Archive for January, 2015


The National Glass Centre, Liberty Way, Sunderland, UK

The National Glass Centre exhibits work by glass artists worldwide.
Over the years the Centre has built up an impressive list of artists, and exhibitions of work.
The current exhibition is work by Magdalene Odundo.  By demand this exhibition has extended its run until March 2015.

Alongside Magdalene is an exhibition by Czech artist Ondrej Novotney. Ondrej will not only be an exhibitor but work-shopper, and giving demonstrations of glass blowing, and work on further artistic pieces .

The Centre incorporates working areas, exhibition spaces, special display areas, and artists’ talk and lecture spaces. There is also a shop and brasserie, where you can buy books and artefacts and lunch amongst  the exhibits.


Working areas provide regular free demonstrations of different parts of the art of the glass blowing process . Demonstrations last from between fifteen to thirty minutes each, and cover aspects such as Flame Working and Glass Blowing, using the 1000 degree furnace.
This is followed up with the moulding and manipulation of the glass: use of the Glass lathe and Muff Blowing. In this latter Hartley Woods blows glass cylinders or ‘muffs’ which go into the making of sheet glass.


The Centre also participates in off-site exhibitions.NGC2
From January to May 2015 there is a collaboration with the University of Sunderland to host in the Priestman Gallery an on-going thematic  and commissioned display The Decorator and the Thief, that uses ‘… artist-designed wallpaper , sculpture, fabric, writing and film…’ to explores how and where  art, design and craft connect.

The Centre encourages families to participate in craft activities during the half-term school holidays.

National Glass Centre


Posted: January 11, 2015 in Chat
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It starts off a little complicated. A neighbour called us: they had found a young crow in their garden, could we take it?
Ok, we’ll give it a go (!?).

He got strong and well, so we contacted a bird centre to take him and slowly re-introduce him to the wild.
Then we got a phone call: ‘The crow you brought in is going to have to be put down….’ So we dashed down by bus and taxi. There he was as fit as anything in a cage; but on the floor was this poor scraggly one with hardly any wing feathers and far too small. She had parasites which had permanently stunted her growth.
Mistaken identity of course. But could we leave this one to be put down?
Of course not (!?).2013-05-18 14.00.19

We have had her about ten years now.
I built a small aviary – we insisted she be outside for her health. She values that independence.
We treated her for the parasites, fed her by hand every two to three hours during the day. My wife got up early and helped her practice and build up confidence getting airborne. New feathers grow only once a year.
It paid off, she can fly now – not well enough to be released. And her beak grows twisted if not regularly clipped. We have since taught her to wear it down herself.

Meet our crow.

2013-05-18 13.59.11
Over time she has had companions come and go. Other crows – other fed-by-hands but in the end released – and, a mistake this, a jackdaw. Her calls bring wild crows down; we put food on the top of her aviary so she can have company.  Now she has a regular but small and changing clientele.
They change because, alas, in the wild they do not live too long due to predators, which includes humans with guns. Also when new crows are born they are chased off once capable of feeding themselves.

She had a very playful period – loved anything blue. Also yellow for a period. We gave her blue paper; it always ended up in her water dish. We gave her blue aquarium pebbles, they were stowed away in little holes everywhere. Then we would see her carry them around in her beak to another safe hole.

She would utter soft calls when she wanted us, and very soft trills when she was happy with what we had done for her. She also shouted at us full in the face if we were late or forgetful.
If no crow friends come down to see her for ages she also can get rather annoyed and shout blue murder at them.

She now has a bigger aviary.


I surprised myself: I have never been craft-handed, and it is only basic, but… yes, I think I did a good job.


The step ladder is for the feeding the wild crows on the top. We get spotted now when we are in the garden, and called at from trees if they want feeding.

The side cover is to protect from cats and bad weather. Bad weather is all very well when you are a fully grown and robust crow, but when you’re not…. One Winter we had to bring her in. Ice had thawed then refrozen in her feathers against her skin: my wife woke up in the early hours of the morning with the sudden thought she needed us. She was right.
She adapted to indoor life well, probably remembered her first few months as we nursed her: crows have long memories.

They are also very clever.
She has a shallow plastic bath she bathes in. We fill it and she toddles over, sits on the side; we say Here’s your water, and it is as though she tries to copy our speech, definitely a Water there. And she snaps it as it flows in, playing with the stream. It’s a joy to watch her bathe – goes everywhere, but it’s great fun.


She won’t like me telling you this, but, ten year’s on, and she still likes the night supper feed by hand. After dark, of course, when none of the other crows can see. Warmed drinking water in the Winter, and a little time spent with her before she settles down properly for the night.