The past few weeks since installing the Conwy windows I have been settling down to new projects and picking up the Rosebush Quarry work.
I am beginning a collaboration with a glass blower in Japan, Kaori Maeda. Kaori and I met in 2008 when she was working at glass studios in the UK and have kept in touch ever since. I have made small pieces of decorated glass which I have mailed to her to use in her blown forms, and she has sent me some blown forms which I have begun experimenting with. We are in the process of applying for funding to work together in Japan and UK, but for now this is one way of actually getting started and trying out our ideas. It is far from ideal to be posting glass across continents and Skypeing across time zones, but at least it is a beginning for us.
I have also been getting down to some serious research on my “Can yr Oerwynt” project for which I have a Research and Development Grant from the Arts Council of Wales. Because the Conwy project has taken almost all my time since September, I have had an extension on my deadline for this work to the end of June. Together with singer/songwriter, Sarah Harman, I have been interviewing older local residents who remember the North Pembrokeshire Railway coming to these parts and who have family stories going back centuries. Gathering photographs and documentation from the County Archives as well as recording personal histories, I have begun work on making a series of small glass pieces as maquettes for larger work which I would like to do in the future.
It is good to get engaged with the glass and to begin to get some of these ideas down in the studio.
In preparation for these and other projects I have been experimenting with sandblasting and enamelling glass bottles and am really enjoying finding out what I can do with these techniques, recycling freely available glass at the same time. Do get in touch if you have any interesting or coloured glass bottles you do not need!
A great evening to show solidarity with the people of Japan and fundraise for Japanese Red Cross at Pembrokeshire College last night. Apart from the delicious sushi, Debs Withey‘s Gyokaku fish printing demonstration and Mihoko Roach’s fine calligraphy were crowd pullers. The Japanese harp playing was extraordinary and the purpose of the event was brought powerfully home by the personal testimony of a local firefighter who went to help after the tsunami.
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.
I am talking to my friend, Kaori, in Japan. She is a glass artist who I met at a glass centre near Bath, and now she is back home in Japan and living through the nightmare of the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami and the radiation threat from the power station which is out of control.
The situation is grim. Ironically, perhaps, her work is about hope, so we talk about that, and she shows me what she is doing and we share our lives a bit. I decide to give proceeds of my mother`s day workshop to Japan relief, and think about how to support artists in Japan at this terrible time.
Thank goodness for Skype and all this technology, but it also gave us nuclear power stations…