Naomi Brangwyn glass artist

32 new pieces of stained glass art inspired by Norfolk seascapes and landscapes.

Every artist works in a medium, such as oils, watercolour, charcoal, stone or bronze. Naomi Brangwyn’s preferred medium is glass – stained glass. If those words suggest solemn church windows, then think again. Naomi’s pieces are lively, imaginative, a breath of fresh air – and perfectly scaled for a domestic setting.

 

Many of them evoke the landscapes and seascapes of East Anglia – she has lived in Suffolk since the 1980s, and on its coast since 2001. “Moving to a home by the sea was significant for both my life and for my artistic identity,” says Naomi. “It was a time for new beginnings – and one of those was my work with glass. Norfolk in particular inspires me with its unspoilt nature,” she continues. “It’s full of hidden secrets. You go round a corner in the road and a new view unfolds. The county’s vast skies dictate the mood as the light shifts in intensity and the colours change ... energetic, calm or reflective.”

 

She does not, however, seek to portray specific locations: “It is more about using my imagination to capture an experience,” she says. “ ... A fun day on the beach with the warm sun and breeze on your cheeks, and lunch in the beach hut ... A solitary walk with the sand between your toes ... Searching for shells in an inlet ... Taking an evening walk and discovering a patch of reeds gently swaying by a pool.

 

“It’s fascinating to take something that moves and changes and to capture its spirit in something as still and delicate as a piece of glass,” she continues. “I never cease to be intrigued by the process of talking this hard, flat, brittle material and transforming it into sky or water, or something as soft and delicate as a field poppy.”

 

Always exploring and always experimenting, Naomi uses traditional stained glass techniques, but produces art that is, as she says, “a unique combination of glass, lead and nature”.

 

She does not make the glass itself, but searches it out from specialist outlets around the UK. Much of the glass is manufacturered in the United States, and some of it is hand-mixed in its molten state, which produces specific tonal and textural effects.  Its colours and patterns further spark Naomi’s imagination (“Some glass just cries out to become a sunset, surf, or a calm sea,” she says) as she sets about creating her pieces, using a bold, graphic style, avoiding formality and symmetry and always aiming for spontaneity.

 

Often, she will literally add an extra dimension by layering the glass – and by integrating pieces of decorative metal or found objects such as shells and pebbles. Engraving can also play a part. All this means that each of her pieces is different – this is art rather than design – and each is individually signed.

 

Prior to specialising in glass, Naomi – who studied at Reading Art College and Islington Institute – had been active in textiles and photography.  “After training in fine art, I experimented with different media and techniques. It took a year or two for me to find my way with glass, but I finally developed my own style. I don’t think there is anyone out there who works in quite the same way.”

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Naomi’s work is well known in East Anglia, and has proved consistently popular with visitors to The Gallery Norfolk since it opened in 2012.

 

The gallery’s owner, Polly Miller, explains that: “This is our first exhibition with Naomi, though her work has become closely associated with The Gallery Norfolk. The pieces we have chosen draw inspiration from Norfolk and its scenery, which is very much in keeping with the gallery’s ethos. With prices ranging from £30 to £395, small-scale pieces will be on show beside some quite ambitious and spectacular works. The great thing is that each of them will be right for someone’s home and that they open up new possibilities for display ... Yes, you can hang them on a wall, but you can also make a feature of them in a window. In a sense they are made of light, and each one offers its own ever-changing play of colours, lines and textures, so they really do bring a space alive.”

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