Many teachings describe sacred geometry as the blueprint of creation and the origin of all form. This ancient science explores and explains the energy patterns that create and unify all things, and reveals the precise way that the energy of creation organizes itself. It is said that every natural pattern of growth or movement comes back to one or more geometric shapes. Ian Chadwick expresses his homage to sacred geometry by kilnforming colored glass strips that are deconstructed and reconstructed into symmetrical patterns similar to those seen in the rose windows of cathedrals and mandalas.
Chadwick says: “The inspiration behind my glass work comes from a love of optical art, traditional pattern-forming and an interest in sacred geometry – in particular the meditation symbols known as mandalas. Mandalas contain many of the principles important in the esoteric practice of geometry, utilized by craftsmen for centuries in the design of cathedrals and stained glass windows. In my most recent work, I am embodying the essence of mandalas into the patterns present within each individual hand-made piece of glassware. The techniques I use are similar to mosaic work, each individual point of color is an individual piece of glass arranged in a manner which produces a kaleidoscopic, op-art effect. The combination of colors, which I carefully choose, are designed to complement the pattern formed within the glass.”
Born on the Isle of Wight and after moving to a few locations, Chadwick finished his schooling in Banchory near Aberdeen, Scotland. He graduated from Gray’s School of Art, Aberdeen, in 1994 with an honors degree in Fine Art specializing in sculpture. Final artworks produced for his degree show in 1994 utilized glass and plastics to create sculpture which had op-art qualities and were deeply concerned with geometry and symmetry – artistic interests that continue today. In 1996 the artist pursued his interest in glass and worked for a number of years at a stained glass studio in Scotland, eventually working as a freelance window designer and traditional glass painter.
In 2001, Chadwick moved to Timperley in Cheshire, where over the next two years he taught himself glass fusing and kiln-forming techniques. In 2003, the artist established a business producing traditional glass craft and kiln-formed glass art. Since then, he has developed an extensive portfolio of contemporary glassware, including items such as kaleidoscopes, glass bowls, glass platters, wall art, glass vases and other glass interior home wares. To survive lockdown, Chadwick launched a collection of smaller, more affordable bowls on his Instagram page. Initially planning to number each bowl CVD-1, CVD-2, up to CVD-19, the demand was so high that he is now working on CVD-72 and has a waiting list of over 50 people.
An internationally recognized kiln-formed glass artist and instructor, Chadwick is the winner of the Worshipful Company of Glass Sellers Award at the British Glass Biennale in 2019. He recently released a 30-minute YouTube tutorial, which attracted more than 10,000 views in 2 weeks. No longer viewable online, it is in the final stages of production and will be released by Bullseye Glass Co. later this year as part of the company’s new online teaching program. Attracting a loyal following among the US kiln-forming scene, Chadwick also has a strong collector base in the US boro glass scene with pieces of his work in the collections of well-known functional glass artists including Eusheen, Kaj Beck, Marcel Braun, Adam Reetz and Calmbo.
Chadwick’s ritualized process of making is employed to bring the essence of mandalas into the symmetrical glass patterns, which have become his unique aesthetic signature. As his work progresses, he continues to investigate different pattern forming techniques and new ways to engage with the viewer. He says: “The production of the patterns requires a high level of accuracy and patience. Once formed, they are fired in the kiln up to three times in total and go through extensive cold-working using diamond abrasives to ensure the best quality finish. Each piece of glass I manufacture is a unique work of glass art.”