David Reekie Masterclass at North Lands Creative Glass

Still fizzing with thoughts about the recent David Reekie masterclass I attended at Northlands Creative Glass, up in the Northest of the North of Scotland.  I was just trying to distill a few choice morsels for you, but find that I can't. Not yet anyway - there's just too much to digest.  Anyway, here's a starter for 10:

The class was all about abstracting the human form. It's so easy, when it comes to drawing the figure, to focus in on the details. These are the things that give the form it's human-ness, right? Wrong.  David was trying to teach us to pare down the details and really decide what was important.  I think most of us learnt more about drawing from David in a week than we'd learnt in years.  He got us modelling too in clay and wax - rough and ready models to give us components to work with later in the class. See below for the first wax models we did.  We took these little wax heads and cast them up in glass. Three of these then became part of projects later in the week. I'm going to describe one here, which I've nominally named blanket man for reasons which will be quite apparent.
wax models

Drawing for blanket man
David does a lot of work with enamels - painting the mould surface with these before he puts the glass in.  For this project I chose one of my heads - a fairly standard headish form with a shouting mouth.  I decided he looked like he needed wrapping up in a blanket - not sure if this was to comfort or annoy him - to convey the idea of being constrained perhaps.  Anyway, I did a few drawings to explore this - see the image above.  I modelled the blanket around the head in clay and cast up a plaster and flint mould around it. You can see this below.  I painted the enamels onto my blanket form in the mould, added glass frit coloured a pale cream - just to bring the colours of the blanket out, and fired it in the kiln.

Blanket man in mould with samples of enamelling

When in first comes out of the kiln it looks like it hasn't worked - the plaster sticks to the surface of the mould and it looks like nothing. But cleaned up. Well, I was rather pleased.  It might look at bit like a slipper, but this technique offers lots of possibilities for adding texture, colour and life to a casting.

Blanket man
This is an experimental piece, so not too much should be expected of it, but I am pleased with the rug-like-ness of the rug.  I've done lots of work in past years - mainly a few years ago, it must be said - on getting fabric-like folds into my glass.  I think this is the first time it has shown any promise.  So, great stuff from David Reekie, and Fiaz Elson, his Technical Assistant.  My fellow classmates were inspiring too. 

This is just a taster.  I'm aware it is not so much a proper critique of what I got out of the class as a quick summary of one of the projects.  That will have to do for now, but more thoughts and images to follow in the next week or so.


  1. Victoria, Thanks so much for this! I'd have loved to have stayed around North Lands after the conference to see David's class in action. But great to read about it here!

  2. Hi Lani - thank you! It was a fantastic week - I can hardly get my head round how to put it down on paper/screen. There will be more to follow I'm sure. An magic place, a wonderful class, and and inspirational place altogether.


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