GLORIOUS FUSED GLASS: GREGG ANSTON-RACE
PUBLISHED: 15:35 15 February 2016 | UPDATED: 12:43 30 August 2017
Cornwall fused glass artist Gregg Anston-Race has turned a lifelong fascination with glass into a hugely successful range of artworks
Fused glass artist Gregg Anston-Race has turned a lifelong fascination with glass into a hugely successful - and ever-changing - range of artworks
The first thing I notice about Greg Anston-Race’s glass sculptures is their texture. The colours are refined with pieces reflecting exploding blues, greens and earthy colours which suggest the immense depth that exists in the world around us. But I desperately want to reach out and touch the seductive curves which undulate across their surface.
Born in Truro, Gregg is a very proud Cornishmen, who admits he wouldn’t want to live anywhere else. His handmade kiln formed art glass, however, travels the world and sits in many people’s homes and in collections. His vessels and wall glass (which can measure more than a metre in size) shimmer with beautiful iridescences created by mineral inclusions formed by a process known only to Gregg and inspired by the lovely colours found in the copper ore mineral Bornite (also known as Peacock ore) in North Cornwall.
Now living in Launceston, he remembers dreaming of colourful liquids and glass in its raw forms as a child – and was always inspired by his antique dealer mother Donna, who kept a collection of marbles and was always bringing home interesting things’. His fascination led him to art college – which included textiles and ceramics – but not glass. That began after he bought a small kiln and began experimenting after completing his course.
It was a few years later that I got into glass,’ he remembers. And right away I thought: “this is the medium for me!”.
I began with a small kiln; began melting it, moulding it, shaping it and realised there was a lot of potential with it.’
We know that glass is created from blasting sand at high temperatures (but beware the sands on our beaches won’t melt below temperatures of 1700°C). And it is this alchemy of turning something so dry and dense in to liquid which is so fascinating. Glass is somehow defined by the liquid state – and although its end result is a hard solid structure – it somehow maintains a sense of that liquidity.
Ten years on and Gregg’s work can be found in more than 100 galleries throughout the UK through his studio Craft Fusion and Gregg is still experimenting with his unique technique (which is top secret, he tells me) that means his glass is fired multiple times and colours laid on top of each other. The end result is colour that burst through the surface. I am always experimenting,’ he admits. Everyday I will be trying something new. I will add things into the glass: sand from the local beaches, garden soil, leaves – and it can give an amazing effect. I am trying to do something different with a medium that has been around for a long time.’
There are no literal references within his work, but Cornwall continues to inspire him through its colours, its textures and the rocks and particles can find themselves into his work. Within some pieces there are fragments of the natural minerals buried deep in the ground in Cornwall which helped to create its rich mining history.
I love Cornwall with a passion,’ he admits. I am very much a Cornish boy. I have been all over the world and I wouldn’t live anywhere else in the world.
There’s nowhere like Cornwall – especially North Cornwall. We are on the edge of the moors and there are the beaches and it can be rugged and rough. I can pull so much from it. I love rocks [his sister is a geologist, he tells me, so it runs in the family]. My mum was always making us look down mines and we would break up old rocks and look for slivers of copper ore – and this has translated into my work.’
His work includes everything from coasters for under £10 to wall art and large vessels which can cost several thousand pounds.
The work is very much about the medium itself,’ he tells me. It’s a medium I can control and create something different and something unique every time.’
This article first appeared in Cornwall Life February 2016