Sophie Longwill – In the Window, October 2021

October 2021

Part of the Liverpool Irish Festival 2021


“The experiences of the pandemic and desire for breathing space has become reflected in my current series ‘Nubivagant (Cloud Wanderer)’. These sculptural glass vessels are inspired by beautiful skies and mindful moments on my lockdown walks. As I live in the city centre of Cork, the sky is a way to connect with nature in an urban environment. Soft colours are translated into delicate discs of pâte-de-verre (glass paste) then allowed to gently fold in the kiln, resulting in vessels that are like windows to other realms holding the serenity of the natural world.

As I developed the series, sharing with friends and family the images of the work forming, a beautiful exchange began to happen. People began to send me pictures of their skies, from all around the world. The most frequent contributor was my sister, who lives in Liverpool. Every week we send each other pictures of our ‘sister skies’. As I work with the glass, I blend my impressions of our exchanged moments into these vessels so that they become a way to express our stories and all the feelings from this time that we cannot find the words for, the love and the longing. In everything I make I am trying to capture a sense of wonder, to transpose transient and intangible moments into visible form. The delicate fragility inherent in glass as a material accentuates the impression of ephemerality and preciousness.”

Sophie Longwill

Sophie lives in Cork City, Ireland and works from her studio at the National Sculpture Factory.

Image (Above): ‘Exuberance’

Watch a short film of Sophie discussing her work with Gallery Director, Samantha Rhodes:

‘Nubi’ (detail of edge)
‘Sister skies’ – photographs of skies in Cork City and Liverpool taken by Sophie and her sister.

Bluecoat Display Centre and Liverpool Irish Festival are delighted to be working with the Design & Crafts Council Ireland (DCCI) again, who have supported the call out and contributed towards transport costs. The selection panel for the In the Window display is made up of senior representatives from the Bluecoat Display Centre, Liverpool Irish Festival and DCCI.

Liverpool Irish Festival 2021 (#LIF2021) and theme

Each year the Liverpool Irish Festival sets a programme theme. Past themes have included, “exchange”, “unique stories, creatively told”, “migration”, “the meaning of ‘Irishness’” and “conviviality”.

In 2021 LIF are persisting with “exchange”, 2020’s theme, as we felt there was more to be explored than 2020 permitted. For more information about the theme and programme for 2021, please visit the LIF website.


Bluecoat Display Centre (Bdc) is an independent, regional centre for artistic activity. It brings together craft makers and audiences, in an environment that encourages creativity, collaboration and the exchange of ideas. A registered charity since 2010, based in Liverpool city centre, Bdc runs a gallery; education and community outreach programmes. The Centre provides over 60 local and 300+ nationally selected contemporary craft makers and designers a retail platform, displaying and selling work.

Originating as one of this country’s earliest craft and design galleries in 1959, Bluecoat Display Centre was the first public gallery space within Bluecoat. We are an advocate, facilitator and audience maker for contemporary crafts.

The Design & Crafts Council Ireland (DCCI) is the national agency for the commercial development of Irish designers and makers. DCCI stimulates innovation, champions design thinking and informs Government policy using funding from the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation via Enterprise Ireland. It has over 60 member organisations and over 3,000 registered clients.

Liverpool Irish Festival (LIF) brings Liverpool and Ireland closer together using arts and culture. It is this use of arts and culture as an instrument for observing, learning, sharing and debating Irishness, in the particular context of Liverpool, which makes us unique. We represent Northern Ireland, the Republic and the Irish diaspora’s creativity throughout the festival. Our thematic approach to programming, critical-thought and curation develops depth, resonance and inclusion. In this context, we believe the Liverpool Irish Festival is the only Irish arts and culture led festival in the world. We can’t find another!