James Devereux’s Clovis Collection is the result of labored experiments by the artist to literally chip hot glass like stone. Having perfected this unusual technique, he produces breathtaking, monolithic objects with smooth lines juxtaposed with fractured edges. Creating these pieces in subtle tones places the focus on the texture and form of each component.
Devereux states: “A blow too hard would simply shatter the piece, too light a tap would crush the surface. After flame polishing, the meandering edges despite their appearance are not sharp, but smooth to the touch.”
Having worked with many prominent names within the industry in a host of roles including collaborating artist, facilitator, instructor and demonstrator, Devereux’s impact within British and international glass to date has been far reaching. Positioned as one of the most active glass artists currently working in the UK, it is the unique combination of abundant skills and technique with an eye for detail that has made him a highly respected and sought-after glass craftsman.
Starting in the industry at the age of 15 thanks to a work experience placement at Bath Aqua Glass, Devereux worked at a crystal factory making stemware, tableware and gifts. He subsequently studied glass for three years at Wolverhampton University before opening his first hotshop in the inspiring Wiltshire countryside. In 2009, Devereux took a job as the glass technician at the Royal College of Art (RCA) in London before attending the college as a student. He states: “RCA opened my eyes to everything else going on in glass, including new contacts and opportunities that remain at the core of my career.”
After leaving London in 2013, Devereux and fellow glass artist Katharine Huskie established a new studio together. Devereux and Huskie Glassworks is a custom-built studio dedicated to creating innovating and exciting glass for designers and artists from the UK and overseas. Over the years, Devereux and Huskie Glassworks has become known for large-scale glass sculpture that pushes the boundaries of the material. Devereux also sells glass tools and supplies through his business, Glass Toolbox. Visit https://www.glasstoolbox.co.uk.
Devereux and US artist David Patchen first met through social media and at the Glass Art Society’s (GAS) conference in Murano, but their unique collaboration didn’t officially begin until 2019 in San Francisco. United in harmony, their collaborative artworks combine Patchen’s murrine patterns and Devereux’s intrinsic forms. Making their first collaborative Clovis sculpture at a fundraising party and their second during a demo for hundreds of people at GAS Tacoma, their relationship continued during Covid with Patchen shipping pattern blanks from San Francisco to Devereux in the UK. Patchen makes murrine with color combinations he’s interested in exploring – cutting and arranging different pieces together to achieve the perfect mosaic for blowing. Devereux then uses these intricate patterns to sculpt and breathe life into the artwork.
Says Patchen: “My collaboration with James has been going strong over the past year. We began this project just before the pandemic and have completed a dozen sculptures without the benefit of working in the studio together. We communicate via text and email with me making the patterns in San Francisco and shipping James patterned murrine blanks (thick densly-patterned cups) which he heats up in his studio in England to create the finished sculptural forms. Aside from being distinctive and beautiful forms, a particularly interesting aspect of these is the hot-chipped edge. James creates this edge texture by carefully hammering the sculpture while the glass is hot on the punty, chipping away chunks of glass, exposing the interior and creating the scalloped edge. You can see a short video on my Instagram of James chipping the second Clovis we made in San Francisco at the beginning of our collaboration.”
Devereux is currently exploring a new series, Diodes, continuing his look at collectable obsolete objects. These works combine multiple materials, processes and skills as well as distorted Morse code to look at what we consider current or outdated technology or communication. Having just returned from Biot International Glass Festival, and travels to Sweden and Istanbul, the artist discusses his history and works in glass.