Summer Symposium

We have been delighted to welcome students from Alberta College of Art and Design, Montana State University & Rochester Institute of Technology for their 9-day Summer Symposium, 24 June to 2 July, along with their professors Natali Rodrigues, Tad Bradley and David Schnuckel and Facilitator Jane Bruce.

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They’ve been out and about visiting sites around Caithness, working hard in the Studio and enjoying getting to know the village and the locals. We hope to see you back in Lybster very soon.

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Jon Rees, Rochester Institute of Technology student:

“The journey to a new place far from home can be a daunting one.  You never know quite what to expect.  The town of Lybster and North Lands Creative Glass are true gems in the weathered landscape of Northern Scotland.  There are two things that I find really special about them; the place and the people.

The landscape in and around the town is spectacular.  From the weather hewn cliffs of the many harbors and beaches to the stone Cairns at Camster, this area of Scotland is all stone and sea and wind.  The constant interaction between these elements creates a sense of unparalleled awe.  To stay and work in this type of environment is truly a transformative experience.

The people, both at North Lands and around town are the friendliest people I’ve ever met.  Generosity and humor are the most common traits to be found in the personalities here.  From interesting conversations to hilarious stories, it’s obvious that the people of this area of Scotland are very welcoming to visitors.

I’m sad to be leaving soon, but I’m very much looking forward to visiting again.”

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The community within Lybster and the Studio is like no other. Strangers coming together to help each other throughout the process of creation. From the idea bouncing to the finished product. Even the environment contributes to the art, drawing, inspiration from the landscape and the people of the town all contribute to the finished piece.The pieces I am working with are all created from the contrast of city life to this small town. The first one is Guessa based on the idea of honour bound tradition. What has inspired me is how the local have reacted to us, with them almost feeling obligated to buy a drink and have a conversation and ensure we have a good time. It is something you have to experience.

The second work is Rustic Modern, inspired by the landscape. By taking shell and rock castings, translating some into glass and keeping the others in their original state, I hope to investigate the difference between a wild coast and the modern city.

The symposium itself is more than glass work; it’s about pushing yourself, exploration and communication. For even the more experienced glass artist 9 days is hard to get much glass done due to the lengthly nature of the medium, and we’re not restricted to glass, we can do anything. One of things that really inspired me about this time is how it isn’t a class. It’s about pushing yourself to do work when you have so many options. Giving you a little taste of art outside of school, exploring your limits with the medium and the land.  Seeing more than any tour bus would take you, exploring with your peers and yourself of the capabilities of your ideas and work and most importantly communication. With such a diverse background and amazing instructors there is so much to learn in such little time.

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Thank you all for the amazing experience
Jane, Natali, David, Tad, Tatara, Kalina, Jon, Cydney, Dani, Randy, Sawyer,
Jess, Blair, Jo, Michael, Grace and the whole town for being such great host.”

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