Recruiting for PhD in Glass and Ceramics

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Prof Petrie outlines the benefits of advanced degrees in the arts offered by the University of Sunderland.

Kevin Petrie, Leader of the UK University of Sunderland’s Glass & Ceramics program is in the US this week for the Toledo GAS Conference, popped into the Glass School for a quick visit. Kevin met with Washington Glass School instructors and artists, talking about the UK’s “Distance Education program”.  Kevin’s mission from the University is to get more PhD glass artists out there, and he will be talking at the Conference’s Tech Booth #17.

Erwin Timmers talks of sustainable design in glass to Prof Petrie.
Erwin talks of his process to create his colorful forms.

PhD In Glass at University of Sunderland

>Kevin Petrie, professor of Glass and Ceramics at the UK’s University of Sunderland will be coming to the Glass Art Society’s (GAS) Conference at Toledo to talk with people interested in studies in glass at the University. 

The University of Sunderlandhas the largest glass and ceramics department in Europe. It is also one of world’s best equipped studios for creative glassmaking. Specialist areas include: glass and print, waterjet cutting, and hot, kiln and architectural glass. (this past year, I was at Sunderland for my Fulbright Scholarship, and found everything about place to be incredible).


The University of Sunderland Glass Facility

The University of Sunderlandis based in the National Glass Centre, the center of excellence for glass in the UK, supporting the production and exhibition of contemporary glass within a research-rich learning environment. The Institute for International Research in Glass (IIRG) promotes and facilitates this research, developing the latest working methods and informing teaching at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels. (The idea of a doctorate in glass is soo appealing to me!)

From the Sunderland student brochure:

Students will be taught by international award-winning staff, who are all recognized professional artists, designers, curators and writers. You will also be offered real-world opportunities, including the chance to show your work in public exhibitions, undertake internships, work on live commissions, and enter competitions – all of which will help you to build your career.

We are a supportive creative community and encourage our students to become nationally, and internationally, networked during their time on the course. Our students have been selected for distinguished exhibitions such as the British Glass Biennale, Bombay Sapphire Glass Prize and the European Glass Context. Many of our graduates become independent artists with their own studios. Others are successful educators. A substantial number of our students are professionals who undertake doctorates to reflect on their work, advance creative practice and contribute to knowledge in the field of glass art.

Interested in more info about studying glass in an incredible facility? Professor Petrie will be available for advisory interviews at GAS, Tech Display Booth #17

Fulbright Scholars at University of Sunderland

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Tim Tate gets the class working in the kilns at the UK’s National Glass Center.


Our Fulbright schedule began to fill the days.The first workshop we held at the University of Sunderland’s National Glass Center: “Affecting Sheet Glass – Bas-Relief Imagery in Glass” was filled.
The technique of “dry plaster casing” was outlined, and firing schedules were converted from Fahrenheit to Celsius – along with converting all dimensions from imperial to metric. (Why did the US decide to not join the world in the 70′s when we were supposed to go all metricationed?)


Tim Betterton sets up the kilns for dry plaster casting.

After the firing, its like Christmas day as the students eagerly retrieve their kilnformed glass sculptures.

Removing the still warm glass from the kiln.

The fusing classes in the bas-relief method were a great success. It was great to work with students from many different levels at University, from foundation through PhD. 

We were able to meet a number of incredibly talented artists that were associated with the University and their work was so strong that we will post some of the work and profiles about the artists in each of the next few blog updates:

Kevin Petrie

Dr Kevin Petrie leads the Glass and Ceramics department at the University of Sunderland. Kevin studied Illustration at the University of Westminster and Ceramics and Glass at the Royal College of Art. He holds a PhD in ceramics and print from University of the West of England, Bristol. Kevin’s first book ‘Glass and Print’ established the crossovers between Glassmaking and Printmaking. The book forms the cornerstone of a period of research that established the cross over between two largely separate strands of creative activity. His second book, ‘Ceramic Transfer Printing’ draws together the great potential of print for ceramics. Kevin has written many articles and reviews for journals such as Ceramic Review and presented his work on glass, ceramics and print in Canada, Thailand, Hong Kong, Denmark, Germany, USA, Australia, and China. He was recently awarded a National Teaching Fellowship for his contribution to glass and ceramics teaching, in particular this relates to postgraduate at MA, MPhil and Ph.D levels.

Dr Petrie’s work often refers to the long tradition of graphic ceramic surface decoration at the same time as reflecting contemporary life.

St Pauls Church, kilnformed glass

Cell of Himself, Kiln form glass with printed inclusions, blown glass

Besides his own work as an artist, Dr Petrie is an author, lecturer, exhibition curator, and he is an authority and specialist on contemporary glass and ceramics matters. He has lectured at the following institutions: The University of the West of England, Bristol, The University of Westminster, London, Norwich School of Art and Design, Bath Central St. Martins School of Art and Design, London, Rajabhat Institute Changmai, Thailand, Australia National University, Canberra, Australia, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia, Sydney College of the Arts, Australia, Anla Glas, Denmark, Hong Kong Baptist University – Academy of Visual Arts.

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James Maskrey

If you are familiar with the first of the DC / Sunderland glass exhibition “Glass3″ that was held in Georgetown in 2008, you might have seen James Maskrey‘s work. His work has really transformed into haunting and ethereal work. Social situations, overheard conversations, observed interactions and personal experiences hugely inspire Jim’s work. Tall stories, elaborate hoaxes and peculiar facts, usually from a bygone era, are then translated into glass, often resulting in flamboyant narratives, theatrical compositions or simple objects with a twist. The series below are from a series based on the polar expeditions by Edward Wilson to collect penguin eggs.


The Worst Journey in the World, blown and hot sculptured glass details, 2011. Photo by David Williams

The Drayton Egg, blown and hot sculptured glass details, 2011. Photo by David Williams

Last Entry,Winter Journey, andThe Barrier, 2011, Blown and solid formed hot glass with printed glass inclusions.

Photos by David Williams

The works poetically and poignantly touches on themes of collecting and hubris. In the austral winter of 1911, Wilson led “The Winter Journey”, a doomed journey to the Emperor penguin’s breeding grounds at Cape Crozier to collect eggs for scientific study. The eggs were supposed to reveal the evolutionary links between dinosaurs and birds but their collection nearly killed the journey’s participants. Frozen and exhausted, they successfully collected three eggs and desperately exhausted they returned to Cape Evans, later describing this expedition “The Worst Journey in the World.”

James started working with glass in 1990. After graduating in 2000 with a Three Dimensional Design BA (Hons) degree in glass at The Surrey Institute of Art and Design he was appointed as Artist in Residence at the Surrey Institute. In 2001 James joined the Glass and Ceramics department at The University of Sunderland and graduated with an MA in Glass with distinction in 2004. Jim was recently named as one of the artists that will exhibit at the British Glass Biennale 2012.

Coming Next - London Affordable Art Fair & Imagery in Glass Class and featured Sunderland Artists: Jeff Sarmiento, Cate Watkinson and more!