Artistic creativity and cultural diversity are the DNA components of Layne, a Toronto resident glass artist. In 2016, Layne traded the world of corporate communications for the glass kiln to make glass sculpture. A great communicator, extraordinary teacher, perceptive observer of society and an art enthusiast, Layne, who was born in Vancouver in April 1965 and grew up in Ontario and Germany (Lahr). The third-generation Canadian shares his origins with his grandparents of Belgian, Swedish and English roots. Very proud of his Canadian identity, he emphasizes the privilege of living the "Canadian Dream" which, to him, means social justice, tolerance, opportunity and appreciation of cultural diversity. "We owe this to our country's leaders, Lester B. Pearson, Nobel Peace Prize laureate, launching universal health care and initiating official bilingualism, and Pierre Elliott Trudeau, who decriminalized homosexuality and instituted multiculturalism. Today, I share my professional life and my friendships with citizens of the world. At our holiday parties my partner and I have held we have counted friends from more than 30 nationalities. ».
Speaking in English and German at elementary school, he chose to enroll in a French immersion program and once stayed with a Parisian family. It wasn't until the first year of his university child psychology program that he returned to francophone life. There, he lived in one of the two French Houses on the Erindale campus of the University of Toronto. It is with pride that he recalls a student work experience in a company in St-Léonard, Montréal, where he learned the basics of Vernacular French in Québec, the “joual”! The use of French has always been part of his professional and personal life. While working as a bilingual spokesperson for the Ontario Ministry of Health, he conducted up to 30 media interviews a day—many in French.
The pride of being Canadian was also shared with family and friends in September 2003 when he celebrated his marriage with Rod at the Toronto City Hall, the first year that same-sex marriage became possible in Ontario. In 2005, he founded a communications practice, iCommunicate, bringing branding and social marketing to many health and social service organizations. During this intense period, he created communication strategies for the various ethno-cultural groups in the Greater Toronto Area.
It is in "Studio Glass" that Layne now creates and teaches full time. As a teenager and throughout his career, Layne explored many media, ceramics, painting, landscape photography, and mixed media sculpture. But a few years ago, he finally found his medium in glass. The great adventure of kiln-formed glass, he sums it up in these words: "My exploration of glass is by capturing nature’s movement and its many mottled textures and colours by harnessing glass’ contradictory qualities. »
Layne now operates and teaches students of all ages at his kiln-glass studio. There, he also creates his sculptures, reminiscent of molten rocks, atmospheric layers, glaciers and water masses. These are born from a careful mixture of transparent and opaque glass, which will unite by forming them over a few times in a glass kiln at over 9000 C. The richness of the colours and contrasts of his glass sculptures is staggering. He has received a number of awards, has shown in solo and group exhibitions and is represented at galleries in Ontario, Ohio and Florida. His works feature in a number of private collections. Layne is soon completing a large installation for an Ontario university.
Finally, to young people, Layne says: “ Never stop exploring, take risks and try everything. Know that the best opportunities are only found through persistence and curiosity.