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Author Topic: AOTM February 2008 - Heather Webb  (Read 4259 times)
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Posts: 104

« on: January 31, 2008, 01:11:12 PM »

The Artist of the Month for February is:

It became clear, very early on, that I would never become a famous painter. The beautiful handmade wooden paint box that my Grandfather made for me did not turn me into the artist I longed to be. Frustratingly, I found that I was completely inept at painting and drawing. Fortunately I discovered that I was far more successful at making things with scissors and gummed paper! These early successes encouraged me to experiment with a variety of crafts. Each Christmas I would eagerly unwrap my presents to reveal the latest candle/soap/model kit. Inevitably I stumbled across beads, and it has been jewellery-making, punctuated with brief forays into a whole host of other crafty pursuits, that I have returned to time after time.

It was while searching for some “special” beads last year that I stumbled upon Sally Carver’s website. I had never ever seen such beautiful beads. When I read that she made her beads from glass rods, melting them in a flame, I was in awe of her talent. When I investigated this technique further, and discovered that this was something that could be done at home, and that Sally offered tuition, I knew I needed to have a go. So, in March 2007 I had a lesson with Sally, and made my first bumpy bead!

I find the process of melting glass from its solid state into something resembling runny honey enormous fun. In fact even without the promise of a bead at the end of the process I would happily sit at my torch melting glass, and letting it set, and melting it again. I love to make twisties. Not only is it exceptionally satisfying to turn random stripes of liquid glass into glass candy canes, but I find this to be an excellent way of getting a feel for how different glass behaves. I love the fact that melting glass cannot be rushed, because it forces me to slow down, and focus on the moment, which I find extremely relaxing. It also satisfies the mad scientist in me! The history of glass beadmaking is incredibly interesting to me, and I enjoy the fact that I am continuing the practice of creating beads from glass, which first began thousands of years ago. I also get real pleasure from trading my beads for other goodies. The world may have moved on since beads ceased to be common currency, but it is good to know they can still be used in certain quarters!

My inspiration comes from a variety of sources. I will often see a particular colour combination on the livery of a lorry I'm stuck behind on the motorway, and feel the need to replicate it in glass! I love to mimic rocks and pebbles, using silver to recreate the striations. I love it when a bead feels completely different to how it looks. I'm also inspired by the work of others, not just in the end result, but in their approach and attitude to their work. In truth I think that everyone whose work I have ever seen has inspired me in some way, and I find it very difficult to single an artist out. There are many bead artists using techniques I can only dream of, and producing the most exquisite beads. While I am definitely not in their league I find that glass is such a wonderful medium that even applying the most basic techniques, extremely satisfying results can be achieved. This is a definite attraction for me!

I do not believe that I have developed a style of my own yet, although I have just begun working on a new series of beads that I am quite excited about, so who knows? I sometimes feel that my technical development has been slow, owing to dedicated torch time being less frequent than I would like. This situation would be remedied by a lucky lottery win, but while I’m waiting for my numbers to come up, I fit my bead making in around my busy day job.  I try to be satisfied with wherever I find myself on this glassy journey, and because there is no predetermined “destination” this isn’t too difficult to achieve. That is not to say that I don’t have days where everything I turn my hand to goes horribly wrong and frustration sets in. Those are the days that I have to remind myself that it’s all supposed to be fun!

I like to use my beads in my jewellery designs, and find that my passion for jewellery-making has recently been rekindled.  I have experimented with wirework, and more recently maille. Now I find enormous satisfaction in being able to produce an entire piece of jewellery from the most basic ingredients, consisting of a length of wire and a rod of glass. I am still at the stage where I look at my final piece and cannot believe that I made it all myself. It is wonderful to be able to make and give handcrafted gifts to friends and family. The buzz I get only serves to fuel this glassy obsession further.

I sell my jewellery mainly through the small gallery of an artist friend, and occasionally on my website. It was never my intention to sell my beads, but I have been persuaded to, and these are available on my website too.

The fact that my relationship with glass will always have the potential to develop to another level is what enthrals me. In my characteristic “live in the moment” style, I have no real plans for the future, other than to continue melting glass for as long as it is fun!

« Last Edit: November 16, 2010, 05:29:49 PM by mizgeorge » Logged

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