Colin Wilkes is a former builder with over 15 years of experience working with different materials, especially concrete and timber. After studying BA (Hons) Craft & Material Practices at Plymouth College of Art he launched his own maker practice in 2019, and now specialises as a glassblower, drawing on his previous skills from his time in the construction industry.
Colin utilises accumulated knowledge of timber to construct forms for the concrete moulds he uses in the glass studio, combining his former trade skills and materials knowledge with his new talents as a glassblower. He draws on his expert experience of moulding techniques as a concrete finisher to make innovative new moulds for hot glass production. These forms then become part of the finished work, providing a contrast to the vibrant glass.
The focus of Colin’s current practice is to work in a more sustainable way with his chosen materials, by continually recycling them and producing evolving mixed-media sculptures. Sustainability is one of his primary goals. Both glass and concrete are almost 100% recyclable, and Colin plans to use that to his advantage. He says, “I want to bring those materials that I am so used to working with, for example, the dull hard industrial concrete, the discarded or forgotten timber, and repurpose them by recycle/reuse and create evolving mixed-media sculptures. I don’t want to just use a conventional mould several times and let it end up at landfill.”
Colin’s desire for his materials is to continually reuse and reshape. His intention is that even when materials are no longer usable as a form in their own right, they can still be used for another purpose, such as aggregate or subbase.
Colin is based in Devon and was the recipient of the Design-Nation ‘Making It’ award in 2021, in partnership with the Devon Guild of Craftsmen.