I’m Jess! A Manchester based glassblowing artist with a passion for all things handmade. People often say I am forgetful when it comes to remembering where I put my purse, but I just think it is my future self hiding it from me so that I cannot buy any more artwork.
My creative journey started at a young age by being surround by the woman in my family always doing arts and crafts. This led me to take Art and Textiles at GSCE and when I realised I wasn’t awful I took both subjects at A-level too. But when it came to look at what to do post college, I was really stuck and spent hours each day looking at what creative jobs were out there until I came across a few different degrees which allowed me to study several different 3D materials, before specialising in one.
I went on to study BA(Hons) Design Crafts at De Montfort University in Leicester, where I fell in love with glass. I had an amazing time surrounded by truly inspiration and knowledgeable people that I feel very blessed to have met.
In my 2nd year of study I created a collection of work called Distort, which is inspired by the destruction of nature. You can see some photos and more information about the collection in the portfolio section of my website.
Between 2nd and 3rd year I went down to London Glassblowing to do two weeks of work experience. I got the incredible opportunity to work with Bruce Marks, Louis Thompson, Layne Rowe and Elliot Walker. This work experience proved invaluable and impacted the work I created for my degree collection massively. I learnt lots of new techniques, specifically layering up colours and the different ways in which to apply them.
In my 3rd year I created a collection of work called Auybowen (which is a Sri Lankan greeting) which was inspired by my time in Sri Lanka and my love of Tuk-tuks. You can see some photos and more information about the collection in the portfolio section of my website. After showing this work at the degree show, I was then selected to exhibit my work at New Designers, where I was spotted by Manchester Craft and Design Centre.
After graduation I was awarded Artist in Residence at DMU, which allowed me to continue using the university’s facilities to develop my work. As well as this I took the opportunity to learn how to programme the equipment in the workshop, so that if I am lucky to have my own one day, I will be better prepared. I also took the opportunity to work with students across all year groups, to mentor and assist them to better my skills.
As my year as Artist in Residence finished, I was offered a two-month placement with local glassblower in Leicester, this involved me assisting her in the workshop as well as taking sales in the gallery shop and doing some basic coldworking. It was a great opportunity to work in a different setting and get familiar with new equipment and different ways of working. I now continue to work here a few times a month.
I began selling my work on Makers Markets across Manchester in February 2019 and became a regular trader at Cheadle, Stockport and Northern Quarter. I have also traded at a handful of worker bee markets, mainly in Bramhall as I could roll out of bed for those ones.
After a successful year selling my commercial range I decided this year was the year to focus on my gallery range and after applying for some large shows all across the country I had been accepted onto Cheltenham Crafts Festival in March, Saltaire Arts Trail in May and Bovey Tracey Crafts Festival in June. Due to the corona virus all these events have been either postponed or cancelled, which I’m sure like everyone else has but a hold on my major plans for world domination.
If you managed to read this far, CONGRATULATIONS!!! My next blog post will be about how I am entertaining myself through the corona virus pandemic.