The University of Wolverhampton

Professor Keith Cummings

Research Group:Material and Theoretical Practice
Title:Professor - Glass
Email:k.r.cummings@wlv.ac.uk
  

About Professor Keith Cummings

'I have been working with glass for almost fifty years, but of course both I and the material have changed during this time. The Zen philosopher states that it is impossible to stand on the bank of the same river twice as both observer and river will be different, and any attempt by me to make sense of my long relationship with glass must reflect this.

Starting as a Fine Artist I was drawn to glass through an interest in watercolour, which continues to this day, and a perceived similarity between my work in this medium and that of stained glass. Courses which included any aspect of glass were both rare and limited in the late 1950`s, and I was lucky enough to be able to study Fine art at an institution, Durham University, that combined a fairly radical approach to Painting and Sculpture, with tutors like Victor Pasmore and Richard Hamilton, and, amazingly, a stained glass facility. This allowed me to pursue an interest in experiment and construction using, and extending stained glass techniques. This included fusing coloured glass pieces together in a kiln, an experience that caused my life-long involvement with kiln-forming.

On graduation I worked for some time at Whitefriars Glass Company in London, developing fused glass architectural panels for use in a variety of situations. From these beginnings I have, through my long association with the glass course at Stourbridge and Wolverhampton been able to contribute and benefit from the growth of the studio glass movement, and particularly with the development of kiln-forming.

Despite my love of glass I feel passionately that it is a material (albeit a very special one ) and does not benefit from being treated as a discrete subject. As a practitioner I have always sought to generate and develop my ideas and formal language through drawing and painting before moving to their interpretation in and through glass and its processes. This does not mean that my pieces are simply realisations of pre-ordained drawings, far from it. Not only do drawings sometimes take years to have their influence on my glass, but the multi-staged process of kiln-forming, by which the object finally emerges, suggests and contributes to the end product

My influences are, like my works an eclectic mix, drawn from a fascination with arms and armour, ancient machines, natural form, and landscape. Increasingly I find that I am returning to the latter, bringing me back to where I began'.