Benefield Spencer Glass is a partnership between Scott Benefield and Andrea Spencer and based in Northern Ireland. Scott and Andrea met during a residency at North Lands Creative Glass in Lybster, Scotland in March 2004 and were married six years later. All of their work is designed, produced and finished in their Ballintoy studio entirely by hand.
Benefield Spencer use traditional Venetian techniques that employ a network of canes, or filigrana, to achieve a graphic pattern of lines. With this technique each line (or cane) was once a separate piece of glass, then joined with other pieces and fused together to form a continuous surface. This means that the patterns “follow” the glass as it is blown and stretched and reflect something of the hot glass process. Their work marries this ancient technique to a contemporary design sensibility, using clean, strong profiles to produce a unified range of functional vessels for use in the home.
Scott says, “Our work draws upon a particular heritage in the history of glass—the golden age of 16th century Venetian glassblowing. In this tradition, the ability of glass to change its state from a solid to a liquid is pushed to its limit, and everything that gives the final object its form or decoration happens at elevated temperatures, emphasising the fluid nature of glass and the glassblower’s dexterity. My concern as a maker has been to engage the history of the medium in an informed way, participating in that continuum by continuing to innovate within it. “
The studio, which Benefield Spencer moved into in 2016, is fully equipped for doing all sorts of work with glass, including glassblowing and flameworking facilities, as well as various fusing and slumping kilns, sandblasting and extensive equipment for grinding and polishing glass. Individually and collectively, Scott and Andrea produce an annual line of functional handblown glass that is marketed throughout the UK and Ireland. They also execute commissioned work such as public art, architectural treatments, bespoke lighting and props for television and film. The common denominator is always their passion for the highest quality of artisanal glass.