We can only really teach others by example and from our own experiences. This is my story of how that worked for me using glassmaking as a vehicle to take me into lighting.
From an early age I was lucky enough to be encouraged by my parents and teachers to be a creative individual. That concept of working with my hands had been brewing ever since I was 8, chipping bits of stone in the garage, getting it in my eyes, melting lead on my Mum’s cooker and casting ingots in bits of plaster, building underground dens, constructing things… Soon it became clear that I would embark on further education in arts. I chose a foundation course.
One could say that I was never really an academic, but I also wanted the choice of my arts career to be a conscious one. I enrolled in a foundation course with a very strong educational concept which allowed me to explore different disciplines for a year. I discovered screen printing, drawing, painting, photography, ceramics and stone… I discovered I really enjoyed working in 3 dimensions and I realised I particularly loved making my mark and manipulating different base elements: clay, stone, wood, metal and plastics. Each have their own properties, physical traits, grain and density, malleability and methodology. I had the ability to coordinate, engaging my brain into finding out what things were and instructing my hands, with practice, to learn new skills.
I thought I wanted was to be a stone sculptor, starting with a block of stone. Inspired by the words attributed to Michelangelo, amongst others, when being congratulated at the unveiling of his immortal David: He was supposedly asked how he could produce such a masterpiece from a crude slab of marble, to which he replied: ”It was easy… all I did was chip everything away that didn’t look like David”.
I was all set, working towards the life of a lonely, single artisan stone-sculptor chipping away in a cold room somewhere.
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