The whole studio movement of the post-Industrial era has been under-pinned by the idea of the production of unique hand-crafted pieces made by individual makers. This has led to the development of the signature artifact, recognized by the use of a single vocabulary of form, which becomes associated closely with a particular maker, often to the point where the authorship of items can be identified on sight. This has in turn meant that craftspeople sometimes go to great lengths to retain authorship over the entire production of their objects. In the case of glass this has often required the development of personal ways of working to circumvent parts of processes which were traditionally a two-person affair, an example being the casting of a stem onto a goblet. From the early days of the studio glass movement collaborations were extremely rare, and, when they did occur, were often temporary, as in the case of the partnership between Dale Chihuly and James Carpenter. This search for a unique voice has brought about the hard-wiring of certain assumptions within the context which has developed to market, discuss, and collect signature studio objects.
The planned `Collaborations` exhibition in its own small way seeks to encourage a new approach, with the outcomes uncertain, and the result of the interplay that develops between the paired artists. Each artist is established in their own right, producing identifiable artifacts over a number of years, so that the challenge will be for each pair to explore the extension of their personal visions through contact with another. Nothing is certain, watch this space.