to explore this further and attended the renowned London arts institution Central Saint Martins College of Art & Design in 2001. Here she undertook two postgraduate courses in Glass & Fine Art and Glass & Architecture.

Emily graduated, with a distinction, in the summer of 2003 and started working from a shared studio in South East London.  With a desire to exhibit in unusual environments, Emily put together a collection of outdoor public installations shortly after graduating. This included a collection of over 100 pieces placed on East Sussex beaches at low tide (as part of the Coastal Currents Arts Festival 2003) and a river exhibitions at the Henley Festival of Music & the Arts (Henley-on-Thames, July 2004) with 30 large sculptures “hovering” in the water.

Since working in glass Emily has always experimented with the use of images but it wasn’t until she discovered a way in which she could embed them within the material that her more recent work (Images in Glass) took off. This body of work was launched at Art in Action 2005 with a self portrait piece made from over 1,000 small glass tiles with photographs of three generations of her family encased. This work has since been exhibited in shows such as The British Glass Biennale 2006 at the International Festival of Glass and in the British Library 2006.

Emily moved to her own studio in South East Sussex in 2007. In February of that year, she gave birth to her first of two daughters.  Whilst she has reduced her workload to balance with family life, she still continues to work on select commissions, teach glass courses and develop new work.

Publications or reviews/images of her work include: Featured artist in "Stained & Art Glass- A Unique History of Glass Design and Making" by Dr Judith Neiswander & Caroline Swash (2008), Neus Glas (2007), Crafts (May/June 2004), a-n magazine (October 2003), and The Guardian (October 2003).

Website & images © Emily Bellhouse, 2013

 

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