Having worked initially in the poetic idiom of figurative engraving on glass, noted British artist Stephen Procter later abandoned the practice in favour of larger scale, essentially abstract or sculptural forms. Although a far cry from the artist’s early manner of diamond-stipple engraving on traditional vessels, influenced by the romantic style of pictorial imagery associated with the celebrated British glass-engraver Laurence Whistler (b. 1912), Procter’s sculptural tableaux still depend for their impact upon the play of light on surfaces.
The gatherer was made during a visit by Procter to the glasshouse operated by Swiss designer Roberto Niederer in Hergiswil near Lucerne. Niederer had encouraged Procter to work with the master-glassblowers at his factory and to use the facilities on hand to create work on a scale unprecedented in the artist’s oeuvre. Like many of Procter’s hemispherical, composite and bulb-shaped forms, the single massive element of The gatherer appears to rest precariously on one point of its curvature, creating a sense of delicate equilibrium. The absence of colour, an immaculate technique, and the emphasis on extremely simple and organic shapes, are the hallmarks of Procter’s manipulation of glass and light.
In 1992 Stephen Procter assumed the position of Head of Glass Studies at the Canberra School of Art.