Gillies Jones mark 25 years of glassmaking on the North York Moors with Danby show

Kate Jones sketching on the North York Moors. Picture: Tony Bartholomew

ROSEDALE Abbey glassmakers Gillies Jones are to mark 25 years of living and working in the North York Moors National Park by exhibiting at Danby’s Inspired By… Gallery this autumn.

Stephen Gillies and Katie Jones will present A Portrait Of Place from October 10 to November 9 in an exploration of the place they call home.

Gillies Jones have created glass from Rosedale Abbey since 1995, continuing a glassmaking tradition that started in the tiny village in the 16th century. On show from Saturday will be mostly new work that reflects the marks left on the landscape over time by geology, water, nature and human behaviour.

Stephen Gillies at work in the Gillies Jones studio at Rosedale Abbey. Picture: Tony Bartholomew

The couple work in harmony, glassblower Stephen creating the original forms that are then decorated by artist Kate, who uses a combination of sandblasting, wheel engraving and other techniques.

Some of Kate’s preliminary photos and drawings made on walks around the area will be on display too.

“The landscape of the North York Moors has long been an inspiration to artists,” she says. “Our exploration and ‘portrait’ of this landscape observes the geology, river systems and current land-management practices that leave specific marks. We map and observe the layers of human endeavour, both pre- and post-industrial, the marks etched into the land, overlaid and now being reclaimed by nature.

Stephen Jones and Kate Gillies outside their studio. Picture: Tony Bartholomew

“Just as changing light illuminates the landscape, light is integral to our work, animating our glass, revealing layers of colours and engraving. This landscape has evolved, has been sculpted and pressed into service and this is our snapshot in time, a celebration of the now.

“One certainty is that this landscape will change again as custodians of the land change, along with the ideas that inform the management of the world we all share.”

Partners in life and art, Stephen and Kate make their pieces just as glass was made before the industrial revolution: labour intensive and reliant on skills acquired over a long, international apprenticeship.

One of the Gillies Jones works on show from Saturday at Danby’s Inspired By…Gallery. Picture: Gillies Jones

Their design aesthetic draws inspiration from the elemental beauty of their rural surroundings and their traditional are practised by only a few glassmakers across the world.

This process involves the folding of different coloured glass bubbles over each other to produce complex multi-layered and coloured pieces.

Gillies Jones’s defiantly decorative work can be found in public and private collections nationally and internationally, and they also undertake commissions and lecture regularly, both in the UK and overseas.

A Gillies Jones bowl from this autumn’s exhibition. Picture: Gillies Jones

A Portrait Of Place forms the culmination of what should have been a full year of celebrations to mark the silver anniversary of Stephen and Kate’s glass-making partnership, but most had to be Covid-cancelled.

Full details are yet to be confirmed for a series of events associated with the Danby exhibition, but definitely Kate will lead gallery tours – each limited to ten visitors – on October 24 at 11am, 11.45am, 1.30pm and 2.15pm. Tickets cost £5 at:

The Inspired By…Gallery, at the Moors National Park Centre, Danby, is open from 10am to 5pm daily in October and from 10.30am to 4pm daily in November. The National Park Centre has received VisitEngland’s We’re Good To Go kitemark, an accreditation that affirms all facilities are adhering to the latest Government and industry Covid-19 safety guidelines.

Masks must be worn throughout the National Park Centre in line with those Government guidelines.

Arms and the man: A close-up of Stephen Gillies making glass. Picture: Tony Bartholomew