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Caithness News Bulletins August 2005

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Northlands Creative Glass

Glass artists from seven countries yesterday concluded the first of a summer programme of master classes at North Lands Creative Glass in the village of Lybster led by Klaus Moje, one of the key figures in contemporary studio glass.

The class - "Finding New Horizons" - explored kilnforming with techniques such as fusing, bending and mold-making and also extensive use of cold-working methods.  Moje is internationally renowned for his kilnformed glasswork. Such is the pioneering nature of his work that artists worldwide have adopted variations on his basic kiln forming methods.  Originally from Germany, where he first established himself as an artist-craftsman, Moje moved to Australia in 1982, to establish the Glass Workshop at the Canberra School of Art. He currently lives and maintains a studio on the coast south of Sydney, Australia. Moje's work is held in many prestigious private and public collections worldwide including the Victoria & Albert Museum, London and the Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh.

The class participants used Caithness heritage as one of the sources of inspiration during their stay. Following class trips to Whaligoe Steps and the Grey Cairns at Camster, Australian artist Catherine Aldrete-Morris drew on the dominance of stone in the landscape to create a new direction for her work. The group also visited Orkney and Dunbeath Castle as part of the short course.

The second Masterclass - "Thought, Process, Material, Innovation" - gets underway on 24 August with US based designer and sculptor Peter Aldridge. Closely following will be "Creative Production, Creative Marketing" on 27 August with Simon Moore, visiting professor at the Royal College of Art, London. Whilst Moore's class is for the experience glass blower, all the other courses at North Lands this year are targeted at designers, artists and architects from all disciplines with or without experience in glass. The design theme of this year's courses is emphasised further by the final two courses of the summer commencing on 6 September - "A Conceptual Play" with Australian designer Susan Cohn and "Why Glass?" with British designer Paul Cocksedge and British studio glass artist Angela Jarman.

People with a passion for glass and design will also be arriving from all over the world for North Lands' annual conference in Lybster, this year held on 3rd and 4th September 2005. The conference - "The Design Element" - will examine the blurring of boundaries over the past 30 years between art, industry and design. Speakers will include keynote speaker Gordon Burnett, Reader in Craft at The Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen; Masterclass leaders; David Grant who set up a successful ceramics company in the Scottish Highlands; Stewart Drew, Professional Development Manager of the British Crafts Council; Gilbert Riedelbauch a practicing designer, maker and teacher; and Jennifer Opie, former Curator of Ceramics and Glass, Victoria and Albert Museum. The conference will conclude with a panel discussion moderated by Tina Oldknow, Curator of Modern Glass at the Corning Museum of Glass

A spokesperson from North Lands Creative Glass said "It is quite amazing to see the village of Lybster become a cosmopolitan centre for these summer weeks.  We would not be able to draw such international participation were it not for the excellent teaching, facilities and natural environment to be found in the far North. Last year saw participants from a total of 18 countries and we do not expect it to be any different this year" The spokesperson added that some international participants had initially been concerned about travelling through London given recent terror alerts but that North Lands was pleased that that they had decided to travel after all and not be deterred.

Funding is available for artists working in Scotland to attend the classes and places are still currently available on the Cohn and Cocksedge/Jarman classes. Information can be obtained from North Lands Creative Glass - telephone 01593 721229 or email info@northlandsglass.com

The 2005 programme of master classes and conference have been supported by the Scottish Arts Council, Caithness & Sutherland Enterprise, The Highland Council, The Robertson Trust, The Jerwood Foundation, Corning Museum of Glass and the Bullseye Glass Company, USA.