What is your chosen medium and what are your techniques?
I am a hot glass artist – I hand blow hot glass and also sculpt hot glass. I enjoy learning the ancient techniques of hot glass but also experimenting and trying my own techniques. For me, glass is a fantastic medium to play and have fun with as well as express myself through.
How would you describe your work and where do you think it fits within the sphere of contemporary glass?
My art is a reflection of the beauty and the fragility of the rich life of extreme wilderness. It’s an aspiration to inspire others to be interested to find out more and care about the natural world so that we can take better care of our beautiful planet.
I don’t tend to think of where I fit within to the contemporary glass field. Maybe because I haven’t gone through a traditional arts education, but this is something that I am less aware of and less concerned with.
Tell us a bit about your process and what environment you like to work in?
Glassmaking is a traditional craft. It’s hard work, manual, hot, dirty and loud. I like this environment but it can be very waring, especially on hot sunny days or in the depths of winter!
I’m building a new studio which will have a lot of electric equipment to reduce noise and ambient heat so hopefully will be more comfortable. I like good light to make my work. Many studios are dimly lit but mine will have great lighting too.
I also am inspired by working in a lovely location. My studio is in a rural location but you can’t beat North Lands!
When I create new glass I have a vision in my mind of what I want to achieve and how I want it to look. I will often sketch it in quite rudimentary form. If I’m working with an assistant I will discuss it together with ways of how to achieve what I want. Then I will make and refine test pieces before making the final piece. Glass has a mind of its own, so it’s a case of working with the glass to produce the effects that I want. Sometimes, everything goes to plan, other times I have surprises which can either be pleasant or disasters!
Who do you look up to when it comes to aesthetics?
For aesthetics, I look to a wide variety of people from different fields: Zaha Hadid architecture, Theo Jansen moving sculpture, Andy Goldsworthy landscape sculpture or beautiful Vicke Lindstrand glass.
What currently inspires you and which other artists do you admire and why?
Currently I’m very inspired to raise awareness and stop the horrific massacre of dolphins and whales in the Faroe Islands Grindadráp, or the ‘Grind’. 1,428 dolphins were slaughtered in a single day in 2021 wiping out a super pod. There were many more days of slaughter. I am developing a new range focused on this.
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 COVID 2020 all of the glass studios I hire closed. My work hands on as a glass artist came to an abrupt halt. I used the time to plan new designs.
During lockdowns in 2021 I classed my glassblowing as work, and hired a studio for 50% of the time from January to March to learn and practice my skills, design new ranges and create new work intensively. The studio is a three hour round trip from my home and during the icy winter months I stayed closer to the studio to avoid treacherous journeys. It was very lonesome in deserted pub or hotel rooms without heating, food or drink, facilities! But it did mean that I could intensively work in the glass studio which progressed my skills and stock levels.