Scotland glass legacy celebrated in year-long event

EDINBURGH, Scotland — In 2010, 400 years of glassmaking is being celebrated in Scotland with a whole year of events. This announcement gives you the first news of the program.

An international conference will take place at Edinburgh College of Art Oct. 1-4, 2010. In addition to a wide variety of speakers, there will be three days of demonstrations for specialists and the general public, bringing the magic of glass to everyone. Scottish glassmakers will be showcasing their work to an international audience during this event.

Every museum and gallery in the country has been contacted and they are being encouraged to mount exhibitions of their Scottish glass collections during the year. Several pledges of support have already been made by some of the most important museums in the country.

A Web site, www.Scotlandsglass400.co.uk, has been established specifically for the anniversary. And a forum for public discussion is on the Scotland’s Glass Web site www.Scotlandsglass.co.uk

A book about Scottish glass is being published. Written by Brian Blench (formerly Head of Decorative Arts in Glasgow Museums) and Shiona Airlie, it is believed to be the first general history of Scottish glass aimed at the general reader. Fully illustrated, it will encourage readers to tour the country and explore the Scottish glassmaking heritage for themselves.

A brochure is being printed to show every place in Scotland where one can see glass: not just museums, but buildings, makers and possibly archaeological sites. Every building included will be encouraged to open its doors to the public during 2010.

This event is unique in Scotland. It is ambitious and exciting. Please keep in contact at the Web site mentioned earlier to receive updates and news as events develop in the coming months.

About the Organizers

Shiona Airlie studied history of art at Edinburgh University and then took a postgraduate diploma in art gallery and museum studies at the University of Manchester. She worked as exhibitions officer in Edinburgh before moving to Glasgow to set up the touring exhibition program there. The daughter of a glassmaker, her final post in Glasgow was as curator of the Dutch and the Glass collections. She left that post to become the first Director of the National Glass Centre in Sunderland. She retired due to ill health in 1998. She now maintains her interest in glass by contributing to www.Scotlandsglass.co.uk, and has volunteered her expertise to assist in the 2010 celebrations. She also writes on Sino-British history and has published two books and numerous papers on the subject, as well as many biographical dictionary entries. A third biography has recently been commissioned from her.

Frank Andrews’ background is in electronics, publishing and commercial computer software for global companies. In 1984, his research into Scottish glass led to the formation of a collectors club, which published six newsletters and, in turn, to him co-authoring Ysart Glass (1990), a book about decorative glass made by the Spanish Ysart family in Perth from 1924 to 1964. Since the late 1990s, Frank has been an information provider for glass collectors building the encyclopedic Web site www.Ysartglass.com. For the last two years, he has been creating the Scotland’s glass Web site as a homage to all involved in the world of glass but with Scottish roots. The intention that the site be a community initiative is slowly being realized, as more people get actively involved through their common interest. In 2005, he organized a successful conference in Perth that explored the impact of the Ysart family on the Scottish Glass industry.

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