I get asked all of the time where I get my inspiration from, where I get my ideas from. They are much the same, at least they are intertwined, ideas come from my inspiration and ideas feed my inspiration.
For me as a developing artist it’s all about what moves me, what makes me feel good to be alive, what puts the fire in my belly. You only have to open your eyes and look around you to see there is beauty and colour everywhere:
The sea, you can tell from my work how much moving water and the sea inspire me. I yearn to create the perfect seascape, to produce movement in my crashing waves. Glass represents water beautifully, in its fluidity and transparency, its colours and light. I can sit and look at the sea for hours, I can become mesmerised watching waves build and crash towards me and subside where they roll over my feet as a million tiny bubbles. The colours of the sea are my colours. It’s awe inspiring seeing the blues and greens of the ocean melt into the blues of the sky on the horizon.
Birds, I just love birds, their colours, their plumage, the movement in. their wings, the gracefulness. I went through a stage making lots of large-(ish) bird pictures, plates and dishes, sadly only a few sold, and I have to earn a living, so now I only make them as one off commissions, and satisfy myself with making my popular quirky bird tea light holders, sun catchers and greeting cards.
The forest, the beauty and majesty of a tall grove of trees reaching towards the skies. The depth and texture of the bark of a tree, the plethora of colours in the leaves. Watching a tree change through the seasons is fascinating and definitely awe inspiring. I have made quite a few tree pieces and this is definitely an area for my future development.
Whilst others are watching television or reading a book you will find me searching the internet, looking at Instagram, Pinterest, paintings, classic and modern, photographs and other artists work. Most glass artists ‘copy’ other glass artists work, it would be foolish to deny it when you look at the work that is ‘out there’ and the similarities between. I admit I have looked at other artists work and tried to imitate it, but putting my own slant on it, to ‘make it my own’. However, for me there’s very little pleasure in mimicking what others do, and I treat it as part of my learning and development. But it doesn’t fuel my creative self. So I constantly seek that uniqueness in my work that will make me stand out, and that I can claim as my own.
My fairy pictures are the closest I have got to achieving this in my career so far, and they emerged and grew from my love of birds and nature. The idea to make a fairy literally popped into my head one evening when I was thinking about the process I used to produce the bird pictures. I could see the end result clearly, this beautiful autumn fairy in deep reds and greens, with a touch of iridescent sparkle. I searched the internet, looking for glass fairies other artists might have produced and gratefully I found very little.
I made my first fairy within hours of imagining her, I wanted to get her out of my head and on to the glass, into the kiln.
It was magical opening the kiln the next day; it’s always a bit like Christmas morning when I open the kiln, but this time it was escalated up a notch or two, Christmas morning with snow on the ground and a fire in the hearth. I wasn’t disappointed, I loved her. I made my second fairy picture very soon after making her, and then the ideas seemed to flow, there was no stopping me.
To date I have made 21 fairies, all individual and unique, two went off to Canada, one went to a very special lady, most have been sold. The first two fairy pictures I made sold within hours of me posting them online.
I have many more fairies in my head waiting for their trip into the kiln, maybe I have found my niche? My ‘unique product’, I get so much pleasure from creating and making my fairies I am not about to stop anytime soon.
I have a fairy in the kiln as I write this, she was inspired by a photograph of my sister who died just a month ago, way too soon and after a long illness she fought to the very end. I first saw the picture on her daughters (my nieces’) facebook page, I knew immediately that she would become a fairy. I am now counting the hours until I can open the kiln and see if it has worked its magic again. I don’t know yet what I will do with her, or if I will be able to sell her, she is special so she would have to go to someone special. I may keep this one.
I continue to dig into my soul to see what other ideas might emerge. One day someone will copy my fairies and they’ll no longer be unique to me. Maybe someone out there already does them, and I just haven’t discovered them.
But other ideas will come, I am confident of that. Inspiration is all around me and I still have so many stories to tell