sabbia gallery

Ceramics, Glass + Fibre

Gallery Two   15 May - 08 June 2024

Layla Walter – flourish

Sabbia Gallery is pleased to present this solo exhibition of new works in glass by Layla Walter.

Layla Walter is one of Aotearoa’s leading glass artists. A current finalist in the FUSE Glass Prize, this is her first solo exhibition at Sabbia Gallery. Justine Olsen, Curator of Decorative art and design, Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa wrote “The visual simplicity of Layla Walter’s forms belies complex conversations around New Zealand’s history, our environment and the importance of people and place”.

Walter studied at Unitec under Elizabeth McClure (1994), graduating with a Bachelor of Design – Glass in 1998 and worked in the studio of Ann Robinson for fifteen years (1996-2011). She attended Pilchuck Glass School in 1999, 2000 and 2001 and was the recipient of the Saxe Award. Her work has featured regularly in New Glass Review. When international master glass artist Daniel Clayman lectures about glass over the ages, he selected the image of ‘Kokako’ by Layla Walter to represent what is possible now.

Her work is held in both distinguished private collections and in public institutions, including Te Papa Tongarewa and Auckland Museum. Layla Walter’s work is displayed in museums, galleries, and cultural embassies in Australasia, Africa, Europe, and USA. She been invited to teach, demonstrate, and talk about glass casting and New Zealand glass across the world.


Flourish ‘to grow or develop in a healthy or vigorous way’.

This show is a gathering of vessels with bird and flower motifs; imagery drawn and carved by hand in wax, plaster or clay, then translated into glass using the lost wax technique. With 30 years’ experience casting glass, I’ve taken time to develop a large body of designs to draw on before debuting a solo exhibition in Australia.

These are a selection of my favourite works, cast using Gaffer Glass, an exceptional raw material developed here in New Zealand. The Southern light in Aotearoa is luminous; across water, through forest, in garden, through leaves; this is reflected in the vibrant colour palette for the show, and the soft hand finished surfaces which allow light to pool within the work.

Each bowl features smooth unadorned surfaces and detailed carvings. The imagery relates to people or place, drawn from friends gardens (Emily’s Hydrangea, Kazakh Pear) and the island bird sanctuary Tiritiri Matangi (Kōkako and Saddleback), this inspirational place is located in the Hauraki Gulf, between my childhood home in the Coromandel Peninsula and Tāmaki Makaurau/Auckland City where I live and work.

The newest works Layla Dahlia, Vessel For Sally with Kazakh Pear and Chatham Island Forget-me-not are made with an evolution of my process, making the mold in two parts to avoid wax. This, with the support of Creative New Zealand, paved the way for going up in scale with works such as ‘Layla Dahlia’ which is a current finalist in the Fuse Glass Prize.

Layla Walter, 2024