I create because I have to. It’s a simple as that. I am continually entranced – even after 30 years – by the process of transforming materials, by attempting to distill my love of the landscape into a sheet of glass.
There’s a strong, soul-deep link to the environment of west Wales that runs through me and also through my work. I hope you can see that, see my love of the coast, the rivers, the hills, the wild spaces. There are no human forms in my landscapes, no man-made structures – apart from the occasional long-abandoned castle. They are the essence of place. Your memories captured.
In the Studio
How do I create these panels? Often the starting point is a memory or photo from a recent walk and somewhere along the creative line it becomes more abstract – the feel of a place, the memory of a day or time. Each piece starts with the glass canvas which is cut to size, ready for the application of paint and powder. These additions arrive in an organic, spontaneous way, with the panel growing gradually and sometimes taking twists and turns as I decide to add colours, metal foils, paint or enamels. The colour palette can change dramatically as I work on a piece – blues giving way to pink and orange, reds morphing to yellow and green.
This fluid way of working ensures that every piece is unique and the heat of the kiln adds a further layer of wilfulness as the high temperatures manipulate the glass. So how hot is hot? Firings vary from 800 C for fully melting all the various components together – a full fuse – through 760 C for allowing texture to shine – a tack fuse – to 640 C which enables the glass to take on different shapes and forms – a slumping.
I love the optical lightness and colour play of the glass – it is bold, luminous, ephemeral, vibrant, colourful, subtle. It is a solitary, introspective, process-focused work which by its very nature cannot be rushed – there is plenty of time to pause, reflect, layer and adjust. Most of my pieces involve multiple firings where layers of design are added at each stage. You can see a couple of kiln-openings here and here.
I feel incredibly lucky to live in west Wales and make my living doing something I love – especially as a self-taught glass artist. Living and working here I am surrounded by the most wonderful inspiration. I step out of the studio to gather feathers and fern leaves to encase in glass; I look up and spot a pair of ravens skyfalling in dazzling sunlight.