GLASS LIVES INTERVIEW:
Jahday Ford

Jahday Ford in conversation with North Lands Creative Director Karen Phillips.

PROJECT ACTIVITY - network artist 

PARTNER - north lands creative

YEAR - 2020 

1. Thank you for taking part in our Glass Lives Week event. What is life like for you in the glass world? Do you have any advice for artists thinking about using the medium in their work?

The majority of my glass practice has been non-existent since the March Lockdown due to studio closures and limited financial footing. However I’ve adapted in prototyping, digital programming and visual representation of glass which I aim to make in the future projects. My advice for artists wanting to work with glass would be to settle by a studio or production company that could consistently provide your practice with hot or warm glass making facilities. Having a lack of this in Manchester has held my technique and making progress back quite a lot.

2. Why Glass? When did you first start working with glass, and how has your making process and work evolved over time? Do you make with a particular audience in mind?

Glass became the ultimate material in my creation process which stemmed from my high school days. Having worked with over 4 materials (wood, metal and clay) throughout my development it seemed glass had the ability to harness multiple aspects and methods from these materials I knew very well. I began working with glass in my 1st year of my Three Dimensional Design Course at The Manchester School of Art. As technologies in the creative and industrial industrial hit an all time high in the past decade, my making began a digital transformation with the methods leading the way for craft innovation. My newly found methodology involved digital sculpting, algorithms, CNC routed wood, water-jet cut steel and creating a type of virtual glass that never hardens so you’re able to change its form in any environment.

As I finished university I didn’t have the luxury to choose a specific audience or market. For me I found it most successful to follow the product line I was fascinated by and create the most obscure glass work I could come up with! Now I am beginning to settle as a post-grad I hope to financially and strategically target specific outlets, shops and galleries for my designs.

Studio Session, Red House Glass Cone, Stourbridge, 2019

3. In this strange and indefinite time, while we are all making sacrifices in our lives, now more than ever, we need to stay inspired and motivated. What are you doing to keep your artistic voice and creativity flourishing?

I am beginning to outsource facilities and workshops that give me the opportunity to collaborate with digital based designing and mould making. One of these companies based in Manchester are in the processes of preparing new CNC drilled designs into wooden planks for my upcoming collection. The spark of motivation has kept me incredibly focused and artistically sane this restricted industry we must evolve in.

4. What artists are inspiring you right now?

The artists that have constantly kept me inspired this year are Ivan Black, Joon Yong Kim, Jiyong Lee and Vanessa Cutler.

5. Describe a circumstance, experience, or something you’ve learned that has changed the way you approach your creative practice.

My trip to Helsinki, Finland a few years ago had a major impact on the way I perceive the glass making heritage and methodology especially in Scandinavia and Baltic regions. Many of their traditional techniques are super relevant towards my own practice when working with mould fabrication and minimalistic forms.

6. Do you have any upcoming projects that you are particularly excited about?

I am in the process of designing my first international commission which will actually take place back in my home country of Bermuda. The bespoke glass sculpture is a combination of illuminated L.E.D’s and small glass spheres that cluster together representing the astounding reef and coral that surround the Island. The exhibition and finalisation of my display is currently on hold and will hopefully come to life in 2021.

Digital CNC processed wood mould, Forthcoming collection scheduled for 2021

Old CNC processed wood mould for Breathe Collection, 2018

7. How important is it to you to be making work internationally and with other European organisations and artists?

For me, networking and overseas connectivity within the creative industry is the most significant aspect we hold. This mentally and approach to other diversities and ethnicities from various origins not only expands our artistic movement, it pushes innovation and ideas to heights we’d never reach as a sole entity.

8. The contemporary glass world is built on mobility: artists and their projects are not subjected to national borders, they travel and work in different countries, and their works are exhibited globally. How do you think the international glass scene will change after this crisis?

Many countries are beginning to adapt drastically to fight this unbelievably restricted world we currently live in. It seems to be the only way to battle the situation even though it imposes financial losses or changing year long projects into something completely different. One of these programmes have taken off at the Berghain Berlin where producers have redesigned the famous club into art galleries and studios for 115 Berlin-based creatives. This is just one incredible approach we must harness in moving forward efficiently and keeping our industry alive for current and future generations to come.

Studio Session with Deconstruct Collection, Red House Glass Cone, Stourbridge 2019

Studio Session, Red House Glass Cone, Stourbridge 2019

ARTIST BIO
Jahday Ford

Since relocating from Bermuda to Manchester UK in 2011, Jahday Ford has developed his artistry through collaborations, craft design theory and most recently graduating from The Manchester School of Art  in Three Dimensional Design. 

His transition into the professional industry have had constant exposure to styles, cultures, markets, advances in technology and various material combinations. Each aspect of these findings has been crucial, yet very exciting throughout the idea generation and creative growth within his work predominantly in glass making. His primary focus leads towards the exploration in experimental and digital glass which are crafted with bespoke wood and metal moulds. It’s an unorthodox methodology that uses programming, CNC drilling and water-jet cutting to create precise formations, patterns, and innovative characteristics not possible by traditional hand techniques. 

Jahday’s most recent glassworks have showcased in New Designers, London Design Junction, Manchester Craft & Design Centre & The National Centre for Craft & Design based in Lincolnshire.

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