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Collaborating with Students from The Radclyffe School

Updated: Jan 13, 2023

Manchester based Glassblower, Jess Davids teamed up with six engineering students from The Radclyffe School in Oldham to create a sculpture made from glass and metal to be displayed on the grounds of the School. The project was funded by Curious Minds, whose vision is for “a future where being creative and experiencing brilliant culture is a regular aspect of EVERY child’s life and learning.”

To create the glass element of the sculpture, Students travelled to Liverpool Bay Hotshop, where Jess demonstrated to them basic glassblowing techniques. In their first session, students learnt how to make paperweights, baubles and bowls. This equipped the students with an understanding of properties of glass and what can be achieved within the parameters of their skills. Students were encouraged to work collaboratively together creating a realistic work environment and to help them to develop good team working skills.

The Students held a design session with Jess where they developed the concepts for their design, using the knowledge and skills they had learnt in their first session. Students then headed back to the workshop to bring these ideas to life.

The next stage, was for the Students to head to Mow Cop for a Blacksmithing lesson with Imogen of Moggy Metals. This is where they would develop the metal counterpart of the sculpture. During their induction they were shown different ways to mould and manipulate metal and were given the creative freedom to decide on the final shape of their pieces.

To finalise the project, the students assisted in the installation of the sculpture, helping to create the final composition in situ.

Student Responses:

  1. "I enjoyed making different patterns out of the glass and adding the different colours into it."

  2. "I found it challenging in some parts and I found it fun too."

  3. "If I had the chance to do blacksmithing again, I would."

Students gained a broader understanding of creative career paths and this also led to discussions on other materials they would like to experiment with through their education.

Jess Davids graduated in 2018 from studying BA(Hons) Design Crafts at De Montfort University, where she specialised in glassblowing. After graduating she became Artist in Residence for a year at De Montfort University, where she was given the opportunity to develop her creative practice in return for mentoring students. Since then she has be exhibiting her work at contemporary craft shows and galleries across the county. More information on the project can be found on her website:

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