Glass by...

 Peter Furlonger

I especially like Peter’s work. He is a calligrapher and lettering artist whose work is mainly concerned with the exploration of letter forms on glass. Producing his own calligraphic glass, Peter's work can be found in the V&A and Sunderland Museums.

Peter Furlonger told me...
As a lettering artist I have been fascinated by the possibilities inherent in different media which have served as a support for lettering and calligraphic designs – writing on paper, carved inscriptions on stone; painted lettering on wood (signwork); engraved lettering on glass.

Over the last 20 years I have focused my work on the 3-dimensional aspects of lettering, namely carving in stone, and most particularly engraved letterforms on glass.

It is this latter medium which has played the major role in my creating life. Its characteristics of transparency, and in the bowl form, its dynamic 3-dimensionality, or curved surfaces occupying the space, enabling the realization of a multiple variation of letterform ‘drawing in space’ have been a great stimulus to my involvement with lettering. Initially glass seemed to me the perfect medium for the exploration of letterform- ‘glass the medium, lettering the message’. Twenty years on, and I have come to see letterform and the graphic power of calligraphic texture as not only, or alone, the means of expression- the ‘end’ as it were- but more a starting point and the means of exploring the possibilities of various colour glass structures- opacity as well as transparency- and multiple ‘overlays’ of two or three colours, and also deriving some inspiration from ceramic models.

None of this would have been possible without my involvement in the glass culture of the North East and the glassmakers with whom I have collaborated. Not just glass, or ‘crystal’ but studio glass specifically has been my medium, and they, the artist-makers have made it possible for me to develop this interest in glass. And calligraphic art, to infuse the medium with the graphic expressiveness of calligraphy & letterform through the thought-worlds of poetry and the seriousness of visual design and image making.

It is this integration of disparate elements – text, graphic, and glass which is the goal of my working life – calligraphic glass.

Peter Furlonger is a fellow of the Guild of Glass Engravers.