Such is Peter Layton ’s contribution to glass art that it is difficult to know where to start; how to condense more than half a century of boundary-pushing, skill, bravery and expertise. True to say his impact is noted by both critic and layman alike for he has been at the forefront of British studio glass since the 1970s and has contributed more than most to its promotion and burgeoning success.
Indeed, such is Peter’s commitment to the craft that he’s dedicated almost as much time to nurturing others – developing the skills of the next generation by providing a truly unique environment for them to flourish. In the last 40 years scores of talented glassmakers have worked under his tutelage.
One of Peter’s contemporaries, the renowned glass artist Louis Thompson wrote that Peter actively supports our professional development and personal practice and values the significance of this creative mix and exchange. His faith that we will make bold and courageous choices underpins the creative energy that flows through the studio, and is one of the cornerstones of the studio’s philosophy.
As a potter based in California during the mid-1960s, Peter felt that he was part of the clay movement known as abstract expressionist ceramics, which was an offshoot of the abstract expressionist school of painting. . The spontaneity of action painting – emphasising the importance of process, material and gesture – chimed exactly with his own work in clay and later with hot glass. Pollock, for example, was painting a moment in flux, and that’s what glassmaking is: about – a frozen moment of decision and discovery, recording controlled chance and drama. The splashes and dollops of a Pollock are so right for glass. This captures so much of what we see in Peter’s work.