I am having a brilliant time working with 180 children at Narberth School to make a glass quilt on the theme of food and farming. All the pieces are now painted and ready for firing. The children are really enjoying the project:
“This project is great because we get to actually paint our own designs and I feel really proud of my work. I can’t wait to see it all finished.”
The past few months has been a busy time for teaching. I have done a number of glass projects in local primary schools. I love this work, it is so inspiring to work with children and get them enthused about glass!
One particularly inspiring project was to make 2 bowls with kids at Ysgol y Frenni on the theme of “patterns in the environment” (or “patrymau yr ymgylchedd” as the entire project was undertaken through the medium of Welsh!).
I designed this as a patchwork of glass so that each child could work on their own design and then we could put them together to make a group piece. The bowls will be entered in the Urdd Eisteddfod in May.
In another project we made fused glass jewellery on the same theme.
The kids were so enthusiastic, they said it was their favourite day at school EVER!!
Rachel and I have just run a “Landscape into Glass” 4 day course at my studio here in Pembrokeshire. We were teaching our students mark-making and layering techniques and ways of working with firing paint, silver stain and frits in combination with pieces of Bullseye glass. We are planning another course for later in the year.
We had a couple of field trips to absorb the landscape and to visit local artists studios, like that of ceramicist, Adam Buick and glass artist, Steve Robinson. The course was very successful and we are planning another for next year.
Apart from that I have been developing some new work in the studio looking at taking painting into glass. Sarah Harman and I have been working on our quarry project, having meetings with the National Park and technical specialists to help us hone down our ideas and firm up our budget so that we can apply for funding to make and present the work in 2014.
I have just heard that I have been successful in my funding bid to Wales Arts International for support to attend the American Glass Guild Conference in Florida in May where I have been asked to give a paper and run a workshop. I am planning a trip that includes visiting glass artist friends, Jane Bruce and Michael Rogers and spending time at Corning Museum of Glass and in New York. It will be a very inspiring trip, my first time in America, and a total contrast to life in rural West Wales!
The trees are totally magnificent at the moment! I love winter and am enjoying the crisp and the soggy days and soaking up inspiration for my work.
A very exciting development is that I am going once a week to the Department of Architectural Glass at Swansea Metropolitan University where I have a Visiting Artist arrangement whereby I exchange working with the students for access to the facilities and expertise in the department. I am working with the first years on their “Decorative Processes” module with the fabulous Lisa Birkl. It is wonderful to go there and for one day a week to concentrate solely on playing with ideas. It makes me realise how much of my time at home is taken up with admin, writing proposals, answering emails and generally making a living, and how rare it is to have uninterrupted creative time right now…I can feel a New Year’s resolution coming on! This term I have been playing around with the sandblaster, developing my skills and trying things out. I am definitely going to invest in a sandblaster soon.
Alongside this I have been developing my work in Welsh and English medium local schools and have made a total of 200 glass Xmas decorations with pupils aged 3 to 11 over the past month. It has been fantastic to work with the children and to spread the word about glass to a new generation! Their work is beautiful.
This has been quite a year for me from installing the Conwy Castle commission, winning the Warm Glass Prize, going to the Northlands symposium, collaborating with Sarah Harman on the Rosebush project, studying with Antoine Leperlier, and now working in Swansea – I am really beginning to feel things start to come together.
I am now putting the final touches to my New Year show ready for the opening on 27th December. For the first time I am showing a series of glass panel alongside my paintings. Pop in and join us for a glass of mulled wine from 27th december – 7th January.
Thanks to everyone who took part in the glass pendant making workshop on Saturday to raise money for Save The Children Fund in Japan. The workshop was great fun, and drew people from a wide area. It was lovely to hear Japanese being spoken alongside Welsh and English in the studio, with everybody making something to support the Japanese people at this difficult time. Thirty five pendant were made in the day and we raised 500 pounds!
The pendants before firing….
finished and beaded and ready to wear!
Special thanks to Sara, without her help I would have struggled to manage, and thanks to those who sent donations even though they couldn`t come along on the day.
I will definitely be running more glass workshops in the future.
Thanks for everyone who came on Saturday to make my glass decoration day a big success. Over 30 decorations were made by people aged 4 to 86, Richard, our log man, even made one when he came to deliver our logs! Special thanks to Rachel for all her help, and to Ruby and Amber for making the teas.
The day was so successful I am going to run another one on Saturday 18th! Just drop in any time between 10am and 5pm to make a decoration.