Katharine Coleman MBE

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Katharine Coleman (b. Sutton Coldfield, W Midlands 1949) studied point, drill and copper wheel engraving on glass with Peter Dreiser at Morley College, Lambeth from 1984-7 and continues to explore these techniques in her workshop at Cockpit Bloomsbury in London.  

         Two themes have long interested her  – the illusion of a smaller vessel apparently suspended inside a larger one,  the effect of both reflection and refraction of an engraved outer surface onto the inside surface of a thick walled clear glass vessel; also the sculptural beauty of simple natural objects, particularly those humble ones found in everyday life. 

          Katharine’s glass is blown to her design by glassblowers Potter Morgan Glass and LOCO Glass of Cirencester. Her clear lead crystal forms are overlaid with a thin layer of coloured glass. Once blown, the top surface of the glass is cut away and polished, usually with the assistance of Steve Frey at Cold Glass Workshop, so that one can see inside. The glass is then cut and engraved on the outer surface. The reflection of the engraving on the outside of the vessel appears as a miniature inner vessel, although there is nothing but clear glass there. The optical properties of glass still fascinate her and provide a rich world to explore.  

Katharine’s work has been exhibited widely in the UK and Europe, USA, New Zealand and Japan and can be seen in many public collections and publications (see below). Katharine believes wheel engraving on glass no longer needs to be traditional in style or content, though she prefers traditional techniques, using lathe-mounted copper, diamond and stone wheels, for the crispness, textures and fine finish, so much more difficult to achieve with sandblast and drill. The recent short YouTube film "How Was This Made? Glass Engraving: Katharinae Coleman" produced by the V&A and viewable on their website demonstrates this (see link under heading "Films" below).  

Katharine still teaches glass engraving. From time to time she teaches short courses in wheel, drill and point engraving on glass at Morley College, London and wheel, drill, sandblast and point engraving at the BildWerk Frauenau Summer Academy in Germany. The last course was in late August 2022  www.bild-werk-frauenau.de . She will be teaching another class at The Studio at Corning Glass Museum (NY) in June 2025. 

Awarded an MBE for services to glass engraving in 2009, Katharine was elected an Honorary Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Glass Sellers of London and a Freeman of the City of London in June 2015. She is also an elected member of Contemporary Applied Arts and The Art Workers Guild, the Contemporary Glass Society, the Guild of Glass Engravers and The Glass Society. In 2013, Katharine became a co-founder of a lively international network of glass engravers who have exhibited widely throughout Europe, the Glass Engraving Network: www.facebook.com/glassengravingnetwork

 Her most recent solo show, A Fine Line, was held in November 2019 at the Scottish Gallery in Edinburgh. This will probably be the last of her solo exhibitions, but she plans to continue engraving and working with glass for many years to come. 

Lately Katharine's work was selected for the prestigious Coburger Glaspreis 2022 finalists' exhibition in Coburg and also for the National Glass Centre European Glass Prize exhibition, the first glass prize show hosted by the NGC Sunderland. 



2022, as part of the UN International Year of Glass 2022, the V&A museum in London made a short (7.5 min) film in their series "How It Was Made? Glass Engraving: Katharine Coleman" demonstrating the engraving of a bowl: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=230uCZj2RPs  

In July 2017 Anthony Scala made a short (2 min) film to go alongside Peter Layton's 80th birthday exhibition, "The Art of the Wheel - Katharine Coleman" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gJut8MiPkMo   



2015 People's Prize, British Glass Biennale 2015, Stourbridge, awarded by Warm Glass plc

2015 Hon Liveryman of the Glass Sellers of London,  Freeman of the City of London

2013  2nd Prize  TGK 2013 Competition "Fun with Colour"  Germany

2009  MBE for services to glass engraving , New Years Honours List

2008  The Pearsons Prize for Best Use of Glass in Engraving , sponsored by Pearsons Glass Ltd and Ed Hoy's International, USA. 

2008  Second Prize  at a juried exhibition of work at the 5th International Symposium of Engraved Glass at Kamenicky Senov, Czech Republic, September 2008 

2007  The Glass Sellers Prize for Engraving on Glass  (a new prize) 

May -June 2007  6 weeks Residency at Northlands Creative Glass Centre to explore forming and slumping glass with kilns at Lybster, Wick, Scotland, sponsored by The Scottish Arts Council and Bulls Eye Glass.   

2006 Honourable Mention award, the Coburg Glass Prize 2006, Kunstsammlungen der Veste Coburg, Germany  (see www.kunstsammlungen-coburg.de  for more information)

2005 March Crafts Council exhibition and research visit to Japan : Surface, Structure, Shape at Axis Gallery, Tokyo funded participant

2004 Adrian Sassoon Award for The Arts of the Kiln, awarded at Chelsea Crafts Fair   (see www.craftscouncil.org.uk report on Chelsea 2004)

2004  Runner-Up Prize for Art on Glass, awarded by The Worshipful Company of Glass Sellers of London

June 2004 Month's Residency at Northlands Creative Glass Centre at Lybster, Wick, Scotland   by The Jerwood Foundation

Crafts Council Outward Mission to Japan 2004, funded participant

2003, a finalist for The Jerwood Applied Arts Prize - Glass. This is awarded every five years for glass

2002 and 2004 Runner-Up Prize for Art on Glass, awarded by The Worshipful Company of Glass Sellers of London

1986 Best First Time Exhibitor Trophy, The Worshipful Company of Glass Sellers of London



Alexander Tutsek Stiftung, Munich, Germany

Dudley Museums, prev. Broadfield House Glass Museum, Kingswinford, Stourbridge

Birmingham City Art Gallery & Museum (Keatley Trust)

Cheltenham Art Gallery & Museum

Corning Museum of Glass, USA

Ernsting Stiftung, Coesfeld, Germany

Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge (Keatley Trust)

Glass Museum, Kamenický Šenov, Czech Republic

Glass Museum Frauenau, Bavarian State Glass Museum, Germany

Dan Klein & Alan J. Poole (Private Collection) @ National Museums Scotland. Edinburgh

Kunstsammlungen der Veste Coburg, Germany

MUDAC,  Museum of Design & Contemporary Applied Arts, Lausanne, Switzerland

Museo de la Real Fabrica de Cristales de La Granja, Segovia, Spain  

National Glass Centre, Sunderland

National Museums of Northern Ireland

National Museums of Scotland, Edinburgh 

Nature In Art, Gloucester

Northlands Creative Glass Centre, Lybster, Scotland

Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery

Shipley Art Gallery, Gateshead

Victoria & Albert Museum, South Kensington, London


EXHIBITIONS - see previous web page 


VIDEOS & PUBLICATIONS where work is illustrated  

Coburger Glaspreis 2022, exhibition catalogue, fully illustrated,  Kunstsammlungen Veste Coburg, 2022, 232pp. ISBN 978-3-7319-1194-4  

NGC Glass Prize, exhibition catalogue, fully illustrated. National Glass Centre, Sunderland, UK, 2021, 40pp. ISBN 978-1-906832-45-2  www.nationalglasscentre.com   

A Fine Line, solo exhibition catalogue, fully illustrated. The Scottish Gallery, Edinburgh, November 2019, 40pp. ISBN978-1-912900-11-4  www.scottish-gallery.co.uk  copies available from artist for £10 plus p&p

Back on Tour, group touring exhibition of Modern European Glass Engraving, published by Suomen Lasimuseo (Finnish Glass Museum) Riihimaki, Finland ISBN 978-1-78972-361-8 glass.museum@riihimaki.fi  

The European Museum of Modern Glass, a tour of the collection. p.129, Veste Coburg Art Collections (Coburger Landesstiftung) and Deutscher Kunstverlag, 2019. ISBN 978-3-422-98027-3  

The Art of the Wheel - Katharine Coleman, a short film alongside the exhibition celebrating Peter Layton's 80th birthday in July 2017. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gJut8MiPkMo

Connections, exhibition catalogue, Contemporary Glass Society selected exhibition, May 2016 with Introduction by Christina Jansen and Foreword by Julia Stephenson, Chairman of the Contemporary Glass Society. ISBN: 978-1-910267-36-3 

All the Year Round, fully illustrated solo exhibition catalogue with notes and foreword by Rose Watban, senior curator at the National Museums of Scotland, published by The Scottish Gallery, 16 Dundas St, Edinburgh, November 2015, 36pp. ISBN 978-1-910267-28-8 www.scottish-gallery.co.uk  

Drawing - An expressive gesture with the advantage of permanence, museum catalogue for the National Glass Centre at the University of Sunderland, Liberty Way, Sunderland SR6 0GL, 2015

Gravur on Tour, group touring exhibition of Modern European Glass Engraving, published by Glasmuseum Frauenau, 72pp. www.glasmuseum-frauenau.de 

2004,2006,2008,2010,2012,2015, 2019 British Glass Biennale catalogues. www.ifg.org.uk 

Rose Watban (ed.): A Passion for Glass,The Dan Klein & Alan Poole Private Collection of Modern Glass, pp.61-62, 322 National Museums of Scotland, 2015 ISBN 978 1 905267 83 5

Coburger Glaspreis 2014, exhibition catalogue pp.105,239, Schnell & Steiner GmbH, 2014 ISBN 978-3-7954-2854-9

UK Glass, exhibition catalogue (06/04/-14/09/2014), pp.6-7, Glazenhuis, Lommel, Belgium, 2014 ISBN 9789490417055

"no. 88 - Katharine Coleman - Une Ville Dans Un Vase” in Architectural Digest - France, no.113, Dec 2012 Jan 2013, p.74 of an article “Les 100 Plus Beaux Cadeaux du Monde”, . Illus.  

Thierry de Beaumont, Katharine Coleman Chez Porée, Glass City Blues, cover and p.3 in Verre & Création, Contemporary Glass newsletter no.69, Dec 2012 www.verreetcreation.com 

Katharine COLEMAN, fully illustrated exhibition catalogue of her solo exhibition 2012.       Galerie Hélène Porée, Paris, France www.galerie-helene-poree.com  

Eva-Maria Fahrner-Tutsek:  In the Name of Love, Fully illustrated exhibition catalogue for exhibition of the same name, Feb – Dec 2012.  Kerber Verlag, Bielefeld. ISBN 978-3-86678-589-2

Rose Watban: Katharine Coleman, New Glass/Neues Glas Winter 2011 (4/11), pp. 40-45

Martine Knoppert: Glasbewerken, (in Dutch) De Groot Drukkerij, Goudriaan, Netherlands, 2011, ISBN:  978 90 816942 1 6

R & R - Residencies and Retreats for Contemporary Makers, exhibition brochure produced by curator Amanda Game and Contemporary Applied Arts, February 2011

De Smaak van Glas- The Taste of Glass, exhibition catalogue and essays on the concept of the taste of glass and taste in glass, fully illustrated, as a participating artist, published 2010 by Jeroen Maes, ISBN Ean: 9789490417017

Remarkable Glass, exhibition catalogue as a participating artist, published by Contemporary Applied Arts, 2010    ISBN 978-0-906420-06-5

Katharine Coleman, fenêtres sur cristal, feature by Thierry de Beaumont, la revue de la céramique et du verre,, no 169, Nov-Dec 2009, pp.52-55

Charles R Hajdamach:  20th Century British Glass , Antique Collectors Club, 2009

Carolyn Genders: Pattern, Colour & Form , A&C Black, London  June, 2009  

Vessels within Vessels, feature by Dan Klein, pp. 49-53 of Craft Arts International, 74 (publ. November 2008) Australia

Craft & Design (previously The Craftsman) magazine feature, pp.22-23, June/July 2007

Who's Who, A&C Black, London 2007 onwards

Peter Dreiser and Jonathan Matcham: Techniques of Glass Engraving, 2nd edition, A&C Black London 2006

J Neiswander & Caroline Swash: The Intelligent Layman’s Stained & Art Glass, London 2005, ISBN 0 947798 65X

Reflections - a decade of North Lands Creative Glass, exhibition catalogue, fully illustrated, 77pp, North Lands Creative Glass, Quatre Bras, Lybster, Caithness KW3 6BN

British Glass Biennale 2006, exhibition catalogue, fully illustrated, 141pp, ISBN 0-9547573-1-9

Coburger Glaspreis 2006, exhibition catalogue, fully illustrated, 381pp, ISBN 3-87472-086-1

Made for You, DVD of six makers, all members of the Gloucestershire Guild of Craftsmen, 2005 

Inspirations, interiors magazine feature, April 2005 

21st Century British Glass, illustrated catalogue of the Dan Klein exhibition at Daniel Katz Gallery, Bond Street, London, January 2005  ISBN 0 9545058 2 4

Glashaus magazine, 4/2004 ISSN 1435-8565  K49413, review of Heroes of the Wheel exhibition at Broadfield House Glass Museum by Gernot H.Merker, pp.4-5

July/Aug 2004 Crafts magazine feature by Ruth Pavey “Cutting It Fine”, 5 pages, illustrations, pp 30-35.

Glass Now profiling the eight finalists of the Jerwood Applied Arts Prize 2003, produced by Illuminations, VHS and PAL format video and DVD (details from www.illumin.co.uk or illuminations@illumin.co.uk

Jerwood Applied Arts Prize 2003 – Glass exhibition catalogue, available from the Crafts Council, 44a Pentonville Road, London N1 9BY         Tel: +44 (0)207 278 7700      ISBN Number: 1-903713-11-0

New Glass magazine, Autumn 2003, review of Jerwood Exhibition by Dan Klein

March 2003 review by Dan Klein in Crafts magazine of Guild of Glass Engravers' Cork St clearly inspired 2002 exhibition 2002, including illustration of work by KC.

Lettering on Glass by Charmian J Mocatta, published by A&C Black, 2002 

British Studio Glass 1960 – 2000, published by Shire Books, 2002

New Glass Review 2001, slide selected for illustration.

T & M Goodearl: International Contemporary Engraved Glass, publ. by The Antique Collectors Club, 1999, ISBN no.185149307 7  

S & S Palmer: Glass Engraving – Drill Techniques, published by Batsford Press, 1988  


this page was last updated January 2023

graving with the 

Engraving with the Copper Wheel Lathe

This picture shows me at work,  cutting lines, using a lathe-mounted fine line wheel, on "Forest Fire", a double overlaid crystal bottle. 

The belt-driven lathe carries a range of inter-changeable spindles, each mounted with a wheel made from copper of varying width, diameter and profile, to suit the cut. These wheels are made from copper scrap, cut with a jeweller's saw, a hole is drilled in the centre and the wheel placed on the steel spindle. The end of the protruding steel spindle is then hammered over to form a simple rivet while the lathe turns - a moment when even the most experienced engraver holds his breath!

The cutting is executed by applying a slurry of carborundum grit, oil and paraffin to the turning copper wheel. The soft copper carries the slurry well, and is easy to reprofile using a sharp mild steel blade. Coarse grit is used for rapid and large scale excavation, fine grit for more polished, delicate work.

The engraver builds up a collection of spindle mounted wheels to suit his/her needs. Some curves may need several different line wheels alone to execute. Like other wheel engravers, I use diamond and fine stone wheels mounted on spindles as well.

Polishing is done using a cork wheel mounted on a screw headed spindle, using a slurry of medium pumice, followed by fine polishing with cerium oxide applied to a hard felt wheel, also mounted on a similar spindle.

, 'Forest Fire', 20cm high bottle in lead crystal, with green over orange glass overlay, blown to my design by Neil Wilkin, then cut, polished and wheel engraved, 2000 

m high green over orange Koi III, 20cm high black on opaque red overlaid glass vase, blown to my design by Neil Wilkin, cut, polished and wheel engraved 2004n to my design by Neil Wilkin, cut, polished and wheel engraved 2000

'Edo Orange III', acquired by the V& A Museum, South Kensington 2006

'City of Glass', acquired by Broadfield House Glass Museum, 2004


'Ytsuri II', acquired by Cheltenham Art Gallery and Museum, 2003