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Author Topic: AOTM April 2012 - Gay Massender  (Read 8396 times)
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I hold with those who favor fire.
Posts: 869

I'm working on a dream...

« on: March 31, 2012, 05:35:05 AM »

Gay Massender

I, like so many of us on here, have always enjoyed arts and crafts.  I have always had a love of glass too, I think this might because of the way it catches and separates light and leaves reflections and rainbows on otherwise dull surfaces.  So, when I got the chance to go on a one day fusing course, I jumped at the chance.  As soon as I came home I scoured the 'bay' for a second hand kiln and bought a UHLIG with no controller whatsoever, I started melting glass almost immediately, but found that the pieces were so small that I could only really use them to make jewellery.  I obviously needed beads to go with some of the pieces and that's when it happened.  I found LAMPWORK - and when I found out it was possible to lampwork from home, I knew I had to have a go.  I bought a couple of books and a starter kit from Tuffnells and I was off!

etsy 040 by GaysieMay, on Flickr

As soon as my kit arrived I humped an old computer desk in from the garage, jubilee clipped my gas tank on then completely lost my nerve!  Eventually I lit the flame and tentatively melted my first bit of glass, those early beads went onto a handbag charm for my cousin, unfortunately I don't have a photo.  I soon realised that I was going to need either a large monthly overdraft to pay for map gas or a better set up!  I upgraded onto a nortel minor and we are still very happy together!  That was when I met the crew at Tuffnells in the flesh and I couldn't believe that I was lucky enough to live so close.  Emma told me about FH and I registered that same week.

Psyche and silver 008 by GaysieMay, on Flickr

Although self taught I have since been lucky enough to attend a number of classes and these have helped me develop skills and confidence no end.  The first course I ever attended was with Astrid Riedel at Di's studio down in Leicester.  I felt out of my depth to be honest, as many of my FH beady heroes were there.  I was conscious of my every move and couldn't even to seem to sort the flame out!  I think my hand shook for most of the first day, but by the end of the second day I had started to relax - just in time to go home.  Since then I have attended courses by Anouk Jesperse, Di East and Sara Sally Le Grand, all have influenced my work to some degree or other.  I greatly admire the work of all these wonderful women, but have to say that I think that Sara's course has had the greatest influence on me.  I am currently working on designs that incorporate skills and techniques learned from her - hopefully I can reveal these more fully in the not too distant future  Wink

sand and sea by GaysieMay, on Flickr

Powder Blue Brooch 009 by GaysieMay, on Flickr

I love living where I do, I love complaining that its too cold in the winter and moaning that I'm too hot in the summer, I love our shifting seasons and all their idiosyncrasies.  Their colours and the moods they create in me, provide inspiration for a lot of my work.  That said I can be equally influenced by a new coat or woolly jumper - must make something to wear with that!

I'm still in the honeymoon period of my romance with melting glass, still learning about it, still keen to develop my skills and understanding, and like any relationship I hope this phase lasts forever.  As yet I would say that I don't have a signature style and that suits me, I would be worried that I might find it restrictive and that other peoples expectations may influence me too heavily.  That said, others' work seems to evolve and yet still capture them, so maybe I'm just not there yet.

Lichen's Dream Lampwork Necklace by GaysieMay, on Flickr

I only became an active member of FH after my first FO in 2010 (I was a forum virgin when I first registered and didn't quite know what to do - so ended up doing nothing).  As well as meeting lots of lovely people, who made me feel so welcome I bought Jim Kerwin's book about Bronwen Heilmann.  I have read it often but never had the nerve/equipment/time to have a go at her painted techniques, so when I saw that she will be coming to Tuffnells to do a course I think I must have been first in the queue to enrol, I'm hoping that this will open up a whole new area to expore and who knows how many possibilities.

brooch 057 by GaysieMay, on Flickr

I knew after my first FO I had to make it an annual event, and when I saw the GBUK jewellery competition I knew I had to give it a shot.  I was very last minute in sending my entry but not through lack of trying.  I had that many designs scribbled on the back of envelopes and shopping lists but nothing seemed to work.  The competition them was Fire and Ice and for some strange reason I couldn't get 'Fire' out of my head, and I really don't often work in oranges or reds.  Eventually, after seeing the Catherine Wheel still pinned on the garden fence I came up with this design:

GBUK comp 006 by GaysieMay, on Flickr

I was totally flabbergasted when I found out I'd won the wirework section - it made my year!  Another of my favourite pieces is the bracelet below, it was the first time I'd used some of these techniques and when I look at it now I see all its flaws, but I love it anyway!

Toffee bracelet 003 by GaysieMay, on Flickr

I'm not sure if my personality traits are reflected in my work, but I do believe that lampwork has helped me recover a sense of well-being after a particularly difficult period of my life, and that the future is now a more positive place in which to travel.  So if anything I would like to think that optimism is perhaps reflected in my work.

Golden Pods by GaysieMay, on Flickr

I would like to thank Sabine for asking to me to be AOTM and for all her hard work, I really do feel very honoured to be asked.

If you would like to see more of my work you can find me at

Thank you  Kiss

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