close of 6 flat glass bowls in white, yellow, green and blue with silver decoration
© Jane Webster

Thelma Hulbert Gallery (THG) opens their popular exhibition of contemporary craft this November.

A leading exhibition in the UK’s craft calendar, Present Makers features hand-crafted gift ideas showcasing the talent and innovation of contemporary craftspeople and design makers in the South West.

This year, THG in Honiton shines a spotlight on glass through their collaboration with the Contemporary Glass Society (CGS).

The CGS is the UK’s foremost organisation supporting both established glass artists and up-and-coming makers, promoting contemporary glass among the art world and wider public. They represent the interests of 1,200 national and international glassmakers. 

From THG and CGS open submissions, entries have been selected to highlight the quality, variety and inspiration of local designer makers working across a range of materials: glass, jewellery, ceramics, textiles, prints and wood, as well as unique Christmas cards and decorations. All of the work is for sale.

Artist Jane Hester is a member of the CGS who lives and works in Somerset. She makes colourful and decorative fused glass bowls, candle holders and jewellery with colour and pattern at the heart of her work.

"I think my appreciation of glass began as a child, I remember being amazed by the beauty and magical quality of stained-glass windows, the light streaming through them making the colours so vibrant and rich.  Assembling and fusing (melting) glass in a kiln is both fascinating and fun,  I especially enjoy creating unique patterns and effects that I hope reflect my creative ability and love of colour. " 

Bristol-based artist Rachael Durkan is also a member of the CGS, whose work draws inspiration from the intricate structural patterns found in nature. Exploring the organic shapes and patterns found in microscopic plant cells, her work is formed intuitively, from many pieces of glass, repeating, expanding, to create a flowing form.

"Glass is an incredibly fascinating material to work with, it can be manipulated but also has many restraints. The often unexpected nature of using glass means you never tire of its captivating qualities. I am fascinated by the complexity of this material and new effects which can be achieved. "

Charline Marzin's functional and decorative ceramics aim to bring joy to daily life with a touch of playfulness and poetry. She creates her ceramic art from her home studio in mid Devon.

"I use the curves of my stoneware pieces as canvases for intricate and colourful decorations. My hand-painted, wax resist and hand-carved designs are inspired by the ever-changing weather and climate, as well as surprising shapes and patterns in nature and folk art."

Amy Whittingham's cast glass Jewellery with a coastal connection is sustainably made, with consciously sought reused & recycled materials. The textural surfaces of rusty rings and weathered rope tethering boats inspire Amy's range of cast glass chain & rope jewellery.

"My Mooring collection of interlinked glass loops are combined with soft recycled cotton, which I stitch. I then use a traditional rope joining method called whipping, as a nod to Plymouth’s Nautical heritage as one of three rope making sites in the UK."

Sarah Sullivan is a Cornish potter and maker of individually hand carved, stoneware vessels, which feel both modern and ancient.

"The majority of my work is hand carved using a small stripping tool, creating curves and pattern and making the pieces satisfying to handle and use. The pots are finished in a dolomite glaze and a combination of slips and glazes, of a colour palette that reflects the local beach where I swim year-round. The carved lines in my pots are representative of the tidal lines, sand and rocks on Cornish beaches, the geology of the landscape and the history of mark making in clay."

Councillor Nick Hookway, Portfolio Holder for Culture, Leisure, Sport and Tourism said,

"This exhibition highlights the works created by local artists which will solve your Christmas present conundrums. What better present for a loved one than a gift which is truly one of a kind! This new exhibition has wide range of gifts to choose from, made from a range of materials and techniques. You can expect a very high standard of thoughtful design from South West based artists.

Make a change from shopping online and shop local at THG this Christmas."

Present Makers 2023
11 November 2023 to 23 December 2023
Coordinating programme:

Tessellating Sculpture Workshop

  • Saturday 21 October, 11 - 3. £50, £45 THG Friends, free places for 15-25 yrs 

Natural Dye Workshop

  • Sunday 12 November, 10 - 12.30 or 1.00 - 3.30. £90, £80 THG Friends, free places for 15-25 yrs  - includes full workshop resources

3D Paper Craft Workshop

  • Saturday 18 November, 11 - 3.30. £40, £35 THG friends, free places for 15-25 yrs 

Jewellery Making Workshop

  • Saturday 25 November, 10.30 - 12.30 or 1.30 - 3.30. £55, £50 THG Friends, free places for 15-25 yrs

Thelma Hulbert Gallery, Dowell St, Honiton EX14 1LX. Open Tuesday – Saturday, 10am – 5pm.