Artistic and life partners Emily Siddell and Stephen Bradbourne have created a unique symbiosis in their art. For many years, the blown glass work of Bradbourne and ceramics of Siddell have run parallel courses, with the art of one artist inspiring and informing the work of the other. In recent exhibitions, these two strands have touched and intertwined, with the line at which one artist's work starts and the other's ends becoming more and more blurred.
It is not perhaps surprising to find that Bradbourne's original area of expertise was ceramics (in which he majored at polytechnic) or that Siddell's major early influences included master glass artist Ann Robinson. Siddell has also been strongly drawn over the years to Japanese ceramic techniques and to the repeated patterns and motifs of Pacific art, both of which continue to be reflected in her work. Similar repetitions of form are a major feature of Bradbourne's masterful mosaic and murrine hot glass technique. In the duo's collaborative work, these influences mesh together to produce remarkable works of elegance and subtlety.
The two artists, in working with similar forms in different media, have created interesting series of works which draw out these differences. In works such as the pair's Murrine and Nerikomi Beakers, the similarity of pattern and disparity of medium create conversations which grab the viewer's attention. The interplay between translucent and opaque surfaces — notably in the Juxtapose bottles — and the ways in which the forms play with and against the space surrounding them produce dynamic tableaux in which the works both challenge and perfectly complement each other.