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About Us

For over fifty years the Harris family has been associated with the design and manufacture of outstanding decorative studio glass

History

The work that is produced by Isle of Wight Studio Glass emanates from the design genius of it’s British founder, Michael Harris (1933-1994), a prodigiously talented and pioneering designer and craftsman.

 

Michael graduated from the Royal College of Art (RCA) with first class honours in 1959 and later became an RCA tutor, setting up hot glass facilities there in 1967. The following year he founded Mdina Glass in Malta, remaining there until 1972, when he moved back to the UK.

 

Together with his wife Elizabeth, in 1973 he founded Isle Of Wight Studio Glass, setting up the studio in a picturesque location at Old Park, St Lawrence. He continued with this highly successful venture until his premature death in 1994.

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Today

Revitalised in 2013 in a new location and under new management, Isle of Wight Studio Glass now serves as the platform from which Michael’s son, Timothy Harris, energetically pursues the family tradition – excellence and innovation in studio glass design and production.

 

From an early age Timothy was attracted by the heat and smoke of his father studio. By the time he was 13, standing on a beer crate and assisted by his younger brother Jonathan (now also a leading glass designer), he was able to make small glass birds which he christened: 'diddybirds'!

 

His aptitude for working with hot glass developed under his father’s tutelage, and he decided to make glassmaking his career. After completing formal college studies on the art and craft of glassmaking, in 1980 he returned to the Isle of Wight to join his father’s already successful studio.

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Years of HOT STUFF

Isle of Wight Studio Glass celebrates 50 years creating world-renowned decorative studio glass.

Despite the current energy crisis which is dramatically effecting the glass making industry with a crippling triple increase in gas bills, this landmark studio is looking forward to celebrating their 50th anniversary this year.

: The beginning

Founded by the prodigiously talented, pioneering British designer and craftsman Michael Harris (1933-1994). Isle of Wight Studio Glass has remained internationally pre-eminent in studio glass design and production. He moved to Malta with his wife Elizabeth and young sons, where with Eric Dobson he established the Mdina Glass in 1969. Along with Vicente and Ettore Boffo, glassblowers from the Whitefriars factory making striking and richly coloured glass remaining there until 1972, when he moved back to the UK and with wife Elizabeth founded Isle Of Wight Studio Glass in 1973.

Sadly, Michael passed in 1994, leaving his two sons Timothy and Jonathan and wife Elizabeth to continue into a second generation of the ‘Harris Dynasty’.

:A passion for the art of glass

From an early age Timothy was attracted by the heat, fire and smoke of his father’s studio, holding a blowing iron as soon as he could he began to experiment for himself, his natural talent & aptitude for working with hot glass quickly developed.
Timothy completed formal college studies at Brierley Hill College of Glass Techniques & Technologies returning in 1980 to the Isle of Wight to join his father’s already successful studio, enabling him to take his place alongside the most respected designers and makers in Britain. It was at this time that ranges including Undercliff, Nightscape, and Seascape became the innovative pieces of the studios impressive history.

:Often imitated never surpassed

The studio has gained many accolades over the years, one in particular was the recognition of the studio’s pioneering addition of gold and silver to the surface of hot glass. For this they were awarded ‘The Best of British Design” in 1979 by the Design Council and presented the award by the late Duke of Edinburgh which was applauded by the global studio glass movement, “The Original” technique developed into their range called Azurene in 1978 in collaboration with RCA student William Walker, the technique has “often been imitated but never surpassed.”

 

The Studio’s work can be found in many countries Worldwide, in royal, private, museum, art & gallery collections.
Over the 45+ years of Timothy’s journey with glass he has also tutored and help set up many Studios around the globe. In 1990 Timothy's contribution and talent was recognised in several prestigious awards including the Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust (QEST) which supports Excellence in British Craftsmanship.

 

As a Royal Scholar this facilitated an artist in residency at Penland School of Craft USA in 1990 with a return invitation to Penland in 1991 to join the teaching faculty, followed by an artist in residency at Pilchuck Glass School,Washington.
Timothy has since been recognised as one of the finest, most accomplished and innovative glass-makers this country has ever had, justifiably taking his place as one of the 
most highly respected glassmakers, always finding new ways of working with hot glass, constantly experimenting in his quest for perfection of form, colour and texture, he keeps his team at the forefront of British craftsmanship, striving “in pursuit of excellence”.

 

:A Royal Connection

The Royals love of glass includes Timothy’s Graal perfume bottle given to the Queen Mother for her 90th birthday in 1990. A personal presentation of “The Queens Bowl” to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in her Diamond Jubilee year of 2012, the bowl was a gift from the people of the Isle of Wight and was later exhibited in the Royal Collection. A further unique piece was created for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee in 2022, as well as a set of whiskey glass’s commissioned for King Charles, when still Prince Charles for his 70th Birthday.

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