I lived in East Sheen S.W.14 London. My Dad was the local pharmacist, he was known far and wide for his excellent advice, his kind hearted words and his helpful nature. His pharmacy was one of a kind, the second oldest in London and filled top to bottom with around 260 different bottles all sizes and shapes, crystal tops and corks. Everything was ancient and beautiful. We helped out every Saturday, we were Dads Saturday girls and we cleaned that shop sparkling bright. We created displays for the window and helped customers find what they needed. It was fascinating. I watched my Dad make creams and ointments with a pestal and mortar and now I use the same tools in my studio to heal people in my own way, with light and colour. He mixed all his ointments on slabs of marble with a large palette knife, I watched him constantly turning and mixing his ointments until they were just right. I now mix my oxides over and over with a palette knife on a thick glass slab in the same way. He gave his whole pharmacy to Holly lodge in Richmond Park where it plays an important part in teaching people about victorian life http://www.thehollylodgecentre.org.uk/
I was a young person who always drew and painted and always will ! I did my degree very late at the age of 26 at the University of Surrey and got an Honors in Art in the Community, then I went on to specialize in glass which I took in the final year of my degree along with printmaking. I was accepted at the University of Art in London, Central St Martins, Holborn. I spent two years experimenting and learning from the inspiring tutors on the top floor of the college. These years spent listening and learning from fascinating people such as Caroline Swash and Amal Ghosh has stayed with me. It spurs me on to teach and set up my own workshop, practicing as a designer, artist and crafts person. I have travelled and worked abroad in France, Spain and Canada. I love the natural world, all the seasons and changes that come along inspire me . It is not always bright and sunny, so I choose to portray through my illustrative nature the world as it is! Sometimes dark or mysterious woodlands, starry magical skies, dreamy days or sunny mornings have their own story. I can design individual commissions portraying the desired theme, whether it may be a favorite animal or place, family members or friends, maybe a memorial or dedication.
About my influences.
‘ There is a golden thread which runs through me and connects me to everything’
Returning to Britain in 2013 to my roots to all that history that has actually been part of me forever, I have rekindled that burning golden thread in the very core of my being. Living here in Wiltshire in such incredibly beautiful countryside, sometimes pleasant, other times bleak and wild, is such a blessing on my creative mind. The Richelieu Valley, in Quebec, Canada where I have lived and been influenced for the past 10 years is still inspiring and still influences my style.
Whilst here we lived in a small cottage similar to that of a stone nest if there could be a thing…It has been cosy and comfortable and just right! My wonderful workshop was up near the Woolley Grange hotel just around the corner on Woolley grange farm. It is a wonderful place where the farmer and his wife welcome people to rent their barns and out buildings. I have a great space with a big old barn door and a ‘fresian herd’ sign hanging outside which is part of the history and energy of this place. Old signs and buildings like these are part of the strong sense of durability that I feel necessary for my creative journey. The flowers hang long and sweet in summer on the farm yard and swallows make their way into the workshop forgetting that actually they nest next door! I shall miss it all but am happily on my way back to the south shore of Montreal where we can walk on the mountain with friends and feel the wonderful nature of the whole region, where there are very tall trees, deer, chipmunks, porcupines, beavers and racoons, woodpeckers and of course Moose !!
For now the last few weeks I have walked around looking at the landscape here in Wiltshire which rolls out before me in a way my intuitive creativity steps in with a want to re-create the tapestries of colour in my minds eye. I do so through pencils and paint then with that wonderful alchemical material, glass. Glass, an ancient and transforming material from our earth, our ancestors made glass beads and later glass objects more than 3000 years ago. Then glass blowing in the Roman era made it possible to create ‘windows’ … I love glass and I love the idea of ‘portals’ or ‘port-holes’ of colour and shape to let in light but to provide insulation or protection. I make colourful portals of light to inspire through stories and ancient landscapes, people and the world around us. Bringing light to darkness and poetry to the mind.
Whilst living in Quebec, Canada I also worked a lot with Youghiogheny a beautiful mouth blown glass made in Pennsylvania, United States. I found it’s translucency and stone like qualities absolutely beautiful. English Antique Glass is another favorite on this side of the ocean with the tapestry of colours which radiate the light in a subtle way ! Lamberts Antique is another glass I work with a lot with it’s fantastic thickness and great results with painting, I find it’s a glass I go back to, especially when making panels for churches. There are many wonderful glasses though, mouth blown or machine made and choosing the right one depends on what I am designing. I have also been influenced by artist’s, writers and poets like William Morris and the pre-Raphaelite brothers, Christopher Whall, Leonardo da vinci, Sandro Botticelli, Arthur Rackham and David Hockney to name but a few.