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Ceramics & Glass (MA)

Bethany Ellen Walker

Born in the West Midlands, UK, Bethany Walker graduated from the Royal College of Art in 2020 with an MA in Ceramics and Glass; she was  awarded a grant from the South Square Trust for outstanding work to help fund her studies. She received First Class Honours for a BA in Contemporary Crafts from Falmouth University in 2014, where she specialised in metal and glass. She has considerable experience working with hand-blown glass gained from working for renowned lighting company Rothschild and Bickers. She currently works for the gallery and studio London Glassblowing as well as being a  contributor to Glass Network magazine. Bethany has won numerous prizes including a scholarship from Corning Museum of Glass, New York to attend their summer school in 2019. Most recently she won The Worshipful Company of Tin Plate Workers alias Wire Workers Prize 2020, as well as a bursary from The Bullseye Glass Company. 

Bethany lives and works between London and Dorset. She is currently looking for a studio space to enable her to continue her practice, as well as exhibition and residency opportunities.

For commissions and sales enquiries please email


Website -

Instagram - @bethany.ellen.walker


Degree Details

School of Arts & Humanities

Ceramics & Glass (MA)

My practice is a continuous exploration of and experimentation with the materiality of glass and metal. Having grown up in the Black Country, the heartland of England’s glass and steel industries, I gravitate towards these two materials. They link me to my childhood and represent the familiarity of my industrial heritage.My interests lie in human nature and human conditioning, observing and researching people and documenting how the world affects them and how they affect the world. My creative process is driven by deciphering how they behave, feel, react, support one another and stand alone. I want to produce a tangible response to transient feelings.

I work with the inherent qualities of my materials. Glass produces watercolour-like qualities, merging and flowing streams. I juxtapose the emotive visual power of flowing glass with metal armatures, a metaphor for the human form. I want to push the boundaries of these mediums to their limits through making, observing and learning, capturing the ways they react with each other. I select contrasting and complementary colours, based on how they evoke certain emotions I am trying to portray.

The sculptures emerge from a liminal space between control and freedom. There is an element of planning - the rest is chance.  I observe the glass melting and reacting to the metal, then intervene at a precise point to  crash-cool the kiln. Freezing an ephemeral moment and allowing the materials to make their own poetry.


'Cross-examination' — Kiln-formed glass and welded steel rod — 100 x 35 x 35 cm

'Cross-examination' (Top view)

'Cross-examination' is a large scale sculpture where molten glass meets and melts around a steel cross.
The glass and metal, once fired, create an interrelated structure that highlights the gravitational movement that happens within the kiln.
This interaction acts as a metaphor for control, challenges and interrogation which can be experienced in life.


Kiln-formed glass and welded steel rod


100 x 35 x 35 cm
AbstractArtcontemporary artExperimentalFlowFluidityFragilityGlasshuman conditionMaterialitymetalSculpture

'The Liminal Space' — Kiln-formed glass and welded steel rod — 30 x 25 x 20 cm

'The Liminal Space' (Close up)

'The Liminal Space' (Close up)

'The Liminal Space' focuses on the fusing together of coloured glass on top of a metal welded skeletal form. As I initially position the unfired work inside the kiln, I find the anticipation of the precariousness of the firing simultaneously exciting and frightening.

Once the door is shut, the glass comes alive, moving and being shaped by heat and gravity, draping over the metal rods that lie in its pathway. 'The Liminal Space' is a marking of this inimitable passage of time, emulating a sense of disorientation experienced when in a transitional period.


Kiln-formed glass and welded steel rod


30 x 25 x 20 cm

'Emotions' — Kiln-formed glass and welded stainless steel rod — 20 x 15 x 10 cm

Water has no shape of its own, it takes on the form of its surroundings. When water becomes a waterfall, the gravitational pull and the earth underneath affects the way it moves and meanders.

Akin to water, emotional feelings don’t have a shape of their own, they are energy flowing through you and formed by you. 'Emotions' connects conceptually and acts as a metaphor for the internal and external spaces within humans: what we show and what we hide, such as our inner most emotional states and reactions.


Kiln-formed glass and welded stainless steel rod


20 x 15 x 10 cm

'Connection' — Welded high tensile steel rod — 160 x 100 x 100 cm

Video showing part of sculpture being made.

'Reflection' — Welded high tensile steel rod — 130 x 50 x 160 cm

Work in Progress

'Transition' — Welded high tensile steel rod — 320 x 160 x 50 cm

'Transition' coming alive in the factory

In this current climate I have contemplated the relationship I have with my friends and family and how difficult it is being apart. These sculptures address the body as a site of feeling and experience of the tidal ups and downs on the journey of life. They were made with the sense that even though physically we are separated, some part of us is always connected, reflecting on the importance of supporting each other so that we can stay balanced.They are a monument to mark this passage of time, with the hollow form inviting self reflection.

During this period of lockdown I have had time to research my industrial heritage and utilise the resources available to me within my family's metal factory in the Black Country. It has provided the opportunity to make these ambitious larger scale works.

My attention was drawn to the machines and how they have helped to form the lives of many who have worked in the factory, including my own. I have adapted these mechanical processes of bending, cutting, grinding and welding to produce the succession of sculptures, composed of my own body manufactured in steel rod.


Welded high tensile steel rod


Various dimensions

'Impending Collapse' — Kiln- formed glass and welded copper — 30 x 15 x 15 cm

'Impending Collapse' (Close up)

'Impending Collapse' (Close up)

'Impending Collapse' pushes the limits of the possibilities of glass. It juxtaposes the rigid structure of the copper grid with the soft flow of glass pulling and pouring through it, comparable to human fragility and tensile strength.


Kiln- formed glass and welded copper


30 x 15 x 15 cm

'Support is Needed' — Kiln-formed glass and copper rod — 25 x 15 x 10 cm

'Support is Needed' (Top view)

'Support is Needed' utilises structure, movement and colour to symbolise human emotion in a poetic way.
The copper rod acts as structural support for the melted glass precariously balanced above.
Colour choice is very significant in my work, thus I created a rich autumnal toned patina on the copper rod, emulated with similar glass colours, to signify the intense eruptive feeling of being overwhelmed.


Kiln-formed glass and copper rod


25 x 15 x 10 cm
Portfolio of Practice
'Portfolio of Practice' showcases experiments and works achieved over the last year, on the Ceramics & Glass course at the Royal College of Art.

The South Square Trust

The South Square Trust was set up in 1979 with the aim of assisting individuals wishing to study degree courses in the Fine and Applied Arts, as well as to assist registered charities with donations.

21 July 2020
12:30 (GMT + 0)

Engaging through materials: Collaboration, Community and Communication with ceramics and glass

This discussion explores ways that students in C&G have expanded their practices beyond the studio.
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