A 'Tropical Waveform' gathers a storm of praise for Duns glassblower

AFTER beating off rivals to win a top northern arts award last year, Berwickshire glassblower Graham Muir blew apart the competition to win a top national accolade last week.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 28th July 2010, 4:21 pm

Following his 'Best in Show' victory at Manchester's Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair in October, Graham was invited to exhibit alongside his counterparts from all over the country at the Art in Action show in Oxford and he made it two wins out of two, after they gave the seal of approval by choosing his wave-like creation 'Tropical Waveform' as the 'Best of the Best'.

And in doing so Graham, who normally can be found in his workshop in Duns, became the first ever glassmaker to emerge victorious at Arts in Action.

He said he was absolutely gobsmacked to be returning home with such a prestigious award.

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Speaking to 'The Berwickshire News' he commented: "It still hasn't sunk in that I've actually won it.

"Arts in Action is such a huge event, there were 25,000 through the doors over the four days.

"To even be invited to exhibit there was fantastic; you really have to earn your place."

Graham took three pieces down to Oxford to display to his peers and the public and after catching everyone's eye, 'Tropical Waveform' went up against around 100 other exhibits.

But it wasn't just fellow glassblowers that Graham was in competition with. The best sculptures, ceramics and paintings were also up for the award which makes his win even more of an achievement.

Graham continued: "To be chosen as the Best of the Best by some of the finest artists in the country is quite staggering.

"Art in Action is seen as one of the country's premier arts events and has been going for well over 30 years.

"I've been involved in art myself for three decades now since leaving college but I was gobsmacked at the high standard of the exhibits, they were incredible; my jaw dropped when I won.

"A glass exhibit had never been named 'Best of the Best' before. There were a lot of pats on the back from the other glassmakers!"

As well as giving Graham the opportunity to show off the fruits of his labour, Art in Action allowed him to network with some of the UK's art big-wigs and fellow artists.

And he said this was just as valuable as winning the award itself.

"Like most artists I spend most of my time with my head down grafting away in my workshop I don't get many chances to get out and meet other professionals and interact with art fans who are interested in what I'm doing.

"Arts in Action was the perfect forum for interaction for both artists and the public. As well as answering a lot of questions and having lots of pictures taken, I was able to demonstrate some glass blowing which people seemed really interested in.

"I also met a number of gallery owners who have already been in touch with me since I've been back home. My win at Manchester last year gave me a boost and I'm hoping that this will do the same."

Being surrounded by so many different types of art it was inevitable that Graham would get some inspiration for his work and he said he has a few ambitions for the near future.

"What really struck me about some of the other exhibits was the sheer scale of them. Some of them were huge and I'd love to be able to try and do something on a grand scale myself.

"I'm really proud of my winning piece and how much it looks like a wave but it would be even more impressive if it was larger.

"And then I was also hugely impressed by the detail in some of the illustrations that were up for Best of the Best.

"I'm totally shocked that I have won two big awards in less than a year and I think the next step for me, as daunting as it sounds, is to apply for international events."

The next event Graham will be exhibiting at is The Glass Biennale at the International Glass festival next month. For further information visit www.biennale.org.uk. and for further information on Graham and his work visit www.grahammuir.co.uk.