Stunning Glass at ArtSpring Gallery


Stunning Glass at ArtSpring

Ever since ArtSpring opened its doors in Tonbridge the gallery has shown a variety of glass work in a range of sizes, styles and techniques.

Glass is such a fascinating medium, offering a wealth of expression ranging from the decorative to the artistic, from the small scale of creating glass jewellery to large wall hung panels and free-standing sculptures for indoors and the garden.

The three glass artists currently exhibiting at ArtSpring met at Kent Adult Education in Tonbridge. Sharing a love of glass and the exploration of new ideas, Paul and Hilary decided to join the art collective as founding members and Hildegard took on the role of chair of Tonbridge Art Collective.

Hilary Shields came to working with glass having completed a City and Guilds Diploma in Ceramics, while looking after a young family. She was drawn to glass by the vibrant colours, having been inspired by visiting the Dale Chihuly exhibition at Kew in 2005. Since then she has enjoyed learning a whole new set of processes and techniques, with clay still playing a role in mould making.

Hilary Shields, Beach Ripple Platter

Although based in Kent, she spends a number of weeks each year on the Fife coast in Scotland and takes inspiration from the coastline, plant-life and landscape there. She makes moulds of the ripples in the sand or impressions of plants and enjoys transforming a sheet of hard, sharp glass into something tactile and organic.

Hilary Shields, Grey Allium Panel

As a small boy Paul Chave’s grandmother would take him to visit museums, where he became fascinated by early Egyptian and Greek artefacts. Especially vivid African tribal masks full of drama instilled memories that have stayed with him to this day.

Paul’s interests in architecture and design combined with a background in photography and graphic design form the foundation for his three dimensional work. A lot of his pieces have a contemporary modernist feel, whilst others are humorous and playful sculptures to delight. He uses a variety of materials, predominantly fused Spectrum glass from Mexico, stone, concrete, slate and marble to make birds, heads and geometric forms.

Paul Chave, Glass Heads & Sculpture

Hildegard Pax came to the medium of glass from a background in interior architecture. A fascination with colour and light and a love of pattern combine in her exploration of this unique medium to result in a varied body of work, ranging from glass jewellery to 2D wall-based works.

Hildegard Pax, Glow Necklace

Hildegard creates modern compositions of colour, and qualities of glass such as reflection and transmission, transparency and opacity are worked into the overall composition. Reflected and transmitted colours of the dichroic glass meet and mix, creating an ethereal colour field space within the work. Her techniques of working with the medium include sandblasting and UV bonding. Her artworks have been exhibited in London and the South East, as well as in recent shows in Germany, New York, Chicago and Miami.

Hildegard Pax, Crevice VII, Dichroic Glass, Plaster. 40x40cm, white frame

Take time out to visit the gallery and discover more about this fascinating medium and the wide range of art on display.

ArtSpring Gallery, 167 High Street, Tonbridge TN9 1BX. Tel: 01732 365924;
email:; social media at @artspringallery; website: Opening times: Tues to Sat 10:30-17:00, open other times by appointment. Nearest car park: Kinnings Row, Tonbridge TN9 1NP.

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