Glass is a fantastic medium and can be incredibly beautiful. We interviewed two of our glass making stallholders to Meet the Maker and get to know more about the world of glass.
Pedddle: How did you get into working with glass? Do you have any specific inspirations for your work?
Flamingo Fancies: I have always had a love for colour from a young age. I’ve always been slightly obsessed with the use of colour within buildings and architecture, from Gaudi to the little row of houses on Heartland Road in Camden (where my favourite glass shop is based).
When I’m looking for inspiration for a new sheet to make jewellery out of, I look through photos I’ve taken whilst traveling for colour combinations I may want to use. I love experimenting with colour mixtures as certain colours of glass can react with each other when fired and create some really beautiful effects. The decision on the shape of the piece really comes once the sheet is fired. I decide what shapes will compliment the glass and show the most amount of detail.
Sarah Myatt Glass: I never chose glass – it definitely chose me. I always loved making 3D objects so I did an art foundation course at a local college, fully intending to go on to do a degree course in Wood, Metals and Plastics. On my way to the open day for the course at the University of Wolverhampton I dropped into the glass department. That was that – I was hooked straight away. Something just felt right.
I graduated back in 2000 with a 2:1 BA (Hons) in 3D Glass Design. It feels (and is) a very long time ago. We learned many different glass techniques, from stained glass and glass blowing to kiln forming, which I loved and that’s what I use now in my practice.
Pedddle: What is your best selling product and why do you think this is?
Flamingo Fancies: My best selling product is probably my glass stud earrings. I have quite a broad range, from really simple plain glass studs to more complex ones layering fused glass chips. They seem to appeal to a wide range of people and I think the reason for their popularity is that the majority of them are one of a kind, customers often buy multiple pairs. All of our earrings are on hypoallergenic surgical steel as so many people have problems with the metals in earrings and it’s less likely to cause skin irritation.
Pedddle: What is the most satisfying element of producing your work?
Sarah Myatt Glass: There’s no better feeling than when you see someone’s face light up when they look at your work, or when they choose to spend their hard-earned cash, not only because they love your product but because they appreciate the work that goes into it. I’ve had messages from customers who have bought one of my glass pieces for a friend or relative who is having a rough time or a bereavement to say that my work has brightened their day and made them smile. That makes me extremely happy.
Pedddle: What do you love most about selling at markets?
Flamingo Fancies: I love seeing other artists and makers work when I’m at markets, but I think the thing I love most now is the face to face contact you have with customers. It puts me massively out of my comfort zone but it’s a really important aspect, I feel.
As makers, being able to explain to the customer the processes used to create our items shows the amount of work that we all put into our products and our businesses as a whole. I think markets are an important part of networking taking your business to an area and a group of people that otherwise wouldn’t have ever seen your products.
Sarah Myatt Glass: I love the sense of community between traders, we all know what goes into running a small indie business, the ups and downs…the stress of the weather on an outdoor market! I really love the social side of markets. Because I work alone all week, I get to meet my friends who are makers, see their new work, share ideas and have a natter.
I’ve been selling at markets since 2008 when I set up my business, I used to do lots of different markets and also school fairs, fetes, basically everything that was offered to me! I also did a few a bit further afield leading up to Christmas. But over the years I have honed down what works for me and I make sure I don’t burn myself out. I am a trader at the Sunday Supplement in Leek and the Treacle Market in Macclesfield, having two regular markets every month keeps me busy.
Pedddle: Do you have anything new planned for this year?
Flamingo Fancies: In 2019 I had a 1 to 1 class with an amazing glass artist who gave me the confidence to try new things, so for 2020 I’m hoping to build on the techniques I learn and expand them. I’ve also developed a new range of pendants which are decorated with hand painted linear patterns. I had great feedback on them at my first markets of the year.
Pedddle: What do you love most about your business?
Flamingo Fancies: Coming from a Freelance Costume background and mainly working to other people’s designs, I love the flexibility I have with my glass work. I have full creative freedom to do what I like and experiment as much as I like.
I adore working with glass and one thing I truly love about glass there is no waste, it’s said that glass can be recycled endlessly without losing its purity or quality. I don’t throw any of my off cuts or mistakes away they are all kept to be used again. Off cuts can always be used on smaller projects or turned into Frit (small glass chips) to be used in my jewellery. If an experiment or a firing goes wrong the piece goes in the scrap bin, to be used for something else at a later date or is cut up and melted down to create something completely new, nothing is wasted.
I really love when I get to meet other glass artist also selling at markets that I’m at. Getting to see their work and how it’s displayed, and generally just getting to chat about glass. It is sometimes thought that there shouldn’t be duplicate stalls at markets and events, but just because two people use the same medium to work in doesn’t mean their work will be the same. We all have our own individual style and that shines through in our work.
Sarah Myatt Glass: Flexibility of time, developing my style and being able to play with all that gorgeous coloured glass!