Monday, April 28, 2014

Beautiful glass with Simon Alderson

Welcome to another Art/Crafter Interview.  Today its my absolute please to show you Simon Alderson's work.  Simon has taught me about stained glass painting,  but also he is an incredibly talented artist using glass, as his medium of choice.

Check out his great interview and also, as always their are links to his blog , web page and facebook page. It would be lovely if you would comment and pop over to check out his link

 What is the main, Art/Craft you are known for?

I’m mostly known for my glass work, though these days probably even more so for teaching glass in Bristol. My specialty within glass is traditional glass painting and kiln formed glass, though I still dabble and teach in all areas. I also do a lot of drawing.

Is this a full time job? /Second income/ Or hobby for you?
All the above!! I’m very lucky in that I have a day job within the glass world, at Creative Glass Guild, so I get to spend my work days surrounded by the medium I love, I then come home, or go to my studio and work on my own creations. At times I think I eat, sleep and breathe glass. Which I literally did at one point as when I first moved to Bristol I had my kiln in my bedroom!! (Not recommended)
Teaching has become a large part of what I do at the moment, and an area I truly love, it’s so rewarding to spend time with and teach people who are as passionate about a material as you are. Students often come from other creative backgrounds and will view glass differently than myself, which challenges me to look at it in new ways. Teaching is in itself an endless source of inspiration.

How long have you been doing it?
I’ve been working in glass for around 7-8 years now, it all started with an evening class at my local arts center.
·      Could I have a little potted history of your creative life please?
I’ve always known I’d pursue a creative career, I just wasn’t sure in what form, After doing a BTEC in Design at college I was still unsure so took a gap year, and continued to learn through various evening classes at college and the local arts centre (which has now sadly been demolished) and it was through the latter I was introduced to glass. It was actually my ceramics tutor Sheila Plews who suggested I went to look at Sunderland University’s Glass and Ceramics degree, as soon as I stepped foot into the National Glass Centre it just felt right, like I was meant to be there, and come the next September I began my degree. 3 amazing years spent in world class facilities, taught by world renowned tutors, cemented my passion for glass, and once I graduated I set up Simon Alderson Glass. Two years ago I moved to Bristol to work at the Creative Glass Guild where I now run various courses from taster days to weekly and monthly courses covering all aspects of glass. I’m also teaching a master class in fused glass later this year.

What do you love most about what you create and the process of creating it?
That’s it the process, for me the processes involved in most glass work is the biggest draw, particularly with the glass painting, the stages you work through of: tracing, strengthening, flooding, matting, highlighting. It’s like a rhythmic, hypnotic dance. I become lost in the work.
Glass has an intrinsic beauty, and an ability to transform a room, which is why it’s been used for thousands of years, whether it is through function or decoration.

 Is this your total creative output or do you also work in other areas and if so what are they?
Glass is my main output, but I underpin that with keeping my drawing skills active, I love working in monotone, in graphite, line work and shading.  Up until recently I went to life drawing classes every week to keep these skills active.
But I also think it’s important to experiment and work in other areas, test out new skills, try your hand at something new, I think we should never stop learning!  Absorbing new skills can often develop our existing ones, and take us in new exciting directions.

Do you think that its important to specialise in one area or to have lots of creative outlets?  Can one impact on the other, in positive or negative ways?
I think it’s important to specialize to an extent, in terms of marketing yourself and your business you need to have a niche, a style, an area of creativity that draws people and that they will remember you for, but within that you can explore other creative avenues, you can’t remain too specialized or you’ll become stagnant in your creativity.

What gets you out of bed in the morning and motivated to create wonderful things?
A passion for the medium I work with and the thought of maintaining and passing on traditional skills. It can often be tiresome to finish a full day of work then get the bus over to the studio, but once there I get lost in my happy little world of glass.

Do you have the support of friends and family when crafting and do you and they value what you do?
I have invaluable support from friends and family they love what I do and have always encouraged me, several commissioning me to make various things. My dad would go to the end of the earth and back to help facilitate my creativity, from building frames and light boxes to driving me 200 miles to take part in a Living Heritage Crafts show the other side of the country. I wouldn’t be where I am today without his love and support.

Describe what your perfect Art/crafting day would be like?
After the all-important morning coffee, get up and out in the world to soak up some inspiration, and clear the head, a stroll through woods or the gardens of a stately home, sketchbook and camera in tow. Followed by an afternoon at the light box glass painting, the satisfactory ‘thadunk’ of the kiln switching on to fire a full load.

What are your aims and goals for the future?
Well like most, the ultimate dream would be to give up the day job and be able to work on my own creations full time, but the realist in me knows this is a long way off.  For now I’ll settle with pushing and exploring my craft to new limits, and a wider audience.

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