Ceri Richards was the first artist to be photographed for what has become the Welsh Arts Archive, at his studio in Edith Grove in London, part of the Swansea friends of Dylan Thomas, ‘The Swansea Gang’ in 1966.Better known for his paintings, he is pictured here working on the designs for the window in the new Catholic Cathedral in Liverpool.
After working as a newspaper photographer for some thirty years and returning to live in Wales I started again photographing, with the support of The National Library of Wales, the Artists and Writers of Wales. Sir Kyffin Williams was first. I asked him for a list of six people that I should record for posterity, top of his list was Will Roberts of Neath, ‘ THE BEST PAINTER IN SOUTH WALES, ‘ he said. Top of Will’s list was John Petts, ‘SEE HIM SOON,’ was his reply. I photographed Petts in 1997 pictured here working on a stained glass window for a church in his studio in The Old Workhouse in Abergavenny.
Glenys Cour studied at the Cardiff College of Art, where Ceri Richards taught illustration. She was also taught by another Swansea artist Alfred Janes. She was appointed to the staff of the Swansea College of art by the then director of the department of stained glass Tim Lewis to teach colour research and the importance of its use in architectural glass. As in her paintings she brought to the stained glass the power of Colour, which has been passed on to her pupils who have become internationally recognised. Such as the Swansea based artists Alex Beleschenko, Amber Hiscott, and Catrin Jones to name but a few.
Tim Lewis, followed on from Howard Martin founder of the Department of architectural Glass at the school of Art as Director. Together they had brought Swansea to become of international importance. They expanded the range of processes, moving forward from the traditional ecclesiastical designs to more abstract forms. In 1992 he established his Glantawe Studios in Morriston.
Howard Martin founded the Welsh School of Architectural Glass at the Swansea School of Art in 1935.In 1940 with his cousin Hubert Thomas he opened the Celtic Glass Studios in Prospect Place, Swansea, near the present Dylan Thomas Centre.
John Edwards, on graduation, joined the staff of Celtic Glass in the early 1950’s as a talented painter- designer. Typical of his early progressive designs was the Good Shepherd in modern dress at Bettws Chapel, Abergavenny in 1978. He moved forwards preferring his geometric style to the traditional Victorian figurative windows seen in most chapels and churches.
Like Howard Martin, Bryan Evans was from Morriston and he often travelled to work with him. He also joined Celtic glass on Graduation from the School of Art in 1949. After Martin’s untimely death in 1972 Evans continued with the enthusiasm and encouragement he had from Howard Martin and became the Studios workhorse designer until his retirement in 1991. I visited him in 2019, at his home in Morriston, with some of his cartoons and designs.
These words are from: A Vision Fulfilled, The story of Celtic Studios. And Swansea’s architectural glass tradition. By Maurice Broady, Published by West Glamorgan Archives.
Alexander Beleschenko was born in 1951 in Corby, Northamptonshire of Ukranian parents. He studied at Winchester, and Norwich schools of Art, The Slade and the Swansea School of Architectural Glass at the Swansea College of Art. Alex is a prolific and internationally acclaimed artist. On his graduation in 1979 he worked part time at Celtic studios as well as teaching at the college. Initially he set up on his own studio in Exeter, but then returned to live and work in the Hafod. Swansea had become the centre of a new wave of creative contemporary artists, other graduates set up their own studios. Alex was at the hub of this movement with his work seen worldwide. One example here is the centre piece of the debating chamber at the Welsh Assembly Senedd building
David was born in Nottingham in 1952. Studied at Sheridan College, Ontario, returned to study at the Welsh School of Architectural Glass in Swansea. 1975-77, and The University of London, Architecture. Teaching both in Canada and Wales. Since 1981he has worked on joint projects with Amber Hiscott. In 2009 Gomer Press Published a book of his photographs ‘Gower’ with words by the poet Nigel Jenkins.
Born in Swansea Amber Hiscott graduated from The Welsh School of Architectural Glass in 1975, she studied with the German glass artist Ludwig Schraffrath. Setting up her own studio in Gloucester Place she was part of the group of Glass artists who became internationally important and known for their contemporary use of Glass from the 1970’s onwards. She worked on small and large scale projects with her bold abstract colours and movement, joining David Pearl to form Hiscott-Pearl.
She is photographed here at home in Sketty. Below is part of the Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff.
Catrin Jones, was born in Cardigan in 1960 and now lives and works in the heart of The Gower peninsular. After graduating from the Welsh School of Architectural Glass in Swansea she established The Gaslight Studios with four fellow graduates in 1982. Her work involves, drawing, painting, sand blasting and acid etching, and has been collected and exhibited in Europe, Japan and North America, including The V&A in London, and numerous international commissions.
Chris Bird Jones
Chris Bird Jones lives and works in Swansea and studied at the Welsh School of Architectural Glass in Swansea under Tim Lewis and a Masters at The Royal College of Art, London. She was head of Glass at Wrexham and Wolverhampton Universities and returned to Swansea where in 2012 she left as Director of the Masters programme to follow her own arts practice.
Her recent exhibition of spoon like forms ‘We are all fragile’ at The Mission Gallery, in Swansea has sadly been postponed by the current viral epidemic. He work is known internationally. She was recently in India with fellow glass artists, Amber Hiscott and Catrin Jones.
Katie Allen lives and works in Swansea. She produces beautiful, delicately crafted painted glass that reflects in intricate patterns the natural world, influenced after a trip to India in 2006. She has exhibited in London, Bristol and Wales. In 2015 she was commissioned to produce glass for the new Outpatients Department at Morriston Hospital
Rodney Bender was born in Australia in 1978. He studied at the Welsh School of Architectural Glass, Swansea, he became Head of Department, and in 1999 introduced the Masters programme. In 2001 he left to form his own company, Innovative Glass Products, a good name for a company that designs and manufactures products for the public and private sectors worldwide. In 1985 he completed two windows for StMary’s Church in Swansea, The Welsh Guards Falklands Memorial. Rodney lives in Swansea and works from his workshop in Clydach.
Catherine Brown is Programme Director at the Swansea School of Art, Department of Glass and Ceramics. She has been teaching for eighteen years, as well as developing her interest in contemporary glass and ceramics techniques, particularly kiln formed glass and the screen printing process.
Caroline Rees is known for her sand blasted architectural work, which she has been doing since 1998, with many important commissions throughout the country. Living in the Mumbles she also creates intricate black and white paper cuts inspired by the local coastal landscapes.
Lisa Burkl trained at the School of Architectural Glass in Swansea, where she also taught. She also runs classes with students with special needs.