Being on both side of the camera…. the making of new images for my Essex Crystals

Picture of a woman sat in a small white photo tent wearing jeans and a cream top and wearing a large cast glass, engraved and enamelled essex crystal brooch

So recent days found me in the garden inside my light tent (a small white tent shaped like a cube with an opening to stick your camera), covered in makeup, dressed up to the nines (from the waist up anyway) attempting to be on both sides of the camera at once. I am pleased with …

Memento Mori and Schrödinger’s Dementia

I like cats, and I have a particular fondness for Schrödinger's. I often invoke this famous feline as a way of taming my anxiety about something that might or might not happen. Standing with my sister in Cophenhagen airport in 1999 after a long trip, waiting for the interminable trundle of the conveyor belt to …

From flowers to faces and flat to forms: behind the scenes of my year of creative adventure

Memento Mori skull crystals. Engraved, cast and enamel painted glass, gilded on the reverse with coloured silver leaf

For a few years, I've been trying to understand and recreate a historic gem often know as the Essex Crystal. In 2020 I was awarded an Arts Council 'Developing Your Creative Practice' Grant to really get to grips with it. I was interested in adapting modern glass casting techniques, glass engraving, enamel painting and gilding …

Essex Crystals 2020 – a smorgasbord of weirdness

2020 was a year to experiment, to try things out and learn more about engraving on glass, miniature portrait painting in enamels and how I can bring them together with casting glass and gilding into my Essex Crystal Project. I thought it would be fun to see some sketches, samples and nearly finished pieces that …

Keeping it unreal

When I started out with my Essex Crystal Project, a few people, whose opinion I really value, said that I should concentrate on making the figures more convincingly naive. Even though I value what these people think, I found myself absolutely not wanting to make my figures more naive, and it's taken me a while …

Lost in translation

Reverse intaglio crystals painted with enamel

I've been working on translating the engraving and painting skills I've learned recently into my Essex Crystal Project. It's been quite a journey, and at every stage has made me more appreciative of the skills of the artists who work in these techniques. Thanks to my Developing Your Creative Practice Award, earlier this year I …

Goldfinches everywhere

goldfinch reverse intaglio in glass, painted and gilded on reverse

One of the joys of working at home is the immersive soundscape provided by garden birds. Blackbirds, pigeons, blue, great and long-tailed tits, starlings, sparrows and goldfinches all contribute to the cacophany that forms the backdrop to my work. And oh the goldfinches. According to the RSPB's Big Garden Birdwatch they have had a particularly …

Domestic Gospels to Essex Crystals; looking back

I've put together some images and text to give a sense of my work and how it's developed since 2006 when I graduated. I started with Domestic Gospels and Corner of My Eye - both presented for my Degree Show and at Batch, an exhibition that was part of the International Festival of Glass that …

Essex Crystal Project – the work and the stories

essex crystal reverse intaglio showing girl and budgie

Companions, or Self Portait with Budgie: I had a budgie as a child. It lived in my room and would nestle against my neck and nibble my ear. I loved that budgie My Essex Crystal Project presents a sort of personal mythology. It combines fragments of family snaps, strange creatures and classical references into strange …

New Directions, Essex Crystals and the Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair 2019

A journey into Essex Crystals - work in progress For some time I’ve been looking for a new direction for my work. I often find that making art is like trying to write a poem when you don’t even know the language you’re writing in. Or a bit like bashing out a series of one-liners. …