Stuart Akroyd is an award-winning studio glass designer-maker based in the UK. He creates forms in vibrant colours and organic shapes. Instantly identifiable his work possesses a sense of movement and grace within the solid form.
Stuart’s designs begin with inspiration from the world around him, after sketching out the initial ideas the next stage is experimenting with the hot glass and making 3D forms. These glass prototypes are then further refined to produce the final piece.
Stuart’s sculptural pieces titled ‘Intention’ are a perfect example of this; a solid stretched form encasing vibrant colours and presented on a steel stand.
These one-off pieces were inspired by the Skylon structure which became the symbol of the 1951 Festival of Britain (the celebration of British design during a period of post war hope and austerity, which was an incredibly creative time). Stuart wanted to reflect this in his new pieces. The form is made using Swedish techniques with his personal adaptations. The central jewel like core is cut open to expose this multitude of technical detail.
Stuart has been making glass for over 30 years. His glassmaking career began in the North East of England learning the basics on the BA(hons) course at Sunderland University, followed by a Post Graduate Diploma at the International Glass Centre, Brierley Hill. A stint as head maker at an established glass makers lead to starting his own business in 1991.
“As Stuart Akroyd Glass Designs I had a vision to break away from the standard designs I had been making as an employee, restrained by another person’s vision. I wished to create forms with asymmetry and a unique vibrancy. My creativity flourished and I immersed myself in the creative world not only through making, but also by teaching at the University and as a non-exec director at Arts Resource.”
As an established business and a recognised figure in the UK glass community Stuart wanted to expand his business, to make larger sculptural pieces and have independence from hiring hot facilities. This coincided with a move to Nottingham where a much larger studio gave him the opportunity to be more radical in his design.
Stuart has always involved himself with the wider world of craft and as a Fellow member of Design Factory he has been able to continue his professional development, as well as his creative one. Stuart is regularly involved in selection panels, mentoring and group exhibiting.
“It is due to the support of organisations such as Design Factory and UKTI that I have been able to move on a step and begin to establish an International reputation. Exhibiting on group and solo stands at Maison et Objet in Paris, and as part of a group exhibition in New York, lead to being winner of the first Design Factory International Excellence Award in 2015.”
Stuart continues to pursue new International markets and was selected to exhibit with the Crafts Council at Design Days Dubai in 2016 and 2017. He is a member of the Crafts Council Directory of Makers and the Contemporary Glass Society.