Summertown-based glass artist and sculptor Vital Peeters is preparing to open his artist’s home and garden at 538 Banbury Road for the thirtieth consecutive year as part of Oxfordshire Artweeks. For nine days (4th-12th May) he invites visitors to come into the airy gallery-cum-studio space to enjoy the colourful fused glass art, see the raw materials and uncover the secrets of their transformation in the kiln.
‘I started out on the kitchen table 30 years ago,’ Vital smiled, ‘in a terraced house just off the Abingdon Road in South Oxford, and that’s where I held my first open studio event, inviting people to come and see the stained glass windows I’d made for the house, and the pieces I was working on at the time. They loved to have the chance to see and understand the design and making process. Glass has such enchanting qualities because it combines colour and texture, and as daylight goes through it, it is transformed.’
‘I have welcomed people into the studio during Artweeks every year for thirty years – it’s the highlight of my calendar! I love it when people come to have a look and they ask questions which make me ponder. Their observations and thoughts often surprise me and their thoughts stimulate new ideas in me. Maybe they’ll even be inspired to have a go themselves.’
‘The inspiration for my designs comes from many places including those where I have lived and travelled – China, for example. Over the last few years I have taken the animal of the Chinese New Year as a mini-theme. This year is the Year of the Pig. Because the pig doesn’t have the style and mystery of a dragon I thought it might be too ordinary but at Artweeks this year visitors can see flying pigs!’
Although Vital enjoys creating characterful pieces, it is the windows, doors and glass panels he creates for buildings large and small for which he is best recognised, and his designs can be seen in the UK and internationally. Locally they can be found in, amongst others, Linacre College, Sobell House Chapel and Stoke Mandeville Hospital as well as the twinning windows in the Town Halls in Oxford, Leiden, Bonn and Grenoble. These glass windows team transparency with colour, texture and rhythm, in abstract circles and sweeping curves.
Primarily known for his fused glass art, during Oxfordshire Artweeks Vital will also present a wide variety of art including drawing, stone carving, terracotta sculptures in a beautiful garden which visitors are invited to explore. Tours of the stained glass in the house will also be on offer.
Download the pdf below for a full profile on Vital Peeters.