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Posted 10.07.17

Students present exhibition celebrating 50yrs of Dartington Crystal

By Sarah Packer

Students on their second year of our BA (Hons) Design Crafts, BA (Hons) Jewellery and BA (Hons) Ceramics & Glass programmes held an exhibition of works celebrating the 50th anniversary of Dartington Crystal.

Based in North Devon, Dartington Crystal is one of only a few crystal brands still producing in the UK and is also the only working hand-made tableware producing crystal factory left in Britain.

Our student’s exhibition, entitled Vitreous, took place at Dartington Hall as a one-day event in April 2017, with work exhibited in both the Ship Studio and also in the Craft Shop, part of the Shops at Dartington.

“I was so impressed with the work for the exhibition, the students really did ‘pull it out of the bag!’" — Hilary Green, Head of Design at Dartington Crystal

Exploring the hidden stories associated with Dartington Crystal, the influence of its Scandinavian heritage and the evolution of design and production methods over a 50-year span, the students’ work represented their experiences of Dartington Crystal, gleaned through company visits, individual and group research.

Opening night saw students, staff and the public celebrate 50 years of Dartington Crystal reflected in our students work.

The work on show also reflected the student's personal interests and ambitions as designer/makers or conceptual practitioners, with a desire to continue to develop the skills and innovations encapsulated in the legacy of Frank Thrower, creator and chief designer of Dartington Glass.

Following the exhibition, Dartington Crystal offered one student the opportunity of a week's work experience at Dartington Crystal for the student work that best answered the brief. Chosen by Hilary Green (Head of Design) and Richard Halliday (Commercial Director), at Dartington Crystal, the prize went to Katherine Howes for her piece ‘Lapland Rosebay’. 

The runners up were ‘Symbolising Dartington’ by Alice Antliff and ‘Optic Mould Light’ by Rachel Ronnie.

Katelyn Mikkola's 'Spoons' - Katelyn is an exchange student from Emily Carr University, Vancouver.

Hilary said, “I was so impressed with the work for the exhibition, the students really did ‘pull it out of the bag!’ The exhibition as a whole worked very well.”

She also highlighted particular student work: “Sonia Popiolek’s ‘Liberating the Hart’ and Bev Dyson’s ‘The Eternal Bubble’ both stood out for the complexity of the work and the success of the end results, they both tell the story of the pieces beautifully, the workmanship it tremendous.

“Katelyn Mikkola’s ‘Spoons’ also struck a chord with me, simple yet so evocative and well-executed. Hannah Lawrence and Sam Ritte’s ‘When In Rome’ is monumental and very successful in getting right to the core of our factory’s reason for being - very clever.”

Richard Halliday concluded, “It was a good craft element for us to be involved in for our 50th Year programme and thank you to everyone involved.”