Photography studio puts the art of glass in the frame
Two University of Wolverhampton graduates are putting the art of glass in the frame at a studio designed to spark an interest in photography.
Photographer Simon Bruntnell, who graduated from the University of Wolverhampton School of Art with a degree in Visual communications (Photography) in 1993, is working in collaboration with the SPARK Business Incubation Centre, based at the University’s Science Park in Wolverhampton, to promote the SPARK Photo Studio.
The SPARK Business Incubation Hub was opened in 2004 with European Regional Development Funds and Wolverhampton Science Park Limited funding to provide office space and support for start-up companies in the Creative Industries Sectors within the Wolverhampton and West Midlands area. The aim being to raise the technology profile of the area with increased focus on engineering, creative media and ICT.
Simon will be hiring and working from the SPARK Photo Studio as a client but will also be looking after the equipment and offering advice to tenant companies at the Science Park.
Simon’s first client in the SPARK Photo Studio was Elliot Walker, also a former University of Wolverhampton alumni who graduated with a Master’s degree in Applied Arts in 2012 and is now an international name in glass.
Elliot, 33, who was born in Wolverhampton, claimed the top prize in the second series of Blown Away, a global glassblowing reality show which was livestreamed on Netflix in February 2021. On the show, master glassblowers from around the world competed against each other in gruelling weekly challenges, offering viewers a peek into the unusual craft.
Elliot studied glass making in Stourbridge and worked with the grandmaster of glass, Peter Layton, for 8 years as part of the London glassblowing studio team. This was alongside some of the UK’s most skilled glass artists. The Black Country, and the Stourbridge Glass Quarter has been home to glassmaking for over 400 years and is part of the Black Country UNESCO Global Geopark.
Louise Hunter, Business Incubation Manager at SPARK, said: “We’re delighted to have Simon on board at the studio. He will also be our expert in residence and will participate in ‘open studio’ days in the new year. These will be drop-in sessions for clients of the Science Park to view the studio, equipment and to discuss photography requirements.
“It’s amazing to have two successful alumni involved in this project, both putting glass in the frame at a time when the creative industries and arts are experiencing a renaissance in the Midlands. The Black Country is renowned for its expertise and historical significance in the glass industry and this is a real boost to our local heritage.”
Simon, who is a commercial photographer covering all aspects of creative, commercial and craft photography but recognised internationally for photographing glass art, said: “I’ve been photographing Elliot’s work since his student days and it’s great that he’s now back based in Stourbridge – it's been really insightful photographing his work now and seeing how he’s progressed over the years.
“My relationship started in the late 90s with students and staff from the University School of Art’s glass department. During the years that followed I developed an understanding of this difficult medium.”
His skills were noticed by the American government in 2015 who commissioned Simon to photograph the presidential collection of prized Stubens engraved glass at Sunnymeads (Camp David in Palm Deserts California).
Simon describes himself as a “jobbing commercial photographer who’s become studio based. It’s my favourite place to be as I like the control.”
The SPARK Photo Studio is available to hire for a wide range of creative and commercial based projects. SPARK Studio is drive-in, with two permanent 3.5m wide paper backdrops on a wall mounted expansion rod pulley system with a wide range of colours to choose from. There is disabled access from the reception area or directly into the studio via an external access door.
The studio has a ‘roller shutter door for access’, all studio walls are white and the floor is a grey sealed vinyl. The photographic zone has complete black-out curtains for precise lighting control and there is a wide range of photographic equipment and a small selection of props. There is also a soft seated relaxation/waiting area within the studio area.
The private wardrobe and make up area comes complete with a light up mirror and high seating. There is hot and cold running water within the Studio and close by there are male and female toilets and shower facilities all included in the studio hire price.
To book the SPARK Photo Studio please visit the SPARK website.
Anyone looking to study at the University of Wolverhampton should register for one of our forthcoming Open Days.
For more information please contact the Corporate Communications Team.