Contemporary Applied Arts, London Glass Society of Ireland Contemporary Glass Society, UK Craft and Design Collective, Belfast
Alison Lowry is a glass artist who works out of her studio, ‘Schoolhouse Glass’ in Saintfield. Originally from a textile background, in 2008 she started working with glass and fell in love with it as an expressive yet challenging material. Since then she has won numerous awards including the Silver medal at the Royal Ulster Arts Club’s Annual Exhibition in 2010, the glass category at the Royal Dublin Show in 2009 and 2015, and the Warm Glass Prize in 2010 and 2011. This year she was selected to exhibit as part of ‘Emerge’- Bullseye Glass’ biennale competition for emerging glass artists- and picked up the Bronze award.
Alison specializes in the technique of Pate de Verre, which translated from the French means ‘paste of glass’. Pate de verre is an ancient glass casting technique dating back to Ancient Egyptian times. It involves using crushed glass packed tightly into hand built moulds. After two firings in the kiln the mould is broken away and discarded, leaving a thin walled vessel.
Random and interesting reactions can occur when certain types of glass chemically react with each other during the firing. By polishing the outer wall of the vessel Alison can reveal the complex structure and pattern created by these reactions. She also adds interest by embellishing the inner surface with precious metals, such as fine silver and 24ct gold.
These large scale vessels are ornate and elegant. She says, ‘What I am trying to do is to create ‘modern antiques'- statement pieces for the home. These works are grounded in craftsmanship and draw on traditional forms and techniques, yet are updated for the 21st Century; this I believe gives the works a timeless quality’.
Her pieces are held in many private and public collections around the world; most recently the National Museum of Ireland in Dublin purchased a piece for its Contemporary Applied Arts Permanent Collection. She also works to commission.