I’m what they call a late starter. I ‘discovered’ glass quite by chance in my 30’s, whilst browsing in a local bookshop. I picked out the wrong book, and it happened to be about American glass art. It fell open at a page with a photo of a bowl by Dale Chihuly and I was blown away. “Wow!” I thought. “I want to learn how to do that!” So I took myself off to college as a mature student, first undertaking an Art Foundation course at Shrewsbury College and then a degree in Glass at the University of Wolverhampton.
That was back in the 1990’s. After graduating it took a few years to get my act together, and then in 2002 I established a small studio making glass tiles, with the help of my wife Hannah who has worked with me ever since. Hannah looks after the ‘business’ side of things, enabling me to concentrate on what I do best – designing and making. Since then we have grown the business gradually, moving from Shropshire to Pembrokeshire and more recently to Devon, where we have a spacious studio and a separate gallery, in Totnes.
We now design and produce a wide range of glasswork for homes, hotels, hospitals and commercial spaces – from ornamental pieces such as sculptural bowls, through to windows and large-scale wall features. We have built up a client base which includes private glass collectors, architects and interior designers, galleries and retailers. Much of our work comes from recommendation, and from returning customers. Commercial clients have included Hilton Hotels, PA Consulting, Kraft Foods, Apollo Medical, and for several years we have been supplying John Lewis stores on an ongoing basis with our handmade glass splashbacks. Along the way we have picked up a few awards for our work too.
We take enormous pride in the quality of our glasswork, and also in the service we provide – which we believe is just as important as the finished product. Communication and flexibility are vital to our relationships with our customers. Here are some customer testimonials and there are more reviews on Houzz.
The natural environment is a constant influence for me. Oceanic themes of movement and fluidity, with the mesmerising colours of marine life and the textures of flora and fauna in and around the coastline stimulating many of my ideas. For me the visual attraction is the combination of colour, transparency and light. The practical appeal lies in the diverse creations possible – from functional architectural and lighting pieces, to ornamental sculpture – be it abstract or figurative. Through my work I am seeking to create beautiful, purposeful pieces, whilst exploring and challenging the technical limits of glass as a medium. I have so many ideas of what I want to make – there is just never enough time to do it all!
Each piece of kiln-formed glass is unique, and made using specialised techniques to hand-colour the raw material, blending shades, and often slumping over moulds which I make myself to create three-dimensional forms. High temperatures fuse the layers of colours and glass together. I apply fine enamel powders to the glass, rather than working with pre-coloured glass. The use of these enamels enables me to create unique textures and patterns, which cannot be achieved by any other method, giving my work a distinctive style.
I enjoy sharing my knowledge and experience with others, and offer glass fusing workshops for those who’d like to try it out. A word of warning though – you may get hooked like I did!