Discovering an artist’s response to art

Silver,  gold, ivory, coconut shell, mother of pearl and nautilus shell; these are some of the materials used in the huge range of objects in the Welby collection. Curator Matthew Winterbottom gave us a tour of the finely crafted, highly decorated and often strange and unusual objects in the collection, collected by Michael Welby during the last century when they were unfashionable. Some were surprising drinking cups or decorative ornaments and many combined natural materials with fine, sometimes gilded, silverwork.

We then had the huge privilege of meeting artist Deborah Thomas who explained the thinking behind her stunning glass sculpture which she was commissioned to create in response to the collection. She described the design of the swirling shape and the use of pieces of green glass which linked with the objects on display. We handled the materials she uses- broken glass and strong wire, and saw examples of her drawings and the processes she uses. She told us fascinating stories about some of the projects she has worked on and we saw her sketchbooks. It was clear how passionate  and committed she is to her work. Thank you Matthew and Deborah for sharing your time and expertise with us!

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