Lesley Pyke (King) Artist Statement

Lesley Pyke glass engraver workshop

My first deliberate scratch was on a small wine glass in 1983, in Harare, Zimbabwe, where I was born.
I had scratched a simple flower, using a basic diamond pencil, and on holding it up to the light I was overwhelmed with delight at its’ magical characteristics. It changed the course of my life immediately.

I joined the Guild of Glass Engravers, London, in 1983, as an Overseas member and proceeded to teach myself with books and videos which I purchased from the UK. Within a few months I was being commissioned by family and friends and so built my business which flourished for the next 19 years in Zimbabwe, using both drill and sandblasting techniques and offering bespoke glass engraving on the smallest glasses to panels and sliding doors.

In 2001 I moved to the UK where I began immediately to build the same business from scratch and where I have a showroom / gallery and workshop in the Halesworth Industrial Centre. In 2018 I moved my business to Henstead, about 30 minutes away.

A myriad of fascinating clients from all over the world have challenged me over the years and continue to do so with their wide variety of tastes and demands. It is often from them that I draw my inspiration for gallery pieces which in turn reflects my ever changing mood.

My clients can always be assured of my personal attention and no matter how large or small the commission the original passion remains unaltered.

Born in the ’60s in Salisbury (now Harare) Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe)

Education / Employment
* 1979 – Left school at 17 after gaining 2 M levels. A level art, followed by short oil painting course at Salisbury (Harare) School of Art

*1980 Air Traffic Control Assistant, Charles Prince Airport, Mt Hampden, Harare.

*1982 Air Operations Officer, District Development Fund Aircraft Section, Charles Prince (NOT Prince Charles) Airport, Mt. Hampden, Harare.

*1983 Costings and quotations clerk, Mc Donald Scientific, laboratory section, Msasa, Harare.

*1983 Started glass engraving in 1983 – joined Guild of Glass Engravers as an Overseas member, All my glass engraving is self taught using books and videos. My techniques being: drill, sandblasting and etching.

*1984 Started own engraving business, Harare, Zimbabwe.

During my engraving years in Zimbabwe I was the only professional glass engraver and therefore no grants or awards or any recognition was available. I did manage to send a piece overseas to one of the Guild exhibitions. Any transactions of this nature were extremely difficult from that country.

* Continued this business in Zimbabwe until December 2001 when I moved to Suffolk, UK and rebuilt same business from scratch which I operate to this day.

*Shortly after arriving in the UK I served on the Council of the Guild of Glass Engravers for 2 years.

Exhibitions / shows / engraving events since arriving UK December 2001

*2003 Buckenham Galleries, Southwold.
*2004 Guild of Glass Engravers National Exhibition
*I have a stand at the Cambridge Glass Fair twice a year, and have done every year since 2005 and continue to do so. The next event being 23rd September 2012 http://www.cambridgeglassfair.co.uk/
*2006 Guild of Glass Engravers National Exhibition

*2007 submitted the hand engraved crystal cullet “Endangered” to the Glass Sellers Engraving Award and was chosen as a finalist.
*2007 Glass Sellers Award exhibition, London Glass Blowing.
*2008 Engraving all perfumes Harrods, London
*2009 Engraving all perfumes Harrods, London
*2009 Engraving at Harrods, London, for Guerlain
*Showed at Art Glass Fair, Dulwich, London (now named SE21 Glass and Ceramics Fair) 2007/8
*2010 “Deep Surface Exhibition” – Zest Contemporary Glass Gallery, London
*2010 “21st Century Engraved Glass”, Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge
*2010 “Autumn 2010 Exhibition” Stourbridge Gallery
*2011 Engraving at Harrods, London, for Givenchy
*2011 Engraving at Harrods, for Bond no.9
* 2011 Engraving at various outlets for Liz Earle
*2012 Engraving at Harrods for Acqua di Parma
*2012 World Land Trust Exhibition http://www.worldlandtrust.org/gallery

*2012 Work currently represented by http://www.worldlandtrust.org/gallery
*2012 Contemporary Glass Society (CGS) Glass Medallions 22 Aug – 15 September. Ruskins Glass Centre. Event: International Glass Festival http://www.ifg.org.uk/exhibitions/medallions.html Medallion SOLD to Dan Klein & Alan J. Poole (Private Collection) @ National Museums Scotland. Edinburgh. GB.
*2012 Guild of Glass Engravers 2012 National Exhibition 21st Century Engraved Glass, Red House Glass Cone, Stourbridge 13 August – Sunday 7 October. http://www.ifg.org.uk/exhibitions/21st-century-engraved-glass.html
” 2012 Plowden and Thompson “Gallery90 in 2012” August 24th – Official opening at 5.00 p.m. ‘The Store’ Dial Glass Works, Stewkins, Stourbridge, DY8 4YN
Event: International Glass Festival

*2012 ZEST Contemporary Glass Gallery, London. WINTER GLASSCAPE Group Exhibition 8 November – 21 December 2012

*2012 World Land Trust Exhibition Winter Exhibition

*2013 Ladies’ Vice Captain of Halesworth Golf Club
*2013 (March) Engraving perfumes at Selfridges, London, for Acqua di Parma

*2013 World Land Trust Exhibition “Birds and Bees”

*2013 World Land Trust Exhibition “March Hares and Easter Eggs”

*2013 CRAFTCO Glass exhibition, Southwold. November 30th 2013- January 20th 2014

*2013 engraving for Bombay Sapphire at Selfridges, London, 10/11 Dec

*2014 Ladies’ Vice Captain of Halesworth Golf Club (2nd year)

*2014 engraving for Dior

*2014 Engraving for Bombay Sapphire, Worlds Most Imaginative Bartender Award Final event. Dartmouth House London, June.

*2014 Engraving for Givenchy, Harrods, August.

*2014 Engraving for Diageo, Johnny Walker Blue Label, Symphony In Blue event, Merchant Taylors’ Hall, London. September.

*2014, 2 works showing at INTERNATIONAL CONTEMPORARY ENGRAVED GLASS (Guild of Glass Engravers exhibition) Morley College Gallery, London October.

*2014, Engraving events for Bombay Sapphire in Selfridges Birmingham and London.

*2015 Ladies’ Captain Halesworth Golf.

*2015 June, exhibited and sold “Curiosity” at the Guild of Glass Engravers Exhibition, Stourbridge.

*2015 June Winner of The Contemporary Glass Society annual Glass Art Prize, which corresponded with the week-long International Festival of Glass in Stourbridge, England. “Wish you were here”

*2016 Engraving for Givenchy, in Harrods and Debenhams, Oxford St, London, in March*2016 Engraving for Gucci, Debenhams,Oxford St, London, in June. Perfume Launch.*2017 Worked (engraving in situ) on contract in Egypt, 10 days, official opening of The Mall of Egypt (Largest shopping mall in Africa)*2017 Travelled to teach students in South France and Scotland.*2018 Relocated my business to Henstead Nr Beccles*2018 Re-married, now Mrs. Lesley King (Professional name remains Lesley Pyke)
Commissions As my business is mainly commission based I have had many thousands of commissions since 1983. My clients have been from all over the world and include large corporations, celebrities, European Royalty, an African Head of State. My market is mainly high end luxury gifts presentations and awards, although a good proportion of my clients are the general public requiring simple engraving.

*Permanent display of engraved work and crystal blanks for engraving commissions in my Gallery / Showroom, Halesworth, Suffolk.

For many years I gave talks on the history of my work and glass engraving in general, on arrival in UK I became a WI speaker for Suffolk giving an average of 15 talks a year for 3 years until the business took all my time. It was a good way of introducing myself and my craft to the area where I live and where glass engraving is relatively unknown.
I have taught glass engraving since 1995, mainly one to one on request, I also taught 12 students twice a year in Darsham village in their craft experience days for 6 years.
I now teach at my new premises