Corrina has worked full time as a glassmaker for more than 10 years, and in the last 2 years has added silver smithing to her bow. A self-confessed colour obsessive, Corrina’s stunning glass baubles are a Christmas buy that can’t help but make me smile. Her love of colour can also be seen her in silver work, drawing inspiration from the native jewellery designs of North America and Tibet.
Your work has been the talk of the Folksy office in the past week, can you tell us more about your designs?
I love making beautiful and functional forms in glass. Asymmetry is a theme in some of the items I make, I think it’s much more interesting to look at, the eye takes for granted symmetry. My main focus is to make forms that are simple but vibrant, capturing colour and light in a material such as glass is pure alchemy!
Could you pick your favourite piece of work?
My favourites at the moment are the baubles, I have so many colours, they look so lovely all grouped together. I love it when they catch the sunlight in a window, or glow amongst fairy lights on a tree.
I also enjoy the hanging lanterns. They look so gorgeous with a candle inside to light up the garden in the early evening. The translucent colours glow as the sun goes down and the stars light up the sky.
You’ve been a full time designer-maker for over 10 years now, where did it all being for you?
The first time I ever saw someone making glass, I thought ‘I have to learn how to do that!’ The process of transforming what looks like lava into a colourful form to be admired is just captivating. Its a long journey, firstly to get used to the heat of working from a furnace, and then to build a working knowledge of the countless techniques that come from all over the world, most of which haven’t changed for centuries. I studied locally at the International Glass Centre and Wolverhampton University. I attended a workshop in Finland and then gained a scholarship to the world renown Pilchuck Glass School in the US.
Tell us about work space.
I live in Birmingham, near what used to be the glass quarter of England, and though all the old crystal factories are now closed, there are still a few working studios available to hire. This is a preference for me as owning my own glass studio,with a raging furnace running day and night was too daunting for me. Hiring time at the right place with good quality glass in the furnace gives me a huge amount of freedom.
Describe your day as a maker.
I make a list for the day in the glassmaking studio, you have to be prepared, there is so much to do and you have to work fast and stay focused.
I work through my orders list , then relax a little and try some new ideas. Its a full on 9 – 5 day, as you’re making you put everything into a kiln called a lehr to be annealed, you don’t get to see what you’ve made until the next day! Only then can you tell if your new ideas have worked or not, then I pack it all up, go home and get the camera out!
With so many talented designer-makers out there now, how do you keep your work unique?
My ideas come from without and within, I have a daily yoga and meditation practice, with this in place ideas just seem to fall out of the sky. I also love to travel, Asia is a great source of inspiration for me! It’s so vibrant, like someones turned the colour up too much on an old tv set! I am a colour fanatic! It has to be the exact shade or tone I’m looking for, I use the only best quality glass colour in my work.
What 3 tools could you not live without?
My beloved handmade glassmaking tools, made by an old man called Ivan Smith, who used to make bespoke glassmaking tools from his garden shed. He is famous amongst glass makers the world over! They are the highest quality tools you could ever wish for. When I ordered mine over 10 years ago, I drew around my hand on a piece of paper so he knew exactly how big to make my shears.These tools are priceless and in the right hands, will last a lifetime and beyond.
What gets creative juices flowing?
What works for me is just to get working with the material, as I create this naturally seems to generate new ideas. Sometimes ideas don’t turn out the way I thought they would, but this just leads to another that works even better than you could have imagined.
Are you inspired by other artists?
I love Finnish glass artists, I was lucky enough to go there to study for a while. The clean lines and innovation in both past and present artists is astounding. There are some incredibly talented makers in the US too, making forms out of glass in front of your eyes you couldn’t even dream was possible.
What do you love most about being a designer maker?
Everything! Creating things isn’t something I could stop if I tried, to bring to life an idea or a dream is wonderful. To have other people share that with you is a great feeling. Its my life.
What advice would you give to any maker starting out?
Find something you absolutely can’t live with out. Be prepared to work hard for it. Most of all, have fun doing it!
Thanks so much to Corrina for taking the time out to speak to me at Frankly. You can see and buy more of Corrina’s work in her Folksy shop Corrina Field Handmade.