The creative process

For me kiln-forming glass is not just a craft but a vital part of self-expression.

I am continually entranced by the process, by the delicate balance between technical precision and raw creativity. Landscape, colour and texture are the elements that tie my work together. Seemingly disparate pieces lead one into the next, weaving a story across the spaces. It’s a story that runs deep through me, of the environment and the natural world – much of my spare time is spent walking, swimming or just sitting still in the moment.

There are times when I need to go down to the woods
To go deep into, down, down
To the bottom of the valley, the shadows
To look up, climb up, again
To the sunlight
Refreshed, renewed

With the landscape as the starting point for my work, each piece is a unique expression of my connectedness to it. The view is all-encompassing, layers of colour and shape to bring memories to the surface, sounds and scents of half-remembered moments.

A skyline is often the most recognisable part of home, of place. The line that makes your heart lurch and sing when you glimpse it, that conveys security and safety. For me it’s there in the sweep of a Preseli hill, the drop of a cliff and the fold of the field behind the studio. Photos and sketches from a walk will lead to an abstraction –  the feel of a place rather than a direct representation.

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. Scraps of pattern in the glass encourage a closer look at the smaller things around us – like looking at moss through a hand lens. The ferns I encapsulate in the glass add a tangible layer of authenticity – I gather them from just outside my studio and they are a recurring motif in my work.

The colour palette will often evolve during the making process, with blues and greens attracting a splash of orange or red.

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. Combined with the expressive techniques of pattern and mark-making the panels emerge with a real sense of movement and dynamism. It’s 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.