Today we are saying a warm hello to Julia of Pandanimal Lampwork Glass who gives us a peek into her glassy world
1 - Your name:
2 - Your shop name and address:
Pandanimal Lampwork Glass www.pandanimal.co.uk The name Pandanimal came from a writing exercise I was once given: "create a fictional character". I invented a wise old creature who was a mixture of all kinds of animals: mammal, reptile, bird and amphibian. He was "pan-animal", but that sounded odd so I stuck a "d" in the middle and Pandanimal has been my online persona ever since.
3 - Describe your artistic style in three words:
organic, eclectic, eccentric
4 - When did you first start working with glass and how did you get started?
I have always dabbled in beading for as long as I can remember. A good friend taught me some basic seed-beading techniques and I developed them into simple bracelets. Then I started looking for beads to embellish what I was doing and came across lampwork. I took my first lampwork course with Barbara Mason in January 2008. The moment I melted the first rod in the flame I knew I was hooked. Could it be the pyromaniac in me?
5 - What do you love most about your craft?
I love watching the glass melt and flow; I love having the freedom to create, or try to, anything I want.
6 - If you could take a class with any artist (in your field or otherwise) who would you choose and why?
I greatly admire the fine detailed and stringer work of many artists, like Dora Schubert, Mindy Macgregor, Lorna Prime, ...........I honestly don't think I have the patience to learn how to do it as well as they do though. But if I could truly choose any one at all I would step back in time and visit the Saxon glass bead makers. I would love to learn how they managed to make beads using such primitive equipment and presumably making glass themselves from scratch. To follow the process through from raw materials to bead would complete a journey.
7 - Do you have a favourite piece of your work that you can share with us?
Most of the time my latest piece of work is my favourite. I am currently working on a project I call "80 heads around the world" drawing on cultural art from across the globe to inspire tribal heads that represent that culture to me. So far it has been a wonderfully inspiring and interesting project and it is all thanks to the Frit Happens monthly challenge that I started it!
8 - Where do you find your inspiration?
I love stone in all its varied forms: pebbles on the beach, ancient carved stones, semi-precious stones, standing stones, fossils. I try to recreate in glass the textures, shapes, histories of stone. I am also inspired by the colours and moods of nature and the landscape around me in Wiltshire and, more recently the glass bead and jewellery finds from ancient times and also the unnatural weird and wonderful imagery in the computer games my children and I play.
9 - What’s your favourite technique within your medium?
At the moment, bung bicarb on it! I am
10 - Where do you create your work?
I have my torch set up on a table in our entrance hall, that way I can work and still be around everyone else in my family.
11 - Do you have a favourite colour scheme or range when you’re creating pieces?
I am drawn to blues and greens most of the time - when I am not using grey for my pebbles that is.
12 - Can you give us a quotation/lyric/piece of advice that sums up your approach to life and your craft?
Real artists ship! - Steve Jobs. I do have to try to remember this. I have a tendency to put beads in boxes saying to myself "I will do another, even better one, tomorrow." I am, as a lot of us are, my own worst critic.
13 - The most serious question of all: if you could meet any fictional character, from TV film or literature, who would it be and why?
Hmmm.....This is a tough question. I think it would have to be Gandalf from The Lord of the Rings. I think he would be interesting to talk to and might just have some words of wisdom to impart. And of course there are his fireworks! Could it be the pyromaniac in me?
14 - Finally, what are your plans or hopes for your work in the future?
I want to explore the ancient side of glass making a lot further to see what inspiration there is there for modern beads. I will continue with my 80 heads around the world project and finish it. I am also planning to work a lot more with mixed media, drawing in other interests: felting, paper making, ceramics and textiles, to name a few.
Thank you so much Julia for such an interesting read.