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The couple at their Rosedale Abbey studio (pictures © Tony Bartholomew)

An internationally renowned team of glassmakers based in the heart of the North York Moors National Park will exhibit work at Danby’s Inspired by… gallery this autumn to mark 25 years of living and working in the National Park.

Stephen Gillies and Kate Jones, known collectively as Gillies Jones, have created glass from Rosedale Abbey since 1995, continuing a glassmaking tradition that started in the tiny village in the 16th century.

Their exhibition, A Portrait of Place (10 October to 9 November), sees them explore the place they call home with a stunning collection of mostly new work that reflects the marks left on the landscape over time by geology, water, nature and human behaviour.

The couple work in harmony, with glassblower Stephen creating the original forms, which are then decorated by artist Kate using a combination of sandblasting, wheel engraving and other techniques. Some of Kate’s preliminary photos and drawings made on walks around the area will also be on display.

Kate Jones says: “The landscape of the North York Moors has long been an inspiration to artists. Our exploration and ‘portrait’ of this landscape observes the geology, river systems and current land management practices which leave specific marks. We map and observe the layers of human endeavour, both pre- and post-industrial, the marks etched into the land, overlaid and now being reclaimed by nature.

“Just as changing light illuminates the landscape, light is integral to our work, animating our glass, revealing layers of colours and engraving. This landscape has evolved, has been sculpted and pressed into service and this is our snapshot in time, a celebration of the now. One certainty is that this landscape will change again as custodians of the land change along with the ideas that inform the management of the world we all share.”

Stephen Gillies at work in the studio

Partners in life and art, Stephen and Kate make their pieces just as glass was made prior to the industrial revolution – labour-intensive and reliant on skills acquired over a long, international apprenticeship.

They have developed a unique aesthetic, drawing inspiration from the elemental beauty of their rural surroundings, and have received worldwide recognition for their complex cameo works. The traditional methods they use are practised by only a few glassmakers across the world. The process involves the folding of different coloured glass bubbles over each other to produce complex multi-layered and coloured pieces.

Their defiantly decorative work can be found in public and private collections nationally and internationally. Alongside their craft practice, they also undertake prestigious commissions and regularly lecture in the UK and overseas.

A Portrait of Place marks the culmination of what was intended to be a year of celebrations to mark the 25th anniversary of the glass-making partnership. Most of the events were cancelled due to the coronavirus crisis.

Kate Jones sketching on the North York Moors

There will be a number of events associated with the exhibition, details to be confirmed, but to include gallery tours (limited to 10 people) led by Kate Jones on Saturday 24 October at 11am, 11.45am, 1.30pm and 2.15pm. Tickets are £5, and are available at https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/exhibition-tour-with-kate-jones-tickets-118514856125

The Inspired by… gallery, based at The Moors National Park Centre, is open from 10am to 5pm daily in October, and from 10.30am to 4pm daily in November. The National Park Centre has received VisitEngland’s ‘We’re Good To Go’ kitemark, an accreditation that shows all facilities are following the latest Government and industry Covid-19 safety guidelines.

If you intend on visiting the gallery before then, please note that masks must be worn throughout the National Park Centre in line with the latest Government guidelines.

For more information on the exhibition, go to: northyorkmoors.org.uk/inspiredby

For more on Gillies Jones: gilliesjonesglass.co.uk

Internationally renowned glassmakers Gillies Jones celebrate 25th anniversary at the Inspired by… gallery, Danby, with A Portrait of Place
Date & Time:
From 10/10/2020 To 09/11/2020
Inspired by... gallery, Whitby, UK
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