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New Skills/Continuing Commissions

After a weekend of learning exciting new techniques I am in an interesting position where I have a few projects running simultaneously so I think an updated Blog is in order! I spent the weekend at the Creative Glass Guild in Bristol, and under the tuition of inspirational Chris Ainslie learned techniques in sandblasting and engraving on glass. I’ve always found it difficult to settle on one medium when it comes to creating art, however glass seems so versatile and such a beautiful and endless range of techniques can be utilized and I just want to learn more. Chris Ainslie’s work was familiar to me through google image search I think? Thanks Google! He has extensive knowledge of working with glass and his current work is very playful and incorporates his imaginative figurative drawing skills, teamed with sandblasting, etching, painting and gilding, exciting stuff! There were just two of us attending the course so we had pretty much one to one tuition from Chris and produced lots of work. It’s probably a good time to point out my admiration of the Creative Glass Guild, who as well as stocking everything glass related you could possibly dream up; they have reasonably priced excellent courses. This was the second course I have attended there, the first being Traditional Stained Glass Painting with Graham Dowding, another excellent weekend and great teacher.

One of the current projects I have been commissioned for is a sandblasted 6ft mirror with an image of Bacchus, Diana and child, quite an undertaking I have now realised but with Chris’s help I feel more confident with the technique so hope to complete the panel in the next few weeks (pictures to follow when finished).

Update on the Eastleigh Borough Council commission- I visited Prysmian again today (I’m getting to know quite a few of the workers now!) and collected the brass commission I am adding gilded panels to. It’s so exciting; the design looks beautifully sleek and very well engineered, with a nod to the ‘triforce’ on the top. It’s now time to make my mark on it and get the piece finalised, then I can finally reveal what it is we are collaborating on ;).

Lastly, at the end of August 2014 I was awarded the Making It 7×7 artist grant from Making Space, based in Havant. In a nutshell it is a grant for 7 local artists and makers to further their practice, try new techniques, plan an exhibition, and/or collaborate with the focus being on the act of ‘making’. We meet up every few months and share our progress and the final culmination of ideas will be around May 2015. This is not to say anybody is expecting a finished article, more a journey of documented artistic discovery. A part of the project for me personally is working with the local retired community which will form one element of a proposed exhibition. We are working on a collaborative painted stained glass panel that has developed from using old photographs, focussing on memory, heritage and the importance of illuminating the past. It is a BIG project, that I still need to exert more time and energy into, I am of the mind this will happen when other projects are completed, shifting my focus back on to this.

So in the meantime, drawing, experimenting and completing commissions. I am really grateful to be in the lucky position of having lots of interesting projects on the go at once and I am embracing this important time.

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art, glass, studio

Contemporary Makers Fair & Winter Open Studios

Contemporary Makers Fair
Contemporary Makers Fair
The Sorting Office Winter Open Studios
The Sorting Office Winter Open Studios

It’s November! And I’m sat at the studio on a cold and dark windy evening, listening to Philip Glass – Glassworks (how very apt you may think!) I have discovered his music within the last year, and as it turns out it is incredibly good to work to. I will be seeing him perform with his ensemble this week, which will no doubt be very inspiring and provide a bit of a breather at what seems to be an endlessly busy few weeks.

I am furiously getting ready for 2 important exhibitions in the next two weeks. The first is the Contemporary Makers Fair at Aspex Gallery in Portsmouth this weekend 15-16th November. It is such a beautiful gallery, so I jump at any chance to exhibit and sell my work there. I have moved on from last year’s festive slides and started creating chandelier installations and mobiles. Lighting has always been an area I’ve wanted to embrace and there is nothing more tempting to me than a beautifully lit room or a spotlight on a relic at a museum, it seems to engage the senses and create a special focus. Lighting is playing a key role in a community project I’m also working on called Illumination- more of this to follow towards the end of the year.

I have been playing with laser cuts and creating mirrored filigree decorations, which have similar properties to glass, in that they are delicate and reflective. So far I’ve had a good response from these and they will be for sale at the shows.

The second show is our annual Winter Open Studios event at The Sorting Office in Eastleigh- selling directly from where I work on 22nd November. This is always completely buzzing and a very productive time for me (possibly the tidiest my studio ever looks?!) We are having a VIP night on the Friday which is exciting/daunting as we will meet buyers, gallery owners etc, who knows what will come of these exciting times!

Back to work 🙂