photo by Richard Downton
1. How did you get started in lampworking/fusing/jewellery making;
When I was pregnant, my husband and I went to Venice for a 'last dash' before I was too far gone to fly. I'd done silversmithing, and so am always on the lookout for artisan jewellery...which, in Venice of course, meant glass! Sadly (or fortunately?), we had trouble with the bank, and I only had very little money to spend, on a few simple black, white and red beads. Not long after, my husband had to go abroad for work - I'd usually have joined him, but was no longer allowed to fly. Determined that I would have fun, too, I booked a one day glass bead making course. I remember telling my teacher - Mike Tillerman - that I had no intention of continuing with glass bead making, no matter how much I enjoyed it, that my heart belonged to silversmithing. 72 hours later, my starter kit arrived...
2. How long have you been lampworking;
I've been lampworking for about 2.5 years now, the last 1.5 years were the time I started specialising in sculptural beads.
3. Where do you find your inspiration;
I find inspiration...anywhere! It can be quite frustrating, actually, because I don't have the time to follow up half the ideas I have! I see colour combinations in leaves, curves in architecture, animals on Flickr...and I love words! So many poems and quotes I read are very visual to me, sometimes, I see a complete piece of jewellery in front of my eyes as I read.
4. What is your favourite piece of your own work;
I think it's very much always the most recent piece that was a bit 'different'. I loved the first dragonfly I made, I still have it, it's waiting for some kind of special bail. More recently still, I started making asymmetric necklaces, based on poems and quotes, and I love the 'Mad as a Hatter' lariat, because a lot of jewellery I've made to date is quite shy and retiring...this isn't!
5. Who's work do you admire most;
There are too many people I admire to mention individually - as a group, they have the common denominator that their work is always of high quality - no shortcuts, no excuses. I think that, if you do sell your work, you ought to do it as professionally as you possibly can - not in the 'how may I help you today, Ma'am' kind of way, but by producing the best possible quality you can, and being self-critical. And that's not just your actual work, but everything around it. I myself know that I could learn lots from other people in the way of photography, for example.
6. What are your goals for the future;
2010 will be the year when I 'turn pro' - lampworking full-time, teaching lampworking / glass bead making, and making jewellery. So, my most immediate goal would be to make that leap without too many mishaps - hopefully, getting more ideas from paper to finished piece. I've got two websites - http://www.littlecastledesigns.co.uk/, where I sell beads & jewellery, and http://www.nowforevermore.com/, which specialises in wedding jewellery and celebratory jewellery, as well as a selection of both on my etsy shop (http://littlecastledesigns.etsy.com/) - I've got this year to understand how to work all these to their best potential...if I find the holy grail, I'll happily share it! ;-) Being home in daylight should also help with those photos!