three hundred years of collectable glass in one day

The Cambridge Glass Fair


An interview with
Layne Rowe

Layne Rowe is an extremely talented studio glassmaker who has exhibited at the Cambridge Glass Fair many times over the years. After a period at London Glassblowing alongside Peter Layton among others he left in 2001 to set up his own studio in Brazil, 'Crystalaria Guanabara'. On his return to the U.K. he established the Layne Rowe Glass Studio in Knebworth, Herts. He rejoined the London Glassblowing team in 2005.

He has taken part in exhibitions in both the U.K. and abroad and received various awards.

He specialises in blown work to which he brings a unique twist.


Layne Rowe

When and how did you become interested in making glass ?

When I was a child my parents showed interest with a small collection of glass. I remember sharing in that interest.

During my studies at Shephalbry Art College in1990 I found information on contemporary glass. These images alone excited me enough to search for a degree course with hot glass facilities. Lancashire University was where I discovered my passion.

What sort of glass do you collect personally, if any?

The glass I have is from a journey. My collection is small but this is probably because I have travelled light until recently!

I have pieces of significance from fellow glass makers and the most interesting are those with imperfections.

What is the most special/interesting piece that you own or have made?

What is special for others is not so special for me but I do have some old pieces that hold memories.

Some of the unpredictable experiments (or happy accidents) are often the most interesting. It is never the pieces that I spend a lot of time perfecting.

Do you have collections of anything other than glass?

Music, shells, screws, nuts and bolts, odds and sods.... Most of my collections have never lasted. How many things make a collection? And now you’ve reminded me, I should get rid of some of those.

Are there any particular styles, periods or designers that inspire you more than any other?

I can’t say that there are. I find inspiration in a great variety of things. Nature is my biggest inspiration.

Which are the best and worst aspects of being an exhibitor and a maker?

Practising what I love is the best aspect, including:

Making; creating.

Being able to see results quickly and having something to show for it.

Giving help and pleasure to others either by knowledge or giving something of beauty.

Exhibiting can give me a sense of accomplishment.

Progression and recognition.

Having the opportunity for variety in my life; making glass is not a third of what I do.

The financial struggle and lack of recognition are the worst aspects.

What was the best piece of advice that you were given when you started making glass?

If I had six hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend four hours sharpening the axe. It’s not about making things perfectly, it’s about correcting them.

What advice would you give anyone just starting to make glass?

Not to be afraid of glass as a material; watch, persevere and above all enjoy what you do.

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