Guido Van Besouw
Guido van Besouw entered the art world when the opportunity arose in 1977 aged 26 to serve as an apprentice under Anton Voorveld, an established stained glass artist at the time. In 1980 Guido launched his career as a full time glass artist, by creating a set of windows and skylights for the Royal Hotel grill room in Durban. In 1984 Guido was invited to a group Glass art exhibition at the NSA gallery where he saw blown glass by Shirley Cloete, David Reade and Barry Thompson’s, and was fascinated by the potential of this creative medium. Ten years later in 1994 he started in earnest to research the possibility of blowing glass and exploring the potential of making his own glass for stained glass windows. By 1996 he had built a furnace, acquired kilns and most of the tools needed to blow glass. Early in 1997 Guido started making glass, teaching himself and developing his skills along the way. Today, Guido van Besouw is recognized as one of the leading glass blowers in South Africa and has mastered the art of hand blown glass. He was awarded the 2003 SA Elle Deco International Design Award for tabletop glass. Guido has been working with glass for thirty years and understands the medium and its potential, and has a unique ability to balance and match colour. He draws his inspiration from nature and his years of experience in creating stained glass windows. He works from his studio set amongst the green hills of Assagay, Kwa-Zulu Natal, close to The Valley of a Thousand Hills. Fire and sand combine to make liquid glass which Guido then transforms into individual art pieces. Three days later the glass emerges from the annealing kiln in all its beauty, reflecting the colours of fire, sky, earth and water. Some of his commissions have decorated Cape Town, Johannesburg, Durban and Luanda International Airports, The Blue Waters Hotel and The Royal Hotel in Durban. Many pieces have been presented as official diplomatic gifts by various South African dignitaries. His work can also be found decorating many game lodges in and around Southern Africa. There are over 400 stained glass windows that he has designed and made in churches, schools, country clubs, civic buildings and private homes around South Africa.