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Charlotte Wilkinson Glass

by Angie Boyer

Published: May 2018

Winner of the craft&design Best Newcomer Award at the British Craft Trade Fair 2018

"BCTF was my first time exhibiting at a trade fair independently, and the first time displaying my holograms; needless to say I was a little apprehensive about how my work would be received! However, the feedback I got was overwhelmingly positive and supportive of my new venture into the world of holography with many viewers intrigued about the creative potential of this technology. I look forward to opportunities in the future to present my developments in this field and to introduce holography into the craft industry.  

The fair itself was well organised and all the work on show was of a brilliant standard. The exhibitors were so supportive of each other and it was a fantastic opportunity to expand our networks with other creative people."        

Glass is a fascinating material whatever state it is in, whether liquid or solid, it has stunning qualities and seems to spark something quite unique in the imagination of everyone who works with it. And so it is with Charlotte Wilkinson, as I was to discover when I talked with her at BCTF in April this year - Charlotte's inspiration must surely be unique and is most certainly intriguing!

"I'm interested in images from inside the human body," explains Charlotte, when I ask her about the inspiration for her Brain series and Blood series of work. "Microscopy medical imaging intrigues me. MRI scans of my father's brain and of my own body, images of my own blood - I am drawn to these captivating images as they reveal insights into the human body that would otherwise be unseen; the precision of our structures and the patterns of our cells and organs is beyond fascinating to me. 

"When developing the Brain series of sculptures, I was mesmerised by the evolving form of the brain as each scan is viewed in quick succession. I use a technique of manipulating colour that is reminiscent of the actions used in my drawings, as well as creating folds and undulations, much like those of the brain itself.

"I created my Blood series of vessels during my residency at De Montfort University, based on Scanning Electron Microscope images of my own blood. Playing the role of a facilitator, I am intrigued to let the heat and weight of the glass dictate how the piece evolves when left to hang, using gravity as an essential tool in the creation of their final form." 

Colour plays a major role in Charlotte's beautifully crafted sculptures and jewellery. "I am drawn to vivid colour and pattern and love using it in my work, I often layer and blend colours to create depth in the glass, whilst also exploiting the optic qualities of the material. Such great things can be done at the cold working stage to bring the colours out and then finishing with a high shine polish."

I was curious to know what first led Charlotte to working with glass, a material that can produce such stunning results, and yet is unique in the fact that the artist, when working at the all-important hot glass stage, can never actually touch, feel and mould the material with their hands - the one aspect of making that craftspeople are generally most associated with!

"I never really thought I would be a glass artist," she laughs, but I was greatly inspired by the enthusiasm of our technician at college, she had a real passion for working with glass and although it is physically challenging, it's also hugely exciting, there's nothing else like it!"!

When judging for our award at BCTF, Paul and I consider a number of different aspects of each stand - the exhibitor's skills in design and making, how they present themselves and their work, their pricing structure, how the space has been used, and a whole lot more, including what their plans might be for the future of their work.

The quality of Charlotte's glass sculptures and jewellery is exceptional, her source of inspiration is highly original and intriguing, but most of all her plans for the future have massive potential. As she explained to us and buyers at BCTF, she is currently carrying out research for her PhD into working with holographic images, taking them into her glass sculptures and jewellery and creating work that is truly original and unique.

Charlotte already has some memorable experiences as a glass artist, from exhibiting at New Designers at the start of her career just a few years ago, to demonstrating in the Glass tent at Art in Action, exhibiting at a number of prestigious events and, in 2016, receiving the 'Distinction Award for New Licentiates' from The Society of Designer Craftsmen. We wish her great success for the future and very much look forward to seeing the results of her research - perhaps with new holographic work at BCTF 2019?

Angie Boyer


“Charlotte Wilkinson’s glass epitomises the exceptional craftsmanship and design skills that we look for when judging for our award at BCTF. To discover that the inspiration for her perfectly formed sculptures is medical imaging, was absolutely intriguing - her Brain Series and Blood Series have fascinating stories to tell. We very much look forward to seeing Charlotte’s work develop alongside her PhD research into the use of holograms, taking glass into new territories with untold possibilities.” Angie and Paul Boyer, Judges' statement at BCTF 2018.

Images Nigel Essex


Contemporary Glass Society

craft&design Best Newcomer Award at BCTF

Congratulations to Charlotte Wilkinson! We'll tell you more about Charlotte and her spectacular glass in our May issue of craft&design Online!

craft&design Highly Commended Newcomer Award at BCTF


We were delighted to present our Highly Commended Newcomer Award to Rouaida Boullier ROUAIDA.COM for her highly original range of jewellery. Find out more in our May issue of craft&design Online!

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© Copyright 2018 PSB Design & Print Consultants Ltd. P.O. Box 5, Driffield, East Yorkshire, YO25 8JD

"So long, and thanks for all the fish"

After very many years of craft&design we've decided that we'd like to retire and so in 64 days we will close the craft&design website, including craft&design Online and the craft&design Selected Makers and Craft and Design Month websites. We've had a brilliant 35 years and would like to thank all our readers, advertisers, writers, contributors and website visitors for their support throughout that time. Our very best wishes to you all for the future - Angie and Paul.