James Lethbridge Glass

foto Kelly Mertens

James Lethbridge - Beeldhouwen - glaskunst

Born 1979, I grew up in Yorkshire, at the time when Margaret Thatcher (PM of the UK) choose to close the mining industry across the Uk. This caused not only the Miner’s Riots, but as a ‘knock on’ effect, dissolved communities, causing joblessness, social anxiety and deprivation. As a child, outdoor play was actively encourage. The choice of ‘playing field’ was somewhat dichotomous. I had a choice between the derelict, post apocalyptic land scape of the mines, filled with coal dust, slurry ponds, broken industrial buildings, broken outlandish, obsolete huge mechanical coal ripping machines or the vast rolling hills of the green arable farmlands of West Yorkshire. Filled with grazing sheep, golden corn and rape seed fields, ancient woodlands, Medieval bridleways and country estates, - not dissimilar to world of Austin’s Pride and Prejudice or to the description of J R R Tolkien’s ‘The Shire’. In the end, I fell in love with the natural world, as most children do. This early love of the natural world, translates itself into my work. Initially I chose a career in production ceramics, with a BA(hons) in 2001 and gaining an in depth knowledge of processes, particular focusing on the potter’s wheel. It was in 2003 that I was lured to study glass. This was to be a life changing moment as this new medium soon become my material of choice. Enthralled by the transparency and liquid nature of molten glass, repetitive throwing made way for a more experimental making process. In 2005, I applied to the Royal College of Art where I then developed my range of glass skills as well as greatly increasing my body of work, both aiding my confidence and belief in my chosen practice. “Since graduating, Lethbridge has developed a reputation for his unique artworks, creating one-off sculptural and lighting pieces. With an inventive approach to glass making, Lethbridge’s pieces are instantly recognisable and highly desired. His glass pieces often incorporate a multitude of glass thorns, shards and tendrils. The act of repetitious making has stayed a constant for Lethbridge but now with entirely different end results.” Vessel Gallery, London , UK The action of repetitious making is meditational. It calms me, enables me to gather a sense of achievement and also a cathartic sense of spiritual ‘completion’. During the time period of making, time itself seems to fly by and at the same time stands still, but within this, I usually engage in some form of self guided, existentialist dialogue. This can be anything from revisiting old conversations, debating past or current life events to contemplating the Corona Virus pandemic, to the reality of my own death or visions of my desires for the future. To date, my practice exists within a communal artistic group called ‘Archipel’. We are community arts group providing artistic events for the local residents. I share a space with approximately 50 other artists. In our personal practices, we are ‘mixed bag’ of artists, from wood workers, metal artists, audio visual artists, large scale installation artists to abstract expressionist painters, encompassing many nationalities and age groups. Our residence is in an old industrial unit, which was previously an old engineering factory. Its grim, dark and industrial aesthetic appeals to my history and within this space, my work becomes my personal, welcome juxtaposition. That is the stark, unpleasant, utilitarian architecture of a once thriving local industry, within the city limits of Antwerpen, verses my organic, botanical, transparent, surrealist glass creations, full of life and vibrancy. In other words, like the ‘Yin and Yang’, - within the darkness exists the light.

  Collectief Archipel, Slachthuislaan 23, 2060 Antwerpen

  0494 308673

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