The artworks are an outcome from a series of workshops led by designer Niela Kalra and artist Katie Leask, of Nielanell knitwear in Hoswick. Meeting each week, the group explored glass fusing techniques using Bullseye glass, and were involved in every aspect of designing, cutting and fusing the glass. They experimented with printing and painting onto surfaces and glass slumping. The group also learned about firing the glass in kilns, and the theories behind the programming of the kilns.
The table setting theme emerged through conversations between participants throughout the activities. During each session, as well as working with glass, the group sat together around a table and talked, shared stories, made tea and importantly, ate cake. They reflected on the important feelings of connection that coming together to talk, laugh, eat and drink gave them.
To capture this in pieces of glass, the group began designing a table setting. They collectively selected a colour palette before each bringing their own unique take on designing a series of plates and centerpieces. Some of the final pieces come from memories and connections to family. Some are influenced by a pure enjoyment of composition. Some are about colour (purple came to hold a particular meaning within the group) and others stem from places or times that are important to the individuals.
Together, the display works well because of the joint design decisions that were made. Colour and shape help the individual pieces relate to one another. The final collection is a real celebration of a group of skilled and dedicated young people who each can be very proud of what they have achieved, both in glass and around the table.