In 2007 she embarked on creating her art within industrial environments and augmenting industrial techniques to both develop her work on a larger scale and to apply it to functional building components. In doing so she has formed important links with UK industry and has innovated new methods of combining the functional with the aesthetic need for the human touch of art, light and evocative visual emotion.
Some of her works are generated purely for experimental purposes, whilst others are permanent architectural installations. All projects draw on this rich and diverse universe of creative development.
Mel’s approach to her work is to continually re-evaluate the opportunities offered by the materials in her chosen medium. She is a fervent believer in the merits of being both the designer and the maker, and pursues this principle so as to sustain and fulfil the purpose of her art.
Mel’s modern designs are often defined by recurring and rhythmic compositions, conveyed by the experimental use of glass and related mediums such as enamels on steel.
Despite her avant-garde approach Mel has received numerous awards for heritage and creative excellence. Whilst her art is driven by the contemporary, its visual setting and emotional impact remains capable of interacting positively with the character of its historic surroundings or architectural mission. Mel became a scholar of The Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust in 2008 for her contemporary work with enamels and became the first winner of the Trust's Award for Excellence in 2013.
Over the course of 25 years Mel has completed a diverse range of commissions, including most notably: 500sqm art glass façade for retailer J Sainsbury's in Central Milton Keynes; the Huddleston Memorial Window at Lancing College Chapel on the theme of apartheid and dedicated by Archbishop Desmond Tutu; carved glass doors at St Nicholas Church Arundel, the Art Bath in cast iron and fired enamel; and public art for developer Clarion for a mixed-use Brighton development by architect Conran and Partners, with awards for both the development and the art.
Her most recent commission is for The Illumination Window at Durham Cathedral, for installation in 2019.
Awards and key moments
Photographed by Julian Calder for the book ‘A Celebration of British Craftsmanship’ by Julian Calder and writer Karen Bennett. Foreword by HRH The Prince of Wales.
Mel Howse becomes a Trustee of The Radcliffe Trust, The Radcliffe Trust is one of Britain’s oldest charities, founded in 1714 by the will of Dr John Radcliffe. Today, The Radcliffe Trust continues his charitable bequest through the support of Music and Heritage & Crafts.
Speaking at ‘Flourish’ conference organised by The Crafts Council.
Commissioned to create The Illumination Window for Durham Cathedral.
Friese Greene House, which included Mel's installed glass 'Succession of Light' is awarded Development of the Year from the Chartered Institute of Housing.
Invited to judge at The Stevens Competition, run by The Worshipful Company of Glaziers. A stained glass competition that Mel won in 1991 whilst a student.
Awarded The Building Crafts Award by The Sussex Heritage Trust, for her public art at Friese Greene House.
Speaking at the Rising Stars Symposium at the University of Creative Arts Farnham UK. Organised by the New Ashgate Gallery.
Sussex Heritage Award as part of a scheme at St Mary Magdalene Whatlington. UK.
Speaking at the Guild of Enamellers national conference. UK.
Speaking at the American Glass Guild national conference, Philadelphia, USA.
Awarded the first ‘QEST Award for Excellence’ by the Royal Warrant Holders Association. The Fattorini Award. In recognition of her work that has taken traditional craft and given it relevance for today using contemporary techniques.
Ambassador to The Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust. Clarence House.
Speaker at the V&A debate 'Crossovers and boundaries' organised by QEST.
Awarded Sussex Heritage Award - Nominated by the Judges 'Highly Commended' - Arundel St Nicholas.
Awarded Sussex Heritage Award - 'Highly Commended' - Angmering St Margarets.
Awarded a scholarship by The Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust.
Member of Chichester Diocesan Advisory Committee for the Care of Churches.
Council Member of the British Society of Master Glass Painters.
Lecturing Stained Glass at West Dean College. Edward James Foundation.
Elected Associate Member of the British Society of Master Glass Painters.
Shell Livewire Business Award (Hampshire) - First Prize.
Studio opens in Chichester - aided by The Prince's Trust.
Artist in Residence at Swansea Institute Architectural glass department. Commissioned to make public art for the library staircase windows.
Howard Martin Award - Student of Outstanding Merit - Awarded by the glass department of Swansea Institute.
National Glass Competition - The London Institute - Second Prize.
Stevens Competition - Awarded by the Worshipful Company of Glaziers - First Prize.
Studied Architectural Glass - Swansea Institute. Wales.
Foundation Art Studies. Portsmouth College of Art.