Arts graduate ‘Best in Glass’ in global glassblowing show aired on Netflix
Viewers have been blown away by a University of Wolverhampton graduate who has claimed top prize in a new Netflix show about glassblowing.
Elliot Walker, 32, who was born in Wolverhampton and is the son of a cobbler, has claimed the top prize in the second series of Blown Away, a global glassblowing reality show which is currently being livestreamed on Netflix.
Elliot studied for a Master’s degree in Applied Arts in the Wolverhampton School of Art and graduated in 2012.
He secured a place in the reality show and took part with ten other glass artists from around the world. The artists competed in North America’s largest hot shop to push themselves to creative extremes in the quest to be named Best in Glass.
In each episode, the glassblowers must impress a panel of art experts or risk being eliminated in pursuit of a life-changing prize that will enhance their career prospects.
As winner of the show, Elliot has been awarded a residency at the Corning Museum and the Pittsburgh glass centre.
Elliot started his career as an artist while studying for a Psychology degree in 2007 where he created stained glass windows as a hobby. He decided to dedicate himself to the vocation of glass making and studied at Dudley College before starting his Master’s degree in the School of Art, working at the Red House Glass Cone based in Wordsley in the Black Country.
Elliot said: “I’m absolutely blown away to have won the top prize in such a high profile programme which attracts millions of viewers from all across the globe.
"I have to say, the other contestants were fantastic but I think I had the advantage because of my diversity - I'm a sculptor more than a glassblower really and the fact that I could create different forms easily gave me the edge
“I am a dedicated experimenter with my chosen material and constantly try to challenge myself and the audiences of my work to abandon many preconceptions of the material. My use of glass as a material is always at the heart of my conceptual focus."
Simon Eccles, Technical Demonstrator in Glass in the University School of Art, said: “Given the global reach of the first series and I’m sure what was the intense worldwide competition to be selected as a competitor on the show, this is an amazing achievement for Elliot.
“Students studying for an undergraduate degree in Glass and Ceramics and the Master’s degree in Design and Applied Arts have access to one of the largest, best equipped glass-making facilities in Europe in the School of Art, giving them the opportunity to experience a broad range of techniques to realise their creative aspirations.”
Maggie Ayliffe, Head of the Wolverhampton School of Art, said: “The Wolverhampton School of Art was on tenterhooks as our Glass Alumni, Elliot Walker, competed to be ‘Best in Glass’ in the Netflix Show ‘Blown Away’.
“From episode one Elliot demonstrated amazing technical, creative and conceptual skills – he was head and shoulders above the rest. We are really excited that Elliot had the opportunity to represent the UK and that he was crowned series champion against a world class field – watch the show and be inspired!”
The Black Country, and the Stourbridge Glass Quarter, in particular, has been home to glassmaking for over 400 years and is part of the Black Country UNESCO Global Geopark. Elliot is moving his studio back to Stourbridge in the near future. He is currently showing work online with Messums London. The exhibition Elliot Walker: Plenty runs until 13 February 2021.
Follow Elliot on Instagram@ewalkerglassart.
Pictures courtesy of Peter Layton London Glassblowing, where Elliot works in the studio and Sam Galbraith.
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