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Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that this website contains names, images, and voices of deceased persons.

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Stephen Proctor (1946–2001)

by David Williams

A much loved artist, teacher, mentor, colleague, friend and family man has died.

Stephen Procter, Head of the School of Art Glass Workshop, was a man of stature who strode the campus sharing his warm, gentle personality and love of his subject and life with all with whom he came in contact.

He leaves a legacy of impressive achievements through his own standing as an artist, the international reputation of the Glass Workshop and the high standing of his talented students.

Stephen established his first glass-engraving studio in 1970 in Devon — overlooking the River Dart.

He was fascinated with the glass medium and with light and its effects on water.

These elements remained with him as the source and inspiration for his imagery through his very productive working life as an internationally renowned glass artist.

His choice of materials, his imagery, his mastery of technique and his ability to imbue his work with the sensational effects of light were his hallmarks.

He set high standards and demanded them of himself and his students.

A sustained commitment to quality in his own practice and in his teaching characterised his contribution to the Glass Workshop, the School of Art and the University.

Journeying was important to Stephen. At various times he lived and worked in the UK, Europe, the US and, since 1992, Australia.

Sharing his networks of contacts, he encouraged his students to see themselves as part of the global community, see the world, meet new people, explore new horizons and understand and learn.

In recent years, several trips to Asia linked exhibitions and conference activity with an important Australia Council residency in Taipei.

This resulted in the establishment of academic and artistic connections in the visual arts generally.

Stephen was a congenial travel companion, good humoured, generous and always considerate.

Stephen's observation of the natural landscape was another preoccupation and motivation for his glasswork, painting and prolific brush and ink drawing.

In May this year, in an exhibition catalogue prepared for one of his graduates, Stephen wrote: "The appointed day was magnificently clear, and the mountain revealed many unexpected surprises such as the wonderful butterflies on the wooded paths."

His work often took on a dimension of spirituality — a sense of the intangible. In discussion he had the ability to lift the ordinary to the realm of the extraordinary.

These attributes and ideals marked him as an inspiration in the workplace and at home with his affectionate family.

At the Institute, Stephen contributed generously to policy development and management processes.

He strongly supported his colleagues and was devoted to his students.

He was a regular contributor to various committees, academic issues and to conferences and seminars.

His work has been collected by major art museums in the UK, Europe, the USA and Australia.

At the ANU his work was commissioned for the foyer of the Innovations Building and completed in 2000.

Vale Stephen Procter. Tributes and condolences have been received from around the world.

He is survived by his wife Christine and children Anna and Ben.

Original publication

Citation details

David Williams, 'Proctor, Stephen (1946–2001)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 19 May 2024.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2024

Life Summary [details]


6 December, 1946


30 July, 2001 (aged 54)