Glass Christmas Tree Decorations
I started working with glass as a hobby about 20 years ago having previously
worked as an optometrist. I began selling items about 15 years ago when my
house became full of lamps and hangings and the walls were mirror strewn.
I am attracted to glass because of the beauty of its colours, textures
and variety. I am particularly influenced by the designs of Louis
Comfort Tiffany, Charles Rennie Mackintosh, and Frank Lloyd Wright and
other iconic names from the Art Nouveau and Art Deco periods.
It was Tiffany’s introduction of the copper foil technique for stained
glass work which makes most of my work possible. The shaped glass is edged
carefully with copper foil which will then allow the pieces to be soldered together
resulting in much finer work than the use of strips of lead came permits.
Tiffany’s development of ‘favrile’ glass is also an inspiration to all who love
glass and my frequent use of iridescent glass is probably as a result of this.
I will turn my hand to most types of design however but usually return
to the stylised visions of nature so typical of the early part of the 20th century
or the geometric designs of the Art Deco period. I particularly enjoy making
decorative lamps or mirrors but over the years have also turned my hand
to many other glass items.
I am now also producing fused glass items to add variety to my work. These
include bowls, dishes, wall hangings, ornaments, and vases.
SUE HEYS – Artist Statement
After many years working as an optometrist, I decided in 1995 that I would turn my hobby of stained glass work into a full-time occupation. I learnt the basics of the craft attending adult education classes at Somerset College of Arts and Technology for 1 year in the early 1990s but essentially I have learnt the design skills and finer details by experiment, research and observation. Since 1995 I have worked from home full-time making glass items of many different types over the years.
I chose to work with glass because I love the many different colours and textures it offers, as beautiful as anything in nature. I particularly enjoy making Tiffany style lampshades and mirrors with elaborate glass overlays but also make a range of large and small items such as panel lamps, clocks and suncatchers. My main design influences are the Art Nouveau and Art Deco periods and the designers Tiffany, Mackintosh and Lloyd Wright.
I very rarely make the same item or design more than once (except for smaller items) so everything I produce is usually unique. I do occasionally use patterns to reproduce classic designs but otherwise the designs are my own. I make some of the wooden lamp bases myself but I do not make the metal ones and also some wooden mirror frames and clock mechanisms used to complete my work. I have also trained as a jewellery designer and maker working mainly with sterling silver but this is secondary to my glasswork.
I am a proud Craft Member of the Somerset Guild of Craftsmen and have taken part in many of their exhibitions in the area and have a permanent display at their Home Gallery. I take part in selected exhibitions in the South-West as well as attending some Craft Fairs and I take part in Somerset Art Weeks. I have permanent displays at several galleries in the area and I am happy to accept commissions.
My main process is the copper foil technique for stained glass work originated by Tiffany as it allows the finer solder line required by complex or smaller designs but I also use traditional leadwork sometimes for edging or larger items.
I use acid etching on occasion to add texture to glass or to produce a very fine design impossible by cutting glass alone. I will also paint design on glass sometimes but only to a lesser degree and usually only to add accents or small features.
Lately I have been doing some fusing and slumping and am hoping to do more and to combine it with solder techniques. The use of iridescent glasses for this is something I am very keen on. In fact, it is the choice of the right piece of glass for the job that takes a good deal of time. Not only the colour, but the ‘grain’ of the glass is important (most obvious in the hand mixed art glasses which I use frequently) and can make the difference between an average piece of craftwork and a stunning family heirloom! I am also currently experimenting with combinations of glass and metals (particularly copper).