Ray Mallaney – Porcelain Hand Carved Lamps

 

In order to sustain my creativity I find I need to have time to think.  My recent much looked forward to retirement from teaching means I can devote myself to my own work. I had a years sabbatical from teaching 4 years ago and it was a fantastic period where I experimented with porcelain and new ideas, where for the first time in years I could ‘play’ and afford (timewise) to make mistakes. When you teach even part-time, your ‘making-time’ is precious you don’t want to waste it on failures (or at least I don’t)!

 

I am a bit of a manic sketch book person, I work things out in 2D and do research etc. I like working in a sketchbook.

 

In terms of subject matter for my work, I have always tended to work in themes; shoes, wings/flight, Tarot…I don’t know what I’m doing at the moment…whether working in porcelain is the theme or the fact that I seem to be looking a lot at architecture. I do know I’m like a miner I dig away at something until I feel bored by it, then I know it is time to examine another theme.

 

At the moment I am still excited by what happens when you switch my porcelain pieces on…the way light changes them…so for the time being I will continue. To be honest I distrust ‘inspiration’….but I do go with intuition!  If I get really stuck I go to the Victoria and Albert…there is so much stuff of such brilliance there it pushes me out of the lull, or I make something I think I would like.

 

From mybackground….oldish very working class parents, secondary modern school…art was something done by posh people, the likes of us got jobs and did art for a hobby. I did that for 2 years and then hated it so much, my evening class sculpture teacher said I was good enough to try for art school. So I did….Wimbledon Foundation, degree at Middlesex.

 

I have done commissions, but only based on what I do (I made a double piece for Schroeder’s Bank in London, but it was something I was keen on anyway).  I did a garden fountain, years ago which was really hard work, and they changed the deadline date so I had to rush…it was a COMPLETE disaster…I didn’t take any money…in the end they gave me a case of wine! I needed it!

 

In terms of repeating work…NO it is always even SLIGHTLY different otherwise what’s the point…I’m not a machine…..besides which if I try to make something EXACTLY the same it never goes right, the best thing to do is aim for a ‘recreation’

 

I like selling, and would like to charge more but will have to build up to that.  The deal I made when I left art school 30 odd years ago was that I would not live from my work, but from selling my labour: initially shop work, then technician work, finally teaching, that way I was free to make what I wanted and would not have to throw 200 Mugs a week. Consequently I can price my work at what I am prepared to let it go for rather than what it might be worth in times of materials and labour OR what I think it is worth.

 

Katalin Szallas – Ceramics

I enjoy all types of art but came to realise I am a 3D artist. I love working with clay. I love the material, its flexibility and how easily it can be manipulated. I watched potters as a child and was always fascinated by the way they controlled a lump of clay on the wheel.  I also found other potters’/artists’ works very inspiring. I like flicking through art books from time to time just to remind myself that an artist can reinterpret an old idea and produce a new and exciting piece of work.  Sometimes I just play with the clay; experimenting brings new ideas.  Inspiration is important but so is work. It’s only through work and experimentation that I can learn the skills that allow me to follow my inspirations.

Quite often I feel frustrated because I find that I can’t keep up with the ideas I have in my mind. I want to explore every aspect of the idea but there’s never enough time. Sometimes there does come a point when it suddenly all becomes very boring and I have to stand back, have a break and a look at my works with a fresh eye. I always liked drawing and I enjoyed art lessons at school and went to study art at college so I guess it has always been there.  It just took time to find the right medium.

Partly because I also do small scale production throwing, I believe it’s important to have the technical ability to repeat works. However, with most of my work I don’t really make the distinction though clearly some are more generic than others. I always try and improve on things I’ve made before so I still see them as one offs.  I don’t like selling my work because I’m not a good salesman and I find the process a bit depressing, though I do find the idea that someone appreciates my work enough to want to buy it very rewarding.

Being a craftsman, I’m not very optimistic. I think our generation is very spoilt with mass-production. Most people don’t realise how much work, effort and cost are involved in art and handmade products.  I’d like to be able to keep producing my work without worrying about finances and selling them.  I would love to try sculpture with metal and stone.

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Neil Hardy – Automata

Automata is one of the few crafts that has not originated from a practical need, like pottery or glass. Its purpose has always been to fascinate, intrigue and more recently give a sense of fun and whimsy.  I have tried to make pieces that basically make you feel happy to own, that do not take themselves too seriously, and do not require great aesthetic taste to appreciate. They should have no practical value apart from making you smile. They are like a film cartoon, something that takes skill and considerable time to make but with the sole purpose of amusing you.  I like the idea that something that often takes weeks to design and make for the first time is ultimately something so silly and pointless. With this in mind I like to show all the intricacies of the mechanics, the way in which it is put together and that there are no short cuts using motors, electronics or specialised materials. You turn a handle and things happen. You can see how each movement is created individually but the end result should be slightly magical, unexpected and whimsical.


New ideas come slowly for me and it is a question of sitting down with sheets of paper and just doodling until something comes along.  I have to take time to sit down and really concentrate on finding new ideas. It is probably the hardest thing I have to do and is just plain hard work.  As all my work is with animals, I often look through animal books and videos of their movements to look for ideas. The mechanical side too is as important and has to be considered along side the initial idea, and only when both come together can the work proceed.   Inspiration is important and can come from anywhere. A new work might come from a joke, a particular animal’s look, or an interesting mechanism. It’s important to have the inspiration to start the work. The actual realisation of the piece though takes many hours of sorting out the practical problems of designing the mechanism, finding a simple method to make the piece and making sure it’s fairly foolproof when the handle is turned by others.  

I worked as an architect for many years before stumbling on automata and felt this was something I could do better. I have always made things from an early age and gone through a few crafts before finding automata suited my talents in particular. In the past I have made and sold pottery, stained glass, and water colour painting.  I would really consider myself a maker rather than an artist. My work is as much about how a thing looks as about how it is made. Automata is a complicated craft as and has to actually ‘work’ rather than just look good. I am never too sure about whether any of the things I have done are artistically good, but I do know my automata works! I think that’s why I found this craft suited me best as it is not quite as subjective as many arts.

Most of my work is repeated as it is the only way to keep the costs down. It would be totally unreasonable to try to sell just one of pieces as the time taken to develop each piece is far longer than making a piece that is tried and tested. Having said that I believe repeating pieces does perfect them too. They very slowly evolve, become more precise, work more smoothly, and become less cluttered. My work is better after I have made it a hundred times or so!  I have never really marketed my work that much. Fortunately galleries have come to me through word of mouth generally. If I did not rely on the money to make a living I would like to make larger more complex pieces for museums.  But even so, in a world of high tech machines and gadgets there is still a wonder for the hand made piece. In fact I think the more stuff that is factory mass produced the more desire there is for the hand made.  It does though become relatively more expensive as the mass produced products become cheaper.

My wish would be to produce a few great pieces that were seen as the pinnacle of automata making. Also, there are so many new materials out there now that I have no real knowledge about. Skill in plastics and resin would be interesting I think.  I work from home in the basement to my house with a window looking out my garden. My cat comes and sits on the window ledge sometimes and life seems good.
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Carmela Kantorowicz – Ceramics

    Making ceramics is a very challenging disapline.  There is always something new to discover, a new technique, different materials.  There is always a challenge and I never tire of it. This sustains my creativity and drives me as an artist.

I usually start from a technique.  You have to understand the constraints involved and work within those.  From experience you discover what works and what doesn’t, what forms the materials will allow you to make, and what effects you can achieve.    I usually have a picture in mind of the end result, but getting there can often take a lot of time and effort.

It doesn’t happen often that I have a lull in the flow of ideas, I have more ideas than I have time to realise them.  If I’m really stuck, I just make something I have done before and often discover something new in the process, or find a way of improving it. One idea flows from another.

I’ve always enjoyed making things.  From a young age at home we were always knitting, sewing, embroidering, cooking, baking etc.  I enjoyed art and pottery at school, but because I was very academic and went to a grammar school, it didn’t seem the best path for me.  However, now I realise if I had understood myself better I would have been much happier if I had been able to take art and craft more seriously.  It took a long time before I had the opportunity to really learn about ceramics and spend time making.  These days  I’m always thinking about ceramics, but having a family makes it difficult to find as much time as I would like to devote to it.  There are a lot of distractions.  I also never seem to have enough space, and because certain processes need to be done outside, my work is very weather dependent.  In the winter it’s too cold to make very much.  I would love a beautiful big studio with everything I need.

I think that it’s always difficult from a commercial and financial point of view for artists, but I believe they do what they do because it fulfils a need in them to create and to express themselves.   I enjoy doing commissions  as long as they fit in with the existing body of work.  A lot of people ask for things not understanding the limits of the way I work.  It is very hard to repeat pieces exactly, especially with raku, as the final outcome is mostly out of your control.   I find selling and marketing detracts from the time spent making.  I like to make things that I find interesting and enjoy myself.  If I try only to please other people, I find it doesn’t work for me.  I do my best work making pieces I love and if other people love them too that’s great.   I find it quite hard to promote myself and my work.  It might not appear so, but I’m quite shy and don’t like a lot of attention.

I would like my work to speak for itself.

Alexandra Joelle – Jewellery Designer

 


I just love to create and seeing each piece come together is the most satisfying thing in the world.

I always design through experimentation, I couldn’t think of anything worse than being sat in-front of my sketchbook all day trying to come up with ideas from the back of my head that will never appear. So instead I start with the circle and have a play with cutting them into sections folding and then see what frame works I come up with.

If I have a lull in the flow of ideas I might start by making something I’ve made before, most of the time whilst I am absorbed in making a ring or something simple, I come up with a new flow of ideas.   I am constantly searching for inspiration; I always have my sketchbook in my bag in case I think of something on the go.  It basically takes over your life and never comes out of your head.  If I am stuck on how to make something I usually start dreaming about it.  Which is actually usually when I come out with some of my best ideas, so I keep a spare sketchbook right next to my bed!   My work is inspired by the idea of creating tension. All my pieces are built to create simplistic frame works to make the tension with the thread. I am also inspired by using different materials in my work I love working with thread maybe this goes back to my love of fashion design when I was younger. 

I’ve always loved making and drawing things from a young age, when I was little I would spend hours drawing fashion design’s, which for a long time is what I wanted to do.  But being in a family of Jeweller’s and being brought up in those surrounding’s my passions lead me into working with metal.

Although it isn’t reflected in my work I have a real love of history, eventually I would like to look into the past and take more inspiration from there. I also work in an auctioneer’s part time so I get to see a lot of old quirky Jewellery which can be really exciting!

My work environment is very important; I find it very therapeutic to sit with my headphones in without any distractions fiddling away with my pieces, I go into my own little world. I still do like to have people around me; I think being in a workshop on my own could get boring quickly its nice to have other people around to bounce ideas of each other. That’s what’s nice about university, you have a lot of people to bounce your ideas around, and it can be very inspirational.

 My heart’s desire is probably to have my own shop that’s full with my own designs, and to be able to employ and train others, as I think opportunities to train in the industry are very difficult to come by. I was lucky that I have my father to carry on training me, and others don’t always have the opportunity.  At the moment I am just taking everything as it comes, I am getting a good response to my work, so I hope to carry on and continue in developing my work. Having my own workshop would be lovely too! But I am lucky to have a family in the industry so I already have one set up in the corner of my fathers shop; this has saved me a lot of money.

I love working to commission, all of my work is repeatable and very versatile; all of pieces are available in many different colours on request, with combinations of either ribbon or chain.   If money was no object I think any artist could say they would do things differently, materials are very expensive as any Jeweller can tell you. I think the biggest difference is I would want to use gold, as it is personally my favourite material, so any commission pieces are most welcome!   As I am just starting out as an artist, money is in short supply, so marketing is something that I am only just starting to look at and will be pursued more as I go on.  

If I was going to learn another skill it probably would be to work more in textiles, I did textiles in my A ‘levels and have always had a passion for it, so more of a combination with textiles and metalwork, which my work does reflect already, I am looking into weaving and castings at the minute. But this is all a work in progress.

 

Jay Luttman-Johnson – Wall Art

An early morning meeting with an old yellowed badger.  Watching a gorse fire blaze across the cliffs like a ravenous beast.  These are the kind of encounters that inspire me to make a print, and it is the atmosphere of these situations that I want to convey.  How they feel rather than how they look.

Ideas come to me, often from chance encounters like the fire and badger, or from dreams and more momentous experiences of birth and death.  Mental illness is a subject that reoccurs due to my experiences of it in people I love.  I am also interested in the collective unconscious, Jung’s concept of a primeval consciousness that all people are born with and share.  Consequently my prints are full of archetypal figures and symbolism, often borrowing from fairy tales and mythology.  I am especially drawn to themes of metamorphosis. From human to beast to tree…… Anything is possible. In my world cabbages can spout poetry while fish perch in trees knitting socks.  There are no boundaries, but inspiration is essential.  My strongest prints are the ones I have become most immersed in. Ideas gestate in my head for awhile before being born in my sketch book and then to the lino, always changing even while being cut.

 

I usually have a few ideas floating around, but occasionally I dry up and feel horribly un-relaxed and jittery. I have learnt that it’s pointless to try and force ideas to come so I just get on with other things that need doing.   I make my own frames, and 3D buildings with windows to house my prints, made from recycled materials like copper, wood and glass.  And there is always gardening to do, and fire wood to saw, and my crumbling old house to maintain.  Sooner or later ideas come.

 

I was a sheep farmer for several years and spun and knitted my own sheep wool. I knitted a jersey and realised it was a portrait of how I was feeling. I called it ‘ The inside of my Head’ and began to question whether knitting was a sufficient form of self expression.  Events led to the farm being sold and I did a fine art degree. It seemed the obvious thing to do.

Sometimes I  do illustrations for a magazine.  If I empathise with the article or story I am illustrating it can be vey rewarding,  but it’s always more stressful than doing my own work. The most positive thing about it is that it  challenges me to approach subjects that I may never have considered.

Marketing my work is not my forte.  I just want to make it and have it miraculously sold without my involvement.  I am no good at blowing my own trumpet and I hate approaching galleries!  The world is full of joy and sorrow and I like to include both emotions in my work but  I need to sell my prints and am aware that the more accessible happy ones sell best. My art would be darker and stranger if money were no object.

It is reputed that when Picasso saw the Lascaux caves, he exclaimed       “ We have learned nothing! ”    Perhaps we have learned too much. The more technological the world becomes, the further away  we become from the elemental power and beauty of those cave paintings. The human hand with or without a simple tool can create more beauty than any machine.

I would like to make a book, with text and pictures in linocut, but it would take ages and I never feel I have time. I want a door that I could come and go through,  to a place outside of time where I could go and work  for as long as I wanted, yet no time would pass.

I cut and print  my lino blocks in the house and there’s lots of space, but  I make my frames and buildings in a little shed in the garden.  It is piled up with crates of interesting oddments, off cuts, bits of pianos, water cylinders etc….. and is too small.  I struggle!   I used to think that I needed  solitude in order to work.  This is still true when I am planning a print, but since joining a craft cooperative , I have discovered that I can become immersed in the cutting a print while  taking my turn in the gallery, to the chagrin of frustrated customers who develop polite coughs to no avail.

 

Jeremy White – Ceramics

I hate clutter, but my life is lived in a permanent state of clutter and untidiness from which my studio does not escape.   I try to keep it habitable, but somehow I seem to work better in chaos, although I take care to ensure that the finished piece of work is not sloppy.   My Studio is a small space (a Summerhouse in any other life) in the garden.   I look out onto trees and plants and I know that behind me is a stream, meadow, canal, fields and the Chilterns.   All of these feed my imagination and Creativity.

Inspiration is the nub of an idea, either a photograph, or preferably a landscape view ‘en plein air’, which will later germinate into a physical creation.  I also ‘need’ to work, either to tease out a pot from a vague idea.  The need to produce in a physical, tangible form, an idea which is rolling around in my mind sustains me as an artist and the need to make a living drives me, they feed off each other.  If it wasn’t in clay, it would need to be by some other process.  When  I need to develop new work,  I don’t often sit down and think “lets have a new idea”.   It is a process of osmosis where one piece or style of work leads onto or suggests a development to another stage.

Once I have an idea, I will sometimes make very rough  (and very poor) sketches, usually on scraps of paper which I later have to rescue from the recycle bin.  When working on the wheel new shapes, will develop from others, often by accident!  If I have a lull in the flow of new ideas.  I find going back to basics; either throwing 100 mugs, or simple hand building, usually stimulates the grey cells into doing something different!

 

I have always had creativity inside me, but it only blossomed into a concrete form around the age of 25.   I had wanted to be an actor.   At School I got 5% in Mock Science O Level and refused point blank to take the proper exam, and bugged everyone until I was allowed to do Art O level (for which I received my best marks).   Later Ceramics came into my life almost by accident, but I was hooked.   I built, literally, my first studio and immersed myself in making and selling Pots. I also returned to teaching, Ceramics, this time rather than English and Drama. After a period when I was teaching full time, my own creativity stopped and I had a need to do something completely different.   Many years later the call of the clay could no longer be resisted and I returned to full time Potting.  Now it informs my life!  It’s a visual response, by looking at everything from a different point of view, seeing ‘a pot’, potentially in every view or landscape.

 

With regard to commissions, I don’t really like them, unless the brief is VERY open.  When some one has said’ make me one like that’, they usually end up saying, ‘but its not same colour’ or ‘the shape is different’ as if the pieces were made on a production line and from moulds.  If I make thrown domestic ware then the work is repeatable, but less satisfying to do.   The open brief can be quite satisfying, but if the commission is not something that I enjoy doing then I am afraid that it takes a back seat in my list of priorities.

I don’t really enjoy the process of selling or marketing my own work.  ‘Artist and Makers’ Fairs, ( I don’t like the “Craft Market” scenario as it rather gets mixed up with knitted tea cosies and stuff my Mother used to make for Church Bazaars, which I hasten to add have their place in the order of things!), are my main source of direct outlet.   I take part in our County Open Studios fortnight, which I find interesting and rewarding.   I am delighted if Galleries are interested in taking/buying my work, although I dislike the process of having to present myself and my work for scrutiny.  If money were no object then I would play around with ideas more than I am able to do now, experiment and ‘play’ with different techniques.   I have a website, which I am very bad about keeping up to date, thankfully, my Webmaster is good at nagging me.   I don’t do twitter or Facebook.    Fortunately there will always be people who want to buy hand crafted work, and will pay for it, preferring that to the mass produced and significantly cheaper, items in various stores.   It is just a case of finding them!

 

Jenny Ayrton – Cast Glass

  Creating cast-glass is a fairly drawn-out process involving a number of stages. Initially I work with great attention to detail, however with the introduction of molten glass each piece takes on a life of its own, and often I have no idea what I have created until I open the kiln days later. It is this anticipation that drives me on to want to make more.

Sometimes one opens the kiln to find an unexpected success, more frequently things haven’t worked how I would like; depending on the deadline that I’m working towards I often feel more excited when it is the latter, if everything goes exactly as I expect then I quickly find myself getting bored.   I love problem-solving  and I think that it’s this that keeps my work evolving.  By the time I’m half-way into one mould I’ve usually identified an alternative way to make the next.

It’s so exciting when a new idea strikes. I begin with a rough sketch, I then spend ages puzzling over how best to approach it technically, and the finished piece evolves from there. I’m rather stubborn so if someone says that an idea can’t be achieved, or suggests a simpler but less effective approach, then I’m determined to do it my way!    When I reach a technical dead-end though, I find my dad incredibly helpful. He comes from a more scientific background (though he’s also very creative), and when talking through a project over a couple of beers he’ll often ask just the right question, or suggest an unusual solution. 

I recently came across a box full of my sketchbooks from the last 13  years, it was amazing flicking through to see doodles of uncompleted ideas. Having recently finished a foundation degree in applied arts many of these may take on a new life as I can imagine their potential in materials that I previously hadn’t considered. Over the last couple of years my work has taken a very noticeable turn towards a domestic theme, prior to that it was nautically inspired, I have no idea what it will be next!   The rest of my life certainly affects my art, so I suppose the opposite must be true. I like to think that I’m good at thinking of alternative solutions to life’s little problems, a similar approach to my mould making. 

Like so many artists I find getting out and about really helps when I’m low on ideas. I live in Devon so I’m very lucky to be surrounded by stunning moor, woods and coastline. I’ve also found that travelling by train is fascinating as it gives you an alternative perspective of towns and cities.

 I’ve always had a creative streak, from finger painting as a toddler, to collecting shells on the beach. As a teenager I found textiles excited me more than art lessons at school. When I was 18 I was split between a love of the sea, and a desire to be creative. After a few years afloat it was time for a change so I signed up for a course at Plymouth College of Art, and I haven’t looked back since!    I’ve also recently become a mum for the first time, whilst this has severely restricted my glass-casting time my daughter happily models a number of mummy-knitted outfits, and we’re having great fun getting messy with paint!

 

I am neither comfortable nor confident when marketing my work. For one thing I get very attached to each piece, though with some projects it’s very much a love-hate relationship. Initially it felt like I was selling a little bit of me, however I’m getting better at handing work over, and instead I see it as an opportunity to start on another piece.  At college we were told that to be a professional it’s vital to designate a substantial part of time each week to the business side of things, but somehow the hoovering and washing-up always seem more inviting!   

 
Last year I designed and made the trophies for the Association of Colleges Gold Awards which were presented at the House of Commons. In some ways it was a great experience, but the words ‘blood, sweat and tears’ would not be an understatement!  I would think twice before agreeing to make so many almost identical pieces on such a tight budget and deadline, however it would be lovely to work with customers to create individual pieces with personal meaning.

The introduction of new technologies in art interests me.   I’m not sure whether it will directly influence my work as I still really enjoy getting messy, but there are certainly some very exciting things happening in the glass-art
world.

I would love a bigger workshop with state of the art cold-working facilities, however I have recently started to rent time in the workshop at Teign Valley Glass, and it’s made me realise that having my own workshop could get rather lonely… so totally blowing the budget I think a fully equipped multi-purpose workshop to share with all my artistic friends!

Casting is quite a messy process however it helps to keep things fairly tidy and to clean up as you work (though my husband would tell you my workshop is a tip, I know where everything is!). Much of the equipment I use can be found in a standard kitchen (though not in ours as it tends to migrate to the garage never to be seen again!). So long as I’m inspired and there’s something good on the radio I’m quite happy, I’ve even been known to break the ice on the outside sink to rinse out my plaster bucket!

 

 

Artist Spotlight – Ember Vincent

It’s hard to put a finger on where creativity comes from but for me, my creativity is a compulsive, obsessive drive than has always been there and hopefully always will. Sometimes it can be hard for people that don’t have it to understand the urge to create, how it takes priority and is absolutely fulfilling. I feel it is definitely something that comes from within rather than an outer influence, otherwise it would be easier to be distracted from it!

I develop new ideas by taking photographs of things that inspire me which tend to be focused on natural colours and textures – landscapes, leaves, rocks, moss, seedpods etc, and I visit beautiful places. I hold these images in my mind or lay them around me while I work. If I have an idea brewing for a new sculpture, I don’t sketch ideas on paper, instead I “sketch in clay” – working a piece of clay until a figure begins to emerge, then researching and refining as I go along. I describe this process as working intuitively, in that I don’t plan pieces; rather follow my intuition whilst I’m creating.

Inspiration is everything – if you are not inspired by what you do on a day-to-day basis then what is the point in doing it? No-one would become a ceramicist for the money (!) Not every day as an artist runs smoothly, so you have to love what you are doing and remind yourself constantly how lucky you are to be able to create your thoughts and dreams, even on the days when you question yourself, e.g. when Raku firing outdoors with flu on a wet and windy winters evening, or coming home from an unsuccessful show. If you persevere then this hopefully becomes your work, i.e. the way you make your living. I have been making things out of clay for 15 years and only exclusively making a living as a ceramicist for the last two years after taking a leap of faith. I love my job!

If I ever feel I have no ideas, I carry on making – beginning by repeating designs that have worked before until the creative juices start flowing again – as long as I carry on with my hands in the clay new ideas are never far away!

 

When I was five I wanted to be a pavement artist when I grew up – I have always drawn, painted, designed but was never sure what direction I was going in until I discovered clay, then I never looked back. I have never had a period when I haven’t created, I just had part time jobs alongside to support myself and buy materials, but ceramics was always the main drive in my life – and now I’m doing it full time!

I spent 15 years seriously ill with M.E / CFS, the first few years bedridden. This enabled me to do an awful lot of internal exploration and has influenced and shaped who I am today. My creative force was often a shining light in an otherwise dark world and it kept me striving onwards, upwards and finally out the other side.

With my sculptures I make repeats of original designs so that they are affordable. I also make larger one – off pieces. My vases are all unique. I like to have a mix of both – it is important to me to create one – off pieces regularly as this is where you can fly free creatively – and with these I banish any thought of whether they are marketable whilst I am making them.. I also think it is important to have pieces that your average person can afford – art should be accessible, not just for the elite.

It doesn’t come naturally but I am finding this side of things easier as time goes on – I enjoy exhibiting at shows where I can talk to people about my work and receive feedback. I get a lot of good ideas from shows and exhibitions about new pieces! I find however that if I make pieces with a particular audience in mind and allow the creative process to be influenced, they lose their integrity and don’t actually sell as well, so I try not to think about selling work as I am making it. Instead I make work I want to make, then take a step back, look at it and work out where and how it would be best to sell it. If money were no object I would still make the pieces I make but I would probably have a massive studio and storage space and therefore be free to make much larger pieces as well!

 

Times are hard for a lot of people financially and I’ve been to several shows recently where established artists are not selling as well as they used to, but perseverance is the key. My view is that artists may also need to adapt to survive, not by altering their work but by looking at new outlets, new ways of getting their work out there and possibly sharing their knowledge through teaching – I teach classes occasionally and love drawing the creativity out of people – the most common scenario is people coming to a class or workshop saying they’ve got an idea but it’s probably too difficult – I always say – of course you can do it – I’m here to show you how.

 

My one desire artistically would be not to have to think about the money or actually sell anything– just to have the time and space to create and show it off every now and then.   I’d love to work in wood and make some pieces that were wood and ceramic combined – I think the two elements complement one another beautifully – maybe one day!

Artist Spotlight – Jose Heasman: Leaded Glass

My creativity comes from the natural world around me, particularly light. The best time of day for me is dawn or at sunset. The colour changes are just magical.

My processes or development of work varies. It can either be as simple as spotting a little wild flower in the hedge row or finding a piece of glass that is just sensational that sparks off the idea. I don’t really have a process I just scribble ideas on backs of old bits of paper then I research my subject matter. Then I go large!

Inspiration feeds the soul and mind clearing the way to creativity. Working without being inspired, work becomes monotonous and very hard work!

When ideas are not flowing, I always go for long walks with my lovely dog Ted. Taking my old camera we walk the downs and the river banks looking for the light and shadows.

My mother was very inspiring to me, she taught me to paint in oils from a very young age. She encouraged me to enter all sorts of competitions.  But being an artist was not on the cards with my parent, so having got my 60 words a minute in typing and finding my first job in a  ‘Personnel Department’ for a large retail company, I soon became very scared that this could be ‘it’ for the rest of my life! I lasted 6 months! I then retrained and became a graphic artist.

Being an artist or craftsperson gives you a special quality to life; I feel it makes you appreciate the smaller/simpler things. Most artist sacrifice a financial loss in life, but their souls and minds are much more likely to be happy.

 

I make my glass work because I am inspired to make it, not just to sell. I like to sell my work to only happy people who will display it to all its glory. Once I sold a beautiful lamp to a lady who informed me many months later that she wraps it up and keeps it in a cupboard as she was scared her cats would break it. That made

me sad to think my lamp would never be seen. So when this lady came back to buy another I refused her.

My work is impossible to repeat exactly, as no two pieces of glass are ever the same. So every item I make is unique, may be to the same original design but I always add something different, so my customer know for sure that no other person will ever have the same.

I personally find it difficult to wear two hats one as a creative person the other a salesperson.

I am far from money rich but I don’t make work to sell to make money. If money was no object my artist creative choices wouldn’t change.

The future for the artist will be the same as it’s been for hundreds of years …. Difficult!

If I had one wish, I would wish that art could be taught more creatively in primary schools, encouraging young children to feel free with expression at a young age.

I would love to master painting in water colours. The passion and freedom of water colours are just so inspiring it scares me silly!

Ones working environment is so important. To start with you have to clear your head so your working pace has to have that ability to flush all the family life politics out! Good music, good light, warm and friendly pictures all around, a strong cup of tea, it’s a great start.