I've always been a creative person, but my life before glass was spent in engineering and HR/Training. In 2007 I taught myself to make small glass cabochons for jewellery and, with a lot of experimentation, trial and error, plenty of research and reading, some masterclasses and 3 more kilns, I can safely say I have developed my own style and am pleased to call myself a glass artist!
With a background in engineering, I find the technical aspects of hot glass work very rewarding; feeding my inquisitive nature and satisfying the 'what if...?' I'm a bit of a magpie for tools and love all the aspects of physically making something by hand (and kiln) - takes me back to my days as an apprentice engineer!
Another path on my glass journey has been to share my skills by delivering training sessions for a local arts organisation and running fusing classes in my studio - so even my HR training didn't go to waste - funny how everything comes full circle in the end!
Kiln formed, or 'fused' glass, essentially involves taking various forms of glass (sheet, powder, frit, stringers, cane etc) then cutting, layering and arranging it before heating it in a kiln to fuse the layers and components together. Working predominantly with Bullseye glass from the USA, my work encompasses a large colour palette and a wide range of textures. I love working with glass powder and frit which can be built up to develop depth, introduce accents and painterly effects.
I use various techniques to create my own unique sheets, slabs and canes, which are then incorporated into other designs. Sometimes a piece may require several firings.
Glass is such a great medium for all kinds of applications and locations - especially good in bathrooms and kitchens where heat and moisture won't affect it at all.
From vibrant jewellery to large wall panels and splash-backs, lighting sconces, sculpture and vessels; a piece of kiln formed glass is guaranteed to brighten up any space!
I'm sure everyone says that they draw inspiration from nature and their surroundings - how can you not? I seem to have always lived amongst a lot of trees; finding that the woods give me plenty of ideas, with changing colours and textures throughout the year. I find myself being inspired more by shapes, textures, and colours than by any particular theme; preferring the creation of abstract rather than literal images. I am fascinated by the universe, and often find myself re-creating aspects of the solar system in glass powder - sometimes whole planets, sometimes minute details - it's all a source of inspiration and intrigue to me!
But as much as the world inspires my creativity, I am still equally as driven by process. If I am fascinated by a technique or a process, I often find that by exploring its possibilities and pushing its boundaries, more ideas flow and things just evolve naturally. This also has the added benefit of ensuring I am constantly learning and developing both my artistic practice and my craft.
12 fat glass jelly babies mounted on a deep box frame
If you have a space crying out for a piece of unique glass art, then commissioning something designed just for you, couldn't be easier - just pick up the phone or drop me an email to discuss your ideas.
Sometimes a visit to your home or work place is helpful to look at the space and look at colours - this can all be arranged prior to any commitment to the project.
Once a design and price is agreed, a 50% deposit is required, with full payment due upon delivery/collection.
I run whole day glass fusing courses for beginners, in small groups of 3, at my studio in Chatham.
Dates are announced on my Facebook page and it's then first come-first served. If you don't subscribe to FB then you can be added to my course waiting list and I will contact you with updates.
I also offer on-demand sessions - ideal for when a group of 3 friends would like to share the experience - we just need to sort out a mutually convenient date.
The day costs £100 per person and includes all the necessary tools, equipment and glass. You can expect to make at least 2 items, sometimes more, depending on the sizes of the work and speed you work at. Everything is fired by me and available within a week for collection. I will keep you topped up with tea, coffee and biscuits, you just need to bring a packed lunch.
Whether you are with friends or amongst new acquaintances, you are guaranteed to have fun! There have been many students returning with projects they want to make - a word of warning - glass fusing is addictive!!
It's easy to keep up to date with the latest news from my glass studio - just follow me on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, where I regularly post news, features, new work, exhibitions and course dates.
I can't promise this is kept particularly up to date, but there are some amusing ramblings on there....
I will try harder next year!