Layla Walter is a New Zealand glass artist who has gained recognition for her works in cast glass. When international master glass artist and teacher Daniel Clayman lectures about glass over the ages - from 3500 years until the present, he selected an image of ‘Kokako’ by Layla Walter to show what is possible now. Justine Olsen from Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa says “The visual simplicity of Layla Walter’s forms belie complex conversations around New Zealand’s history, our environment and the importance of people and place”.1 Her work is held in distinguished private collections and significant public institutions (Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, Auckland Museum). Walter’s work is displayed in museums, galleries and cultural embassies around the world: the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade have placed her work in Egypt, Iran, France, and USA.
She continues a tradition of cast glass, using techniques which are highly skilled and complex, employing internal and external carving often using very personal representations of weaving or native flora and fauna carved in bas-relief. There has been much critical acclaim for her detailed work. Walter’s work was awarded Best In Show at the New Zealand Society of Artists in Glass conference, 2016. Of her glass casting, Australian critic Noris Ioannou wrote “Layla Walter’s Magnolia Vase is a tour-de-force…”2 Her latest work Fabric of Humanity is on show in Ko rātou, ko tātou | On other-ness and us-ness, conversations with Islam, alongside and from inside at NorthArt, Northcote, Auckland from 15 March - 1 April 2020. In 2021 Walter has a solo exhibition with Masterworks Gallery, Auckland, and alongside conceptual art, video and craft, she will exhibit her glass work in Ake Tonu, Ka Rere Ai - Birds of Meaning at Te Kongahu Museum of Waitangi, Tau Henare Drive, Waitangi.
In 2019 she was one of 200 international artists selected, and the sole New Zealand representative for the first International Handicrafters Festival in Uzbekistan. She was also one of three international guest speakers invited to Uly Dala Elі - Forum of Artisans in Kazakhstan, where she presented the works of 14 leading NZ craft artists. There she also presented at the Eurasian Creative Forum conference; Sentences of Art and Science. Walter has been invited to teach, demonstrate and talk about glass casting and New Zealand glass in Australia, America, Canada, Germany, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and New Zealand.
Walter a representative for Aotearoa / New Zealand on the World Craft Council - Asia Pacific Region WCC-APR. An ambassador for New Zealand glass art and craft, she produced the DVD ‘Artists Working with Glass in New Zealand’,3 a valuable historical resource about glass practice in New Zealand, which was shown internationally, including at the American Glass Art Society (GAS) Conference, 2005 Adelaide, Australia. She has been a committee member of the New Zealand Society of Artists.
She has been invited to write a chapter in a book 'Educating in the Crafts - the Global Experience' by Lindy Joubert, (Senior Lecturer, University of Melbourne, and Vice President of the World Craft Council Asia Pacific Region, South Pacific), for this Walter will discuss her experience representing NZ in the ‘stans including other New Zealand craft artists. Uzbekistan and the Promise of Apple Trees, a 1000 word article and images by Layla Walter was published in Garland Magazine, the online forum for the World Craft Council Asia Pacific region, September 2019. The Olympics of Craft a 1200 word article for Art News NZ on recent travels to the ‘Stans’ is published in their Autumn 2020 issue. Walter’s glass has been included on six occasions for publication in the Corning Museum of Glass (USA) New Glass Review,4
1. Milford House Galleries ‘Conversations’ Layla Walter solo exhibition text 2015.
2. International GAS Conference, NZ Glass Exhibition review, The Advertiser (Adelaide, Australia), 9 May 2005
3. The DVD Artists Working With Glass In New Zealand, co-directed with film-maker Alyx Duncan
4. Corning Museum of Glass New Glass Review inclusions: 1996, 1998, 2004, 2008, 2011, 2013.