Layton, Peter (11 of 22) National Life Stories Collection: Crafts Lives

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  • Recording date

    2014-11-24, 2014-12-18, 2015-01-07, 2015-01-13, 2015-01-19, 2015-03-02, 2015-03-09, 2015-03-16, 2015-04-13

  • Recording locations

    Interviewee’s home in Worcester Park and studio in London

  • Interviewees

    Layton, Peter, 1937- (speaker, male)

  • Interviewers

    Cornford, Frances (speaker, female)

  • Abstract

    Part 11: [Session six: 2 March 2015] Difficulties of selling glass; PL showing iridised glass at Casson gallery; comments on Pan Henry; remarks on craft galleries; Comments on Adam Aaronson’s (AA) Coleridge gallery and AA becoming a glassmaker. [10:15] PL as chair of British Artists in Glass (BAG); symposia organised. PL taking glass round to galleries in car; organising open days at the studio; pricing. [15:27] Dealing with galleries; glass a poor relation to ceramics; good customers including Alicat in Richmond and Casson Gallery; Coleridge gallery developing collectors but rent going up; galleries taking a long time to pay. PL also selling to Liberty, Harrods. Harrods as very fussy not paying for months. Remarks on working with stores. [24:55] Getting work into Liberty. Finding inspiration from watching water on Thames and from beachcombing. [28:40] PL not feeling that there was an explosion of interest in glass. Mini-explosion after 1976 symposium in which glass departments set up round the country; Charlie Bray (CB) in Sunderland as creating glass department and National Glass Centre; comments on CB’s work; PL working with CB at BAG. Working on early stages of establishing glass, mentions Peter Tysoe, Sam Herman; Martin Hunt and John Cook as creating International Glass Symposium in 1976. Uphill battle to interest British public in glass, as compared to US scene; British interest in antiques; attempts at Stourbridge and Dartington to bring in new glass artists, also mentions Isle of Wight and Caithness glass. Struggle to get interest in glass, London Glassblowing as instrumental. [37:34] Dan Klein (DK) as a champion of glass in 1990s; DK also championing glass engravers. PL as an honorary member of Worshipful Company of Glass Sellers and London Glassblowing hosting their awards exhibition one year; PL matching them with Glass Biennale in Stourbridge; London Glassblowing giving prize for emerging talent. [44:53] Other champions of glass including Coleridge gallery, BAG; international champions, mentions Eisch in Germany, Willem van Heusen in Holland, Finn Lindbergh [Lynggaard] in Denmark who established museum in Ebeltoft. Importance of museum curators, mentions Hugh Christianssen in Copenhagen; Eisch’s glass museum in Frauenau; importance of Thomas Beuchner at the Corning Museum; Tokako Sano creating glass symposia in Japan; PL also going to symposia in Russia, Switzerland and France. Comments on international show in Rouen, France where PL and Simon made suspended column. [51:43] Remarks on Crafts Council; importance of Jerwood Prize. [53:16] PL discovering new techniques, mentions acid etching; Anna Dickinson introducing PL to etching with sugar acid. Studio glass movement as sharing techniques rather than keeping them secret. Importance of PL of tactility in work. Remarks on etching. PL writing a book on Glass Art which took 12 years; isolation of writing. [01:02:20] Comments on Novy Bor symposia in Czechoslovakia; people attending; people from US and internationally attending. PL making glass pyramid which made him well known in Czechoslovakia, Russia and internationally. PL joining with Simon Moss to make architectural work in 1986, using modular methods. [01:12:18] Pyramid now in Lemburg Castle collection. Coming back to studio after symposia as coming back to earth. [01:14:10] Challenges of running a studio; problems of creating a market for glass; PL easily distracted and travelling, setting up exhibitions, involved in BAG and teaching as well as running studio; others in studio including Siddy Langley who came through weekend classes run at studio, Karen von Drehle, Patrick Stern. Further comments on champions of glass. RCA as important place for glass; graduates who emigrated to US including Clifford Rainey, Peter Aldridge. Stephen Proctor, originally an engraver, going to Austrialia. Nucleus of people in Stourbridge including Keith Brocklehurst, David Prittock. Comments on people at The Glasshouse. [01: 21:37] PL’s studio run like a collective; profit-sharing from sales plus basic pay; PL running things democratically; people staying with PL for years. Assistants getting hourly rate and having opportunity to use facilities. Remarks on different deals, mentions Layne Rowe. How people came to studio; inviting Anna Dickinson as knowing about electro-forming; people at studio going on to study, mentions Bruce Marx, Louis Thompson, Marie Holm. [01:32:26] Division of assistants time. PL deciding direction of studio; gallery now deciding some direction since Ann [wife] took over running business side in last 3/4 years. Taking people on to work at studio.

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