Striking glass sculptures sparked by her heritage have earned Morgan Stockton a place in two prestigious exhibitions this summer.
Coiled: Morgan's latest collection
The De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) Design Crafts graduate will have her unusual work featured at the London Glassblowing Gallery – a leading studio for contemporary glass art - and at New Designers, one of the most important design events for emerging talent.
Inspired by the industrial architecture in her hometown of Birmingham, Morgan creates her sculptures by blowing hot glass into and onto steel wire moulds, resulting in unique pieces.
“Since graduating last year, my work has definitely become more sculptural,” said the 23-year-old.
“Originally, I used the steel wire as a tool to achieve a grid texture on my pieces. Now I tend to leave the steel in as part of the sculpture.”
Inspired by Birmingham's Rotunda building
Recently discovering that her great-great-grandfather was a glassblower at Chance Brothers in the West Midlands - a leading glass manufacturer and pioneer of British glassmaking technology dating back to 1824 - has given Morgan a new perspective on her craft.
She said: “I’ve always had a strong affiliation to Birmingham and its industrial heritage, which I thought was just because it’s my home, but to find out that glassblowing is in my blood means everything makes so much sense.”
Morgan is one of just 40 artists worldwide chosen to show work at the London Glassblowing Gallery as part of INSPIRED, an exhibition by the Contemporary Glass Society (31 May-15 June).
Her display piece was inspired by Birmingham’s Rotunda, a Grade II listed cylindrical high-rise building completed in 1965.
Morgan with one of her earlier pieces
“I count myself really lucky to have this opportunity to exhibit alongside some of the most talented artists in the world,” she said.
“I’m also very excited about being selected for New Designers One Year In, after being spotted for the opportunity at last year’s exhibition.”
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As a One Year In exhibitor (26-29 June), she will receive pre-show mentorship comprising business advice and guidance, as well as exposure to approximately 15,000 visitors, including potential employers, buyers and press.
She said: “I had such a great time exhibiting there last year as part of DMU’s stand. The cherry on top was being spotted by Mint, a highly respected interior design store, and contributing to its 20th anniversary exhibition called TRANS-FORM last September.
“This year I’ll have my own stand, which means I can show even more work, so who knows what opportunities it might lead to?”
Even before finding out about her heritage and choosing a university, Morgan knew she wanted to try her hand at working with glass.
“Not many universities offer the opportunity to work with hot glass, or to work with the range of materials available at DMU,” she said.
“When I looked around on an Open Day, I really liked the facilities and the fact that Design Crafts gives you free rein of all the workshops – that prospect really excited me.”
As well as working as a co-ordinator at The Gallery at DMU, Morgan is busy developing her body of work in the Red House Cone in Stourbridge, built in 1790. She hires space in what is one of only four glass cones remaining in the UK, operating as both a museum and workspace.
She is also a graduate member of Design Nation, an initiative providing tailored support and opportunities for designer makers at the start of their career.
Posted on Thursday 25th April 2019