Saidye Bronfman Award
Ione Thorkelsson, Three-footed bowl, 1993, cast glass, 11.5 x 16 cm. diam. Photo courtesy of the artist
Ione Thorkelsson
Photo: Martin Lipman

"Glass has an effect that is like nothing else. You can make it translucent, transparent or opaque. I’m working with emotion and mood as well as with ideas and glass can do that for you."

Ione Thorkelsson, Canadian Clay and Glass Gallery, 2016

Iona Thorkelsson first studied architecture at the University of Manitoba, then worked behind the scenes in theatre and ballet as a scenic painter, props and wardrobe assistant before she discovered glass. She took summer courses at Sheridan College in Ontario the same year she started her own studio and began creating vases, perfume bottles and other vessels. Thorkelsson loves blowing glass. She describes it as "when it is going right, everything moves with you and the glass. The world is in sync."

After twenty years of making vivid blown glass pieces, Ione Thorkelsson started work on and eventually mastered the technical aspects of kiln cast glass. She is self-taught in this medium and says there is still no right way, no guarantee, that any one technique will work. Working from her studio in rural Manitoba, far from the main centres of Canadian glass art, Thorkelsson draws on the natural world for subjects. She uses found elements like skulls, spines, feathers, roots and tree limbs to create moulds and in her pieces.

Her works have been exhibited across North America, Europe and Asia.

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