Chris Bird-Jones studied stained glass at Swansea School of Art, under Tim Lewis, followed some years later by an MA at London’s Royal College of Art.
For many years she combined lecturing with architectural commissions and exhibiting. She has lectured worldwide and held academic university positions as Head of Glass at Wrexham and Wolverhampton. In 2012 Chris relinquished her post as director of Swansea Metropolitan University’s Glass Masters programme to continue her own arts practice, full-time.
An active member of the Women’s International Glass Workshop (WIGW) Chris originated the 20th anniversary exhibition Gathering Light part of the European Capital of Culture Liverpool08 programme. In May 2018 she will exhibit in the exhibition ‘Light Matters’ with WIGW in Tokyo,
Fascinated by the phenomenal nuances of refracted light and shadow when glass is juxtaposed with sunlight, Chris attempts to harness this playful transience in her work. Often returning to particular themes, forms and metaphors, her work employs hot and cold glass techniques to realise concepts.
Awarded a prestigious Creative Wales Ambassadorship in 2015 she used this opportunity to revisit a body of work initiated in Hawai’i 25 years ago. The experience of revisiting and working in the place and landscape that inspired Chris half a lifetime ago reconnected her anew with ideas, inspiration and ‘ways of being’*.
She questioned and reviewed her own working methods; Chris explored ideas through daily walking and experimentation in making, utilising drawing, film, photography, glass and input from the community. Recording visually and physically, utilising creative questioning and problem solving. She concurrently studied indigenous art and artefacts in the context of the myths, legends and culture of the Hawaiian islands; researched methods and materials employed in the manufacture of these artefacts by primary investigation at Bishop Museum, Honolulu Museum of Art and on the University of Hawai’i at Manoa Campus.
* Ways of being describes dynamic, interactive ways of being that exist in three layers —identity, awareness and navigation, and three dimensions – ways of feeling, ways of relating to others, and ways of doing.
A new body of work is in the development stage, the touring exhibition planned for 2019 will be showcased internationally.