I lived in Sheen Lane, 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. The counter was mahogany and solid. 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.
I was a young person who always drew and painted to express how I see the world around me. I did my degree at the University of Surrey and got an Honors in Art in the Community, then I went on to specialize in glass which I had ‘discovered’ 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 patient and inspiring tutors and professionals on the top floor of the college. These years spent listening and learning from fascinating teachers has stayed with me and spurred me on to teach and set up my own workshop, practicing as a designer, artist and crafts person. I have traveled and worked abroad in France, Spain and Canada. I love the natural world and all the seasons and changes that come along within our world. 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 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 influencing my style too. Now since April 2013, we live here in a small cottage similar to that of a stone nest if there could be a thing…It is cosy and comfortable and just right! My wonderful haven workshop is up near the Woolley Manor House just around the corner on Woolley 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! Now it’s spider time and the most incredible webs are woven in the most unlikely places.
We are on the edge of Salisbury plain where ancient British landscape is at it’s best. It rolls out before me in such 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, paint and materials such as threads and cloth then finally, 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 qualities and translucency unique. 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 would be making. I would also like to refer to particular people that have influenced my style, William Morris and the pre-Raphaelite brothers, Christopher Whall, Leonardo da vinci, Sandro Botticelli, Arthur Rackham, David Hockney and Egon Schiele to name but a few.