“As a child I was given the trust and confidence to use carving tools and to weave, and I knew the names of native plants around me. I express this in my glass work – woven detail, birds, blossoms and buds branch across simple forms, dignified and exposed. My glasswork relates to the importance of people and the environment. Vessels are a simple homage to everyday living. Each work is peacefully engaging, and with a purpose.”
Layla Walter is one of New Zealand’s foremost glass artists who has, since graduating in 1998 with a BA in Applied Arts, gained significant international recognition for her distinctive and individual works. Continuing a tradition of cast glass, she creates vessels with techniques that are highly skilled and complex, using personal representations of weaving or flora and fauna carved in bas-relief.
About the medium Layla says “Casting is a lengthy process, often taking months from the initial drawing to finished product. Glass practice in New Zealand developed in isolation from the US and European contemporary glass movements. A method, a raw material and a way of finishing evolved here. In the 1970s local glass blower Ann Robinson developed a way of casting glass, modifying ‘cire perdue’, the method of mould-making for bronze casting, to accommodate the particular dictates of glass. She identified the need for a special lead crystal glass and worked with local glass house, Gaffer Coloured Glass, to develop a beautiful coloured 45% lead glass. As skills developed and the castings increased in weight and scale, it became necessary to develop hand tools for the surface finishing. This technology arose from the New Zealand stone carving industry, to replace the traditional machines used in glass production. Auckland’s Gaffer Coloured Glass (John Croucher and John Leggott), is now the world’s major supplier of crystal glass for casting. It is a privilege to access this and be a continuing part of the New Zealand glass story”.
Her work is held in distinguished private collections (Sir Elton John, Sir Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh, Peter Gordon), in significant public institutions in New Zealand (Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, Auckland Museum) and overseas, where her work represents New Zealand in museums (Glass Museet, Ebltoft), galleries and cultural embassies around the world – in particular the collection held by New Zealand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade who have placed Walter’s work in Egypt, Iran, France and USA. She has been invited to exhibit, teach, demonstrate and talk about glass casting and New Zealand glass in Australia, USA, Canada, Japan, Denmark and Germany.
Walter has a long history of philanthropy in areas including the environment, museum support and education, social politics and health.
Colours.co is a great way to switch on to art and philanthropy, offering a platform for artists to give in a sustainable way. It brings the public, collectors and art lovers into the greater ideas and motivations behind the artists’ work and opens a door to a world of great causes. Sales of my artwork on Colours.co will aid Coromandel Watchdog of Hauraki to establish an online shop to sell artwork, posters, and design items from artists with a Coromandel connection, including Cybele, Daniel Tippett, Jim Viviare, Steve Carson, Stanley Palmer and many others. Currently, over 80,000 hectares of Coromandel land and waters are at risk, including areas defined as ‘most precious’. Keep an eye on Coromandel Watchdog for the launch of their shop in 2017.
“My work can be purchased immediately from Colours.co online gallery, and can also be commissioned – which due to the intricate and involved cast glass process may take up to three months.”