Stourbridge glass artists take the USA by storm

Pictured above: From left: Glass artist Jaqueline Cooley is pictured at the exhibition with US buyers Marcia Webber and Jim Flaws and UK Trade & Investment international trade adviser Maggie Neale, with examples of Jaqueline’s work in the background


West Midlands glass artists sold US $20,000 worth of their work at a top international event in New York – with help from UK Trade & Investment.

The 23-strong group from around the region joined with similar artists from Frauenau, Bavaria, to take part in the Glass Art Society’s recent annual conference in Corning, New York.

An exhibition entitled “Same Difference” in Corning showed how the West Midlands and German artists use the same material and techniques but with different approaches.

A long-standing collaboration between Stourbridge, famous for its glass industry over hundreds of years, and Frauenau was forged some time ago as a result of cultural and economic similarities between the two areas and is supported by UK Trade & Investment’s Black Country international trade team. 

During the exhibition, the West Midlands artists sold artwork worth approximately US $20,000, and follow-up sales are expected to reach three times this figure.

Jaqueline Cooley, of Broseley, Shropshire, one of the artists who took part, sold two very large bowls to collectors.

“This new business has made a huge difference, as with the economic downturn at home, the USA is becoming a more and more important market for me,” she said.

“The results have been fantastic, not only for me but the other artists involved. I’m currently in negotiation with the Corning Museum of Glass shop to sell some of my work there. 

“Several other artists left some of their work behind for the shop to sell and are also in negotiations with another local glass gallery in Corning.

“In addition, four of us have been invited back for a one-week teaching position at the museum’s studio. This is a highly prestigious opportunity for us to showcase our skills at the world’s premier glass centre.”

UK Trade & Investment international trade adviser Maggie Neale, based at Black Country Chamber of Commerce, who led the group visit, said: “The Same Difference exhibition was very well received by the Corning conference.

“There were many influential visitors from the glass world, who were all impressed with the work and delighted to welcome British and German artists.

“More than 1,000 conference delegates saw the exhibition over three days, giving our artists maximum exposure at this world renowned event.

“UK Trade & Investment, in conjunction with Advantage West Midlands, also supported the production of a high quality catalogue to accompany the exhibition, which was very popular and has already led to sales in the UK, Germany and Denmark.

“Follow-up sales through the catalogue and the work remaining in Corning are expected to reach US $60,000, which will ensure the success of our local artists in this market for some time to come.”

For more information about how UK Trade & Investment can help your business expand into new markets abroad, contact the international trade team at Black Country Chamber of Commerce on Tel: 0845 872 4293.

Read more news stories in