artist spotlight
Effie Burns

share your creative practice:
in conversation with Effie Burns

What does it mean to you to join the North Lands Creative network and be part of building a community for glass?


Being part of a network allows each artist greater visibility and opportunity.


Tell us about your work. What influences translate into your art practice?


I spent part of my childhood living in a museum. Since that time I have been fascinated by how things are protected, curated and displayed. My work is about the impulse to collect but also in turn it is made to be part of a collection.


Has this changed the way you approach your work?


This year the natural world has continued to inform my practice in surprising new ways. I have been using the traditional techniques of casting and gilding to explore new territory for my work.


What initially captured your imagination about glass?


When I was a child we had a stained glass window in the bathroom that would cast rainbows in my bath water. Its ability to transform space is what entrances me.


What’s the significance of the handmade to you?


I have worked with glass for over twenty years now, the knowledge in my hands is extensive, yet they are always finding new ways to work.


What was your route to becoming an artist?


It was something I always wanted to do. My father was a curator and art was always an important part of my life growing up. I did A Level art and then a Foundation course followed by a BA (hons) in Glass with Ceramics and then an MA.


What is your chosen medium and what are your techniques?


I work primarily with cast glass and during the pandemic I have focused on the burnout technique. I enjoy using ancient techniques to make contemporary objects.


How would you describe your work and where do you think it fits within the sphere of contemporary glass?


My current artistic practice has become about the need to have a much deeper connection with the natural world and through the process of casting about preserving natural objects in a precise moment of time. It raises questions and is in itself difficult to categorise.


Tell us a bit about your process and what environment you like to work in?


I like to work in a series of small quiet spaces. I have an engraving room, a mould making room and an office/kiln/gilding room. Each of the processes I use requires a different kind of space. I like working in good natural light with a view of the garden.


Who do you look up to when it comes to aesthetics?


My inspiration comes from a wide range of sources from Medieval manuscripts, Jacobean textiles and Dutch still lifes.


What currently inspires you and which other artists do you admire and why?


I am increasingly interested in Botanical art. Albrect Dürer’s beautiful paintings of weeds, Mary Delany’s papercut flowers and Anna Atkin’s cyanotypes are of particular interest. They all document nature in very different ways.


How are you experiencing the Covid-19 pandemic in your country? To what extent has your everyday life as an artist changed in lockdown?


During the pandemic my practice has been fuelled by curiosity and chance encounters. It has had a huge impact on the way I make and sell work. My access to equipment and materials has also dramatically changed.


Effie Burns

Based in Whitby, I use everyday natural objects and like an alchemist transform them through the processes of casting, gilding and engraving.