4 Castle Road
Studio E15 Cockpit Arts
A life time of observing, enjoying and thinking about art and design has given me a rich store of images and ideas that are now finding expression in fused glass bowls, platters, serving pieces, lighting and sculptures. Some are vibrant and iridescent, others quite subtle, but all exploit those most wonderful qualities of glass – translucence and luminosity.
Abstract and asymmetrical are the words that most accurately describe my design style. Inspiration comes from painting, sculpture, architecture, design, fashion, jewellery -- almost anywhere I see something that I think could work in glass. I am particularly drawn to both mid-century modern and Japanese design, and artists that have had a significant influence on my design sensibility include Malevich, Ben Nicholson and Tapies.
The glass I use comes from the world’s preeminent maker of art glass – Bullseye, based in Portland, Oregon, USA. Some of the glass is opaque, some transparent, some single colours, others mix colours in a streaky finish, or incorporate random bits and pieces in a mardi-gras format. Some of the most dramatic sheets have an iridescent and/or textured finish.
Usually working to a sketch, and cutting sheets of glass to fit that design, I combine pieces of glass, much like making a collage or a jigsaw puzzle. Most pieces are then enhanced with frits and powders (ground glass ranging from very fine to coarse), stringers (thin rods) and/or thin shards of glass confetti, and occasionally with special glass enamel paints.
Work is then fired in the kiln at temperatures up to 805 centigrade, depending on how much texture I want to retain. This is followed by a second firing, where pieces are slumped into a mould to produce the final shape. At this stage, I take some pieces to a glass workshop a few miles away, where I have access to a sandblasting machine that I use to impart shading, or a matt finish, or surface decoration.
I am constantly experimenting in this challenging medium, sometimes encountering breakages, things that don’t quite work, or nicks and cuts from sharp edges, but the joy of seeing a wonderful piece emerge from the kiln far outweighs these minor tribulations.
My principal studio is in London, at the Cockpit Arts craft studio complex, but I also have a small kiln in the laundry room at my house in Colchester, so whenever inspiration strikes, a kiln is not far away.