New Dawn at Westminster Hall

New Dawn-IMG_6584

Mary Branson’s New Dawn Sculpture at Westminster Hall.

Over the past two years Adam Aaronson and his team have been working together with the installation artist Mary Branson, on an exciting, secret project entitled “New Dawn”.  Mary is Parliament’s ‘artist-in-residence’ for women’s suffrage. Many visitors to Adam’s studio have noticed the buzz of activity but usually all questions about the project were met with deafening silence. Except that Adam did tell a few people that he was developing canapé dishes for a restaurant chain and this seemed to keep them happy!

Now the secret is out and if you missed it on the national news, New Dawn was unveiled on June 7th in Westminster Hall in the Palace of Westminster. This link takes you to the BBC News Report on the day. (Adam appears at 00.42 and 01.36)

Legacy Artwork

This legacy artwork is the brainchild of Mary Branson. Mary was commissioned, as part of her residency, by the Speaker’s Advisory Committee on Works of Art. Her task was to develop a proposal for a site-specific work. The brief was for an artwork to be placed in a permanent location in the Palace of Westminster as part of the Parliamentary Art Collection. Finding a suitable location in such a huge building was challenging. However, Mary kept being drawn back to the entrance to St Stephen’s Hall, where suffragettes petitioning Parliament all those years ago, were barred from entering any further. As part of  her research, Mary discovered that Parliament is full of traditional art and sculpture. However, this mainly features male politicians. Women are hardly represented. So she wanted to redress the balance with a large scale contemporary work honouring the thousands of campaigners who paved the way for universal suffrage. The majority of these were, of course, women. Mary discovered that Charles Barry, in his nineteenth century rebuild of the Palace of Westminster, had originally intended the two alcoves, high above the doorways in Westminster Hall, to house an epic pair of artworks. These were intended to depict “War” and “Peace”, but his budget ran out. So the radiant calm of Mary Branson’s New Dawn turns out to be an ideal alternative for this location as it is sited exactly where Barrie had intended “Peace” to be celebrated.

New Dawn is a dynamic glass, metal, and light sculpture and marks 150 years since the philosopher John Stuart Mill presented to Parliament a petition calling for votes for women. This became a turning point for the women’s suffrage movement.

New Dawn-IMG_6625


Adam Aaronson’s involvement.

Mary Branson first approached Adam Aaronson in June 2014 when the concept was in its nascent stages and they have been working closely together on the project for almost two years. Mary’s inspiration came from the ends of the scrolls in the Original Act Room in the Victoria Tower in the Palace of Westminster. This is where all the legislation and petitions to parliament in our history are housed. Written on these vellum scrolls is the legislation that brought women the vote as well as the petitions of all the campaigners.

When Mary showed Adam her photographs of the scrolls, he too was similarly inspired and instantly on the same wavelength. So it fell to him to devise a way to reflect the imagery of the scrolls in glass. He achieved this by working with Mary to adapt the carefully honed techniques he is known for, to create the 168 glass scrolls used in New Dawn.

New Dawn-IMG_6378


Making the Glasswork

This link takes you to Making the Glasswork , one of three outstanding films that the Parliamentary Curator’s Office commissioned about New Dawn from WakeWood

Over a period of eighteen months, Adam and his team, painstakingly created the glass scrolls for New Dawn. The parameters they had to work to were exacting. More than 350 scrolls were produced to achieve the final result. Many of these had to be destroyed but a limited number of the glass scrolls that didn’t quite make the grade are now available to purchase from the Houses of Parliament Shop.

The hand-blown glass scrolls are of varying sizes and each of these 168 unique glass discs was hand-blown and carefully ‘spun’ to open them out flat. To produce the scroll effect, Adam applied powdered glass colours and silver leaf to the molten glass at specific points in the process. The colours of the glass scrolls were carefully chosen to reflect the coloured banners of the many organisations who spoke up in favour of women’s suffrage. These include the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies, the Women’s Social and Political Union, the Women’s Freedom League and the Men’s League for Women’s Suffrage.

Dynamic Lighting

To enable Mary Branson to make her vision of New Dawn into a reality, she also enlisted the help of a number of other leading craftsmen.  Ian and Colin Musson, a father and son team, produced the supporting metal work. Mary designed this in the shape of a portcullis. Chris Wilson of WLX Productions produced the lighting programme, which runs on a twelve hour cycle. New Dawn is unusual in that it is a dynamic artwork. Mary spent weeks devising the programme that changes the sculpture over a twelve-hour cycle that is governed by the ebb and flow of the tides of the River Thames. The historical significance of this is that the suffragette movement regarded itself as being on the rising tide of change, and the clock would not be turned back. The journey was still to be a long and tortuous one, but there was no going back and eventually women gained the vote.

Further information

You can find out more about New Dawn and the rich historical references that imbue it with an extra dimension, by downloading the brochure here

Mary and Adam have also designed a series of limited edition commemorative, New Dawn Scroll Bowls which can be purchased from the Houses of Parliament shop.

Measuring 6 metres by 4 metres, New Dawn is the largest publicly commissioned glass sculpture of its kind in the UK, to the best of our knowledge.

New Dawn-IMG_6533

This link takes you to Mary Branson’s website. If you scroll down to the picture of Mary and the image opposite shows the dynamic nature of the work, which is linked to the tides of the River Thames.

Thanks to Emma Brown for the images of New Dawn shown here.

Surrey Artists Open Studios – Hot Glass Taster Sessions

Hot Glass Taster Sessions at Adam Aaronson Glass Studio during Surrey Artists Open Studios 2016:

Make a paperweight, bird, heart, or other solid glass object, or blow a Christmas Bauble

Make a paperweight

Adam Aaronson Glass Studio

Regular morning and afternoon sessions; £40 per person (1.5 hours)

Phone  01483 375035 early to book. Up to 10 people per session. Or email

These hot glass taster courses are dynamic, hands-on workshops in which each participant makes their own coloured glass paperweight, bird, heart or other solid object from a choice of styles. These short courses are only run during Surrey Artists Open Studios and are not available at other times of the year, except to groups (see )

The session starts with a safety briefing and then a demonstration from Adam, showing the process that each person will use, with assistance from Adam and his assistant, Nikki, to make their paperweight or other item.

Next, each person chooses their colours and style and works with Adam and Nikki to create their unique piece. Paperweights and other items have to be annealed overnight and are generally ready for collection 48 hours after the course. The cost per person, per piece, is at the special SAOS rate of £40 including VAT.

These glassblowing courses are great fun for all ages and though mainly attended by adults, are also open to children aged from 11 years old. A parent, or other responsible adult must accompany children. Please advise when booking if participants will be under 18. No experience is necessary as we adapt to the individual’s ability, giving more or less assistance as required. Booking your experience ahead of your visit is recommended to avoid disappointment as spaces get booked up quickly.

Hot Glass Taster Sessions at Adam Aaronson Glass Studio dates and times:

Still a few places available on most dates.

Saturday June 4 and Sunday June 5

9.45am to 11.15 and 11.45 to 1.15pm

Thursday June 9

1.45pm to 3.15pm and 3.45pm to 5.15pm

Friday June 10, Saturday June 11 and Sunday June 12

 9.45am to 11.15 and 11.45 to 1.15pm

Thursday June 16

1.45pm to 3.15pm and 3.45pm to 5.15pm

Friday June 17, Saturday June 18 and Sunday June 19

9.45am to 11.15 and 11.45 to 1.15pm

Surrey Hills Sculpture Garden

Adam Aaronson has recently been working on several new sculptures for the annual Surrey Hills Sculpture Garden exhibiton  at Birtley House in Bramley. The exhibition opens on Saturday 30th April and is open to the public from 11am – 5pm until 5th June.

“I’m particularly pleased with my new totems” said Adam. “I first made totems around 1991/2 but these were much smaller, standing around 50cm high. It’s taken a while to come back to the ideas and scale them up, but I’ve been meaning to do this for some time and the Surrey Hills Sculpture Garden at Birtley has given me the opportunity to do so”.

The Totems stand approximately 2 metres tall and are composed of colourful multiple blown glass elements supported by a stainless steel core.

Totem i at Surrey Hills Sculpture Garden Totem II at Surrey Hills Sculpture Garden

Adam is also exhibiting two new “Cubes” and a “Tower”. These substantial works are formed using a process of casting hot glass from the furnace onto a steel table. They are supported on stainless steel bases.

Tower at Surrey Hills Sculpture GardenCube I at Surrey Hills Sculpture Garden

In addition, the exhibition features three of Adam’s “Bud” sculptures. These are blown glass elements supported by stainless steel posts.

Buds at Surrey Hills Sculpture Garden

The Birtley exhibition features a wide range of work from some outstanding sculptors and is definitely worth a visit, and is is open daily from 11am – 5pm. There are around 170 sculptures in total and these are set in the stunning formal gardens. This is an ideal opportunity to enjoy the extensive grounds at Birtley too.

This is the fourth consecutive year that Adam Aaronson has exhibited in the Surrey Hills Sculpture Garden.


Adam Aaronson Glass at appART

Adam Aaronson Glass at appART

Adam always looks forward to participating in the annual Easter appART exhibition at Priors Field School  in Godalming. This year is no exception as the standard and range of the exhibits is exceptionally high.

The exhibition features work by 200 artists. It incorporates a fascinating Sculpture Trail around the beautiful gardens, which were originally designed by Gertrude Jekyll. There is also an indoor exhibition in the beautiful arts and crafts building designed by Charles Voysey. This is a wonderful tranquil setting, and with its rich history, it is an ideal location for an exhibition of this kind.

Buds appART

The sculpture trail features a staggering 705 exhibits and the indoor exhibition a further 472, so there is definitely something for everyone. Adam has a several sculptures installed in the grounds and is well represented indoors with some of his most recent landscape bowls.

Landscapes appART

The exhibition was opened on Friday 1st April by Tinx Newton, the Art Editor of Surrey Life magazine. The event marks 20 years of exhibition organizing by the directors of appART, Gwyn and Evelyn Phillips.

The exhibition runs from Saturday 2nd April to Sat 16th April 2016 and is open daily from 10am-4pm. Admission is free but there is a £2 charge for the comprehensive catalogue. A visit is highly recommended and you should allow at least an hour if you want to see and study all the exhibits.

Easter Egg Treasure Hunt

Easter Egg Treasure Hunt with a difference.

Here is an Easter Egg Treasure Hunt that everyone can do, even with their eyes shut! All you need to do is make your way to Quaich in East Horsley, or The Stockyard at Horsley station and you can buy one of these lovely glass eggs by Adam Aaronson Glass Studio for yourself. These will be available from Wednesday 23rd March.

This fundraiser is part of the Waterbabies Challenge, which Adam Aaronson has been very excited about and proud to support over the past two years. Record breaking Atlantic rower Callum Gathercole has been raising funds for three charities and our Easter Egg Hunt aims to help reach his target, with the entire proceeds being donated to Brace – Brain Tumour Research.

Each egg costs £10 and they are available from Quaich in East Horsley and The Stockyard at Horsley Station. The eggs are sold on a lucky dip basis. They’re all pre-wrapped, so you just hand over your tenner and rummage. You can have as many goes as you like at £10 per go, but there are only 60 eggs available, so get your skates on!

The Treasure:
Hidden in the lucky dip are six special eggs. These have special stars engraved on the base. The starred eggs are the Treasure you are searching for.

If you find an egg with a single star, you win another egg, free. There are three of these eggs, mixed in with the others.

If your egg has two stars, you can redeem this against a “make your own paperweight session” during Surrey Artists Open Studios in June There are three eggs with two stars, hidden among the others.

The colours are assorted and there is no limit to how many you can buy, while stocks last.

Update: Wednesday 23 March, 8.30pm
The eggs have been incredibly popular and earlier today, The Stockyard and Quaich had virtually sold out, raising almost £600 for Brace, so many thanks to Su and Robin for handling the sales. So we have packed up another batch of around 50 eggs which have been selling today, on the same basis, with special stars hidden among them. So if you haven’t yet got one, there are still some left, and we hope to reach a four figure sum for the charity.

Update: Friday April 1st. We’ve exceeded our original target and have now raised £860. There are still a few eggs left at Quaich and these will be available until close of business on Saturday 2nd April. It would be great to reach £1,000…


Adam Aaronson Glass Easter weekend

Adam Aaronson Glass Easter weekend and upcoming events


Adam Aaronson Glass Studio will be closed all weekend from Good Friday through Easter Monday, reopening on Tuesday 29th so that Adam and the team can have a well-deserved, (well that’s what we think), break. There may be some chocolate involved over the weekend…at least we hope so!IMG_2193

Meanwhile, over the Easter weekend, Liz and Michael Flatter will be showing Adam Aaronson’s work at two important antiques and collectors’ fairs.

On Friday 24th and Saturday 25th March, they will be at the

Peterborough Festival of Antiques at the East of England Showground.

This is quite a large fair, so if you are visiting it is important to make a note of their stand location. They will be in the Exhibition Hall, row X 215/216 and they would love to see you, so do go along and introduce yourself!

Lamport Hall

On Sunday 26th and Monday 27th March, Liz and Michael will be at at Lamport Hall, in Northamptonshire with Adam’s work, If you are visiting the fair, do go and say hello! You will find them in the Tudor Barn.

After that marathon of two back to back two-day fairs, Michael and Liz will probably be exhausted, so they will be having the following weekend off to recuperate! But then on Sunday 10th April they will be exhibiting my work again at Colston Hall in Gerrards Cross.

Thanks to Michael and Liz Flatter for their sterling efforts in taking Adam Aaronson’s glass around the country.

Waterbabies Atlantic Row

Adam Aaronson Glass Studio is supporting the terrific Waterbabies Atlantic Row.

If you’ve been watching the news, you’re probably aware that Callum Gathercole is aiming to break the world record as the youngest solo rower to cross the Atlantic and at the same time to raise an awe-inspiring £280,000 for three charities: Princess Alice Hospice, Brace, funding Research into Alzheimer’s and Brain Tumour Research. Callum and his family live in East Horsley, just a stone’s throw from our glass blowing studio in West Horsley and many of the friends we have made since our move here, including Quaich in East Horsley, are also backing Callum. If the recent weather has been getting you down, spare a thought for Callum who is out in the mid-Atlantic in somewhat worse weather conditions!

At the time of writing Callum and his fund-raising team have passed the £230,000 mark and at Adam Aaronson Glass Studio we are all very proud to have been involved with raising £1,250 towards his target. We achieved this by donating two auction prizes for special themed glassblowing events, which attracted substantial bids at the 2014 and 2015 fund-raising Balls. The first event was a once-in-a-lifetime glassblowing experience to work with Adam to create a special landscape bowl and the second was an exciting Christmas Bauble blowing session for a family group.

We were thrilled to hear that Callum and his team had added Adam’s name to the list of sponsors painted on the side of “Small and Mighty” so we really feel we are crossing the Atlantic with him and are following his progress on the race-tracker page and on Facebook.

We are already planning what to donate as this year’s auction prize for this great cause, so keep an eye on our events page for an update if you would like an opportunity to win it, but in the meantime there’s nothing to stop you popping over to Callum’s Just Giving page and making a donation.

Glass blowing Team Building

Here is a review of a glass blowing team building session we recently held at the studio for a group of web designers, the London based 3Mil who designed our brilliant new website! The team came down on the train and we picked them up at Horsley station. After their glassblowing session, we dropped them off at the Onslow Arms in West Clandon, so they could catch the train back from Clandon after dinner. A great way to spend an away-day from work. You should try it one of these days!


Handmade at Kew

Adam Aaronson is exhibiting at the prestigious Handmade at Kew fair, organised by Handmade in Britain in conjunction with The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, see details here

This means that the studio will not be open to visitors on Friday 9, Saturday 10 and Sunday 11 October as we’ll be at the fair so we hope to see you at Kew.

Handmade at Kew is a wonderful show full of outstanding work by excellent designer makers and we strongly recommend a visit. Here is the link to Kew’s booking system, where you can save on tickets if you book online.