One of the pioneers of British Glass, Charles Bray died on Sunday, July 22nd, 2012. Bray had been struggling with heart-related health problems for several years, continuing to produce work throughout, according to Anne Tye, the manager of Cohesion, a Sunderland, England, organization supporting British-based glass artists, designers and fabricators. “Here in Sunderland Charles Bray will always be remembered for introducing glass to the then Sunderland Art College some 40 years ago, instigating the glass and ceramics course and laying the foundation for what is now one of the largest and most prestigious glass and ceramics courses in the world at the University Of Sunderland (National Glass Centre),” writes Tye.
Originally trained in Fine Art at Goldsmith’s College, Bray worked in paint and charcoal, often exhibiting his two-dimensional work alongside his glass sculptures. “As a glass artist Charles was both prolific and internationally renowned; his work has been exhibited throughout the world and features in numerous private and public collections,” writes Tye. “Charles was a supportive Founder Member of Cohesion Glass Network and a member of The Society Of Glass Technology with whom he maintained strong links and throughout his life after teaching, he continued to advise and mentor glass students and established makers. He has been a source of much inspiration and wisdom and will be much missed.”
According to his entry in Wikipedia, “Bray drew influence from form and line observed from naval objects, and by the artists Ben Nicholson and Henry Moore. This is evident in his prolific paintings and drawings. Later influences from the Cumbria landscape, and rock strata, were instrumental in a change of artistic direction. His glass work demonstrates this influence. Charles Bray’s glass work can be classed in two groups. The first consists of blown bowls, etched with shapes reflecting landscape influences. Secondly, nature plays a strong influence in his glass sculpture, much of which is experimental and varied. He continued to produce and exhibit glass until his death in July 2012.”
Bray was instrumental in the founding of British Artists in Glass, the precursor to the Contemporary Glass Society, the organization of artists working with glass in the U.K. He was also the author of glass technology reference books including A Dictionary of Glass, Ceramics & Glass – A Basic Technology and Glass Blowing. According to Wikipedia, the British Library Sound Archive, London, holds an extensive and informative recorded interview with Charles Bray, conducted by Hawksmoor Hughes on 23 October 2007.
According to Tye, those interested in sending condolences to the Bray family can direct them to the following address:Prospect House Farlam, Cumbria CA8 1LA, UK