Peter Layton


My approach to my work is exploratory and my pieces seek to express the magic of glass, its sensuality and fluidity. As an inveterate beachcomber, much of my early work was inspired by shells and pebbles, lichen patterns, found objects and places visited, and as a former potter I was as concerned with texture and the tactile qualities of glass as I was with form, colour and transparency.

Over the past few years, I have taken inspiration from painters whose work I love, moving to a more sculptural and painterly approach to vessel making, in which the flattened form becomes a canvas for strong gestural mark making and bold colourways. In my Paradiso series, inspired by Howard Hodgkin, combinations of opaque and transparent colour form the backdrop to dynamic, contrasting striations that command the foreground. My series seem to take on a life of their own, growing and developing organically in unexpected and often unforeseen directions.

I enjoy the challenge of working to a theme and my recent series, Burano, began as a homage to the extraordinary skill and creativity of the Muranese glassmakers. For centuries, they led the world in their field and I wanted to explore their idiom in personal sculptural forms. In my pieces, the complex patterns and graphic qualities of the lace-like effects that enfold the coloured bubble at the heart of these vessels draw inspiration from both the historic traditions of filigree Venetian glassmaking and the lace-making tradition of neighbouring Burano.

Free blowing demands involvement and attention to detail. Every piece is a challenge and an adventure and you never know exactly what you have created until you open the annealing kiln and see how a piece has turned out. I love that moment of surprise!

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