Ideas come from everyday life, triggered by something real I have seen or experience - a glimpse of a shape, a fragment, a phrase, a colour. These provide the starting points from which ideas for grow and are developed over time into forms and structures to be cast in glass.
Through drawing and physical and digital modelling, forms are developed, and scale, colour, surface texture and potential optical effects of light are considered as part of the process. I continue to make changes as I work, sometimes creating individual designs sometimes series or groups of related shapes.
Once I have something which I think will work, I make a physical model which I can refine and take a mould from. This might be a 3D print in either PLA or castable resin or it might be clay, wax, plaster, organic material or combinations of several of these.
Moulds are taken either directly from the model in refractory mould mix, which withstands firing in the kiln, or in plaster or rubber if I want a master to make repeats.
After the refractory mould sets, the 3D print can be melted or burned out or the wax steamed out, leaving a clean cavity, into which glass can be cast.
The mould is dried, and then placed in the kiln and loaded with glass. The kiln firing is carefully controlled both during heating and cooling. Control of temperature and time ensure a good result in the casting and reduce the likelihood of stress or tension developing in the glass during annealing and cooling.
After cooling the refractory mould is carefully crumbled away from the cast glass, cleaning and cold finishing processes begin. Some forms are minimally worked, whereas others are worked
extensively, dependent on the desired character of each piece.
Recently, my thinking has moved into more reflective territory that has brought deeper questions about perception and reality, which I have started to address using metaphors and stories. I see metaphors as a way of compressing understanding of complex concepts and ideas. Stories, as they are told and retold, often become less distinct, images become softened, blurry, gently rubbed away, like the action of time on hard material, like the maker's hand slowly refining and polishing glass.
There are various starting points for form in my work. The human form itself is important to me. Drawing from life was a key part of my study in Prague, and this has always provided a foundation from which to work, both in terms of skill and exploration - it also gave me a language in a country where I had to start from scratch verbally.
I developed a series called 'Informal Masses' where I created simple open moulds which I loaded with thick sheet glass and melted in the kiln. I then polished the top surfaces to give a view of the melt and fold inside.
This piece was created for an exhibition celebrating the Olympics in London. The concept for the form was a synthesis of the oval shape of the running track, the 3 medal podiums and muscles of the athletes. I made the model using clay and lengths of hosepipe from which I took a mould. I melted into the mould through 3 openings and dropped fragments of gold, silver and bronze into the melting glass so these are fused inside for ever.
'Safety in Numbers' ? I took an image from a newspaper article about children walking home from school as a starting point. I made a clay relief of the silhouttes of the children to explore the sense of them walking in shadows and staying together to feel safer. I took a mould from the clay which I then filled with crushed glass and fired to create a fragile silhouette to be seen against light.
Through collaging together pieces of everyday building material with parts of moulds I originally created for lost wax casting I have drawn inspiration from the approach taken by Kurt Schwitters 'Merzbau'.
Hot glass has been blown directly into and onto these spontaneous mould constructions to generate a series of entirely new forms.
These are neither functional nor sculptural: they are somewhere in between.