Partners in life and art, Stephen Gillies and Kate Jones have been making exceptional contemporary blown glass together for over 20 years. Their pieces are made the slow way, just as glass was prior to industrial revolution – labour intensive and reliant on the skills acquired over a long, international apprenticeship.
Operating from their studio and workshop in the village of Rosedale Abbey, they have developed a unique aesthetic, drawing inspiration from the elemental beauty of their rural surroundings.
They have received worldwide recognition for their complex cameo works, the traditional methods they use are practised by only a few glass makers across the world. This process involves the folding of different coloured glass bubbles over each other to produce a complex multi-layered and coloured piece.
Their defiantly decorative work can be found in both public and private collections locally, nationally and internationally. Alongside their craft practice, they also undertake prestigious commissions and regularly lecture in the UK and overseas.
Stephen Gillies started his technical skills training at Stourbridge College of Art, in the historic centre of British glass- making, and then at Wolverhampton University. He worked abroad in the hotshop at the Glass Museum in Ebeltoft in Denmark and with the glass team of Philip Baldwin and Monica Guggisberg in Switzerland. Now, Stephen Gillies talks about transparency and the unique qualities of the material and his driving force – the making of each piece to the best of his considerable ability.
Kate Jones trained in painting and, she spent a useful year learning to adapt her visual skill to the design and decoration of glass at the International Glass Centre, in Brierley Hill, Dudley. By then she was fully converted to glass and the opportunities it offered for self expression. She has brought a clearly defined sense of design to the partnership.