Author Topic: William Walker Swan  (Read 1216 times)

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Offline Leni

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William Walker Swan
« on: March 25, 2011, 08:35:07 PM »
I recently bought this little swan on ebay, because it looked to like the Whitefriars swans which I collect, and I was intrigued to see it described as Mdina.  I know there is a like between Whitefriars and Mdina because Ettore and Vincente Boffo, ex Whitefriars, worked with Michael Harris at Mdina.  However, there is a signature on the base of this swan, which reads William Walker and the date 1984.  (There is also an inscription which reads "Hand made for Mr & Mrs G Spearing" (sp), in case anyone knows them! ;D

Now I have discovered from our Mdina experts Sue and John that William Walker did in fact work with Michael Harris, at Isle of Wight Studio glass, but we haven't yet been able to find out if William also worked at Mdina with Boffo!  However, I can say from my experience of WF swans that IMNSHO this one was made by someone who was either taught by Boffo or taught by someone who was taught by Boffo!   :spls:  :D

William Walker was apparently still blowing glass a few years ago, and was last I heard of in Wiltshire.  Does anyone have any further information about him, or know of his current whereabouts?
Leni


Offline flying free

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Re: William Walker Swan
« Reply #1 on: March 26, 2011, 12:59:37 AM »
Leni, in Mark Hill's book it says on page62 that in 1978 Michael developed an idea for a competition to be held amongst the current year's graduates at the RCA.  And further he says, in a close run  event the eventual winner was William Walker.  So I was just thinking if William Walker had worked with the Boffos at Mdina wouldn't that have been '69-'72 ish and would he then have been a graduate at the RCA in 1978?  I suppose he could have been but it doesn't mention in the book that Michael Harris had known or worked with him before.  Sorry, I'm sure these conversations have already been had, but I'm just curious on dates and timings.
Also on another thread on the GMB a lady called Emma I think??? said she had worked for William Walker when his studio was at Poole pottery?  She may be contactable for further help perhaps?  I'll have a look for the thread and link it.
Link attached - her name is EmmaLou
http://www.glassmessages.com/index.php/topic,26616.msg202282.html#msg202282
m


Offline glassobsessed

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Re: William Walker Swan
« Reply #2 on: March 26, 2011, 01:51:52 PM »
Presumably the swan has nothing to do with Mdina though, it is not marked Mdina I take it Leni?

Who made the swans at Whitefriars?

John


Offline Leni

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Re: William Walker Swan
« Reply #3 on: March 27, 2011, 09:48:08 AM »
Sorry!  Yes, of course it's unlikely that William Walker was involved at Mdina!  What I meant to say was that we don't know who overlapped with whom at IoWSG and who might have taught whom to make swans, etc.  (I posted in haste (post haste!  LOL!  ;D ) as members of my family were just arriving for the weekend as I was posting - that's my excuse for the errors and spelling mistooks as well  :-[ ) Thanks for the link and suggestions on tracking down William Walker :)

No John, there's no indication that this swan actually had anything to do with Mdina, it's only that the seller said they assumed it was because they had originally acquired it with another piece which was marked Mdina.   

As for who made WF swans, Frank Hill made some of the earliest swans and I believe Johnnie King made some of the latest ones.  In between various others made them, although I'm not sure exactly who and when.  (I was once told by Ray Annenberg that although different chairs each had different jobs to do, if something was needed urgently to fulfil an order everyone needed to be able to turn their hand to anything!  Does anyone know how much that was likely to happen?)

       
Leni


Offline glassobsessed

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Re: William Walker Swan
« Reply #4 on: March 27, 2011, 02:54:05 PM »
[Mod: This post has been edited for correction to spellings. Jan 2014]

Can't say I noticed any spelling mistakes Leni. As for everyone lending a hand when there was a rush to fulfill an order it probably happened once a month or so, continuous smooth operation would have required buyers and management to be well organized. Fat chance..... ;D

John


Offline william walker

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Re: William Walker Swan
« Reply #5 on: January 27, 2014, 02:59:05 PM »
I made the swan in question, the reason it looks so 'Whitefriarsish" is that Fred Daden, one of the gaffers at whitefriars taught me how to make them when he was senior technician at the Royal College when I was a student there, 1977-1979.
as a matter of record, in my last year at the RCA Michael Harris approached the college for ideas for a range of giftware to be produced by I.O.W. I had been experimenting with metal foils, particularly gold and silver leaf since being a student at Farnham as it was then.
I had the idea of combining the leaf into the surface of black glass, Michael incorporated the technique into his shapes and, with some tweeking between us (although the actual range of shapes were predominately his), 'Azurene" was launched. He and I both received the Design  council Award in 1980.
I never worked with boffo at Mdina....before my time......am still glassmaking though.
PS. Emmalou answered this on the messageboard but the message has since vanished...if you're sill out there Em. let me know how you are...


Offline chopin-liszt

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Re: William Walker Swan
« Reply #6 on: January 27, 2014, 03:22:22 PM »
Hello William,
(if I may call you that?)
How kind of you to take the time and make the effort to pop in and comment about the swan and your work!

Your name, sadly, does not get enough credit for the difficult work of incorporating silver foil and glass together, and for the Design Award.  That was a milestone achievement in glassmaking techniques. 8)
Cheers, Sue (M)

“All things are subject to interpretation. Whichever interpretation prevails at a given time is a function of power and not truth.” Friedrich Nietzsche


Offline rosieposie

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Re: William Walker Swan
« Reply #7 on: January 27, 2014, 04:36:10 PM »
Oh Leni,  how wonderful  for you that William has revealed all that provenance,  it must make the swan extra special.
As for the Azurene technique William,  I have been so taken with it since I started my glass collection,  that I now have a whole cabinet devoted to it,  so thank you for perfecting that technique and telling us all the history that goes with it... it makes my collection all the more precious.

You mention you are still glassmaking,  and it would be lovely to know where you are situated so that in the event we are in the area,  we could possibly put a face to your name.

Congratulations on the Design Award...well deserved I might add! :)

PS.  I have notified Leni of your reply and she has asked me to thank you for taking the time to write such a full and informative answer. :)
Rosie.

When all's said and done, there's nothing left to say or do.  Roger McGough.


Offline william walker

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Re: William Walker Swan
« Reply #8 on: January 29, 2014, 08:34:06 PM »
Thanks for that, I'm new at this message board m'larky,It came to my attention though someone pointing out the glass swan, I'm not even sure whether I'm addressing one person or a bunch of you...If you let me know your email address, I'll send you some pics of more recent stuff...swans and Azurene was a LONG time ago, although you might like to know that as a designers we would expect to get either 1/2% for the life of the product, 2% for 5 years or 5% for 2 years, that's the basic rule of thumb. With Azurene, I chose the 5%
for 2 years( remember I had just left college...NOUGHT munny!!). Michael H. was fastidious in payment and I received a total of just over £7000 over that period, more that half of the set-up costs of my 1st. workshop...Thanks, Mike. ( I know he died, but he's still alive to me...)
If i'm talking to one person, perhaps you'd stick this on the noticeboard.....Good glassmaker, crap at computers!!
I blow glass down in Weymouth right in the middle of town, if you fancy coming down to see, give me a shout...I'll run you up another swan!!
ps. I also blew all the specialist windows for the restoration of Windsor Castle, I researched 12C. glass recipes and made them in the same way that windows were made in 1066...cooo er.!


Offline Anne

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Re: William Walker Swan
« Reply #9 on: January 30, 2014, 12:19:59 AM »
Hello William and welcome to the board. I've removed your email address from your post above to protect it from being harvested by spammers. Anyone signed into the board may email you via the board's email system (by clicking that wee envelope under your name on the left of your posts) which is a safer option and allows you to choose if you want to reply to them directly and thus reveal your own email address to them. :)

 

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