As 2009 gets rolling we decided to feature a member of our talented street team each month. We learned so much about each other when we did this a while back and we got such great feedback from our customers that we decided it was time to show you the artists behind the glass. February's featured glass artist is Mandy Caird of Prizmatic Art. Now I was lucky enough to be the secret Santa recipient of one of Mandy's gorgeous bowls and a magnet set this holiday season! So I can tell you firsthand that her art is absolutely stunning.
Mandy, can you give us a little background on yourself:
My name is Mandy Caird. I'm from the UK and now live in sunny Denver. I work as a project manager for an online training company. I originally trained as a Biochemist and worked in research for a few years and I still have some of the mad scientist in me when I work with glass!
When did you first become interested in glass?
I've always loved stained glass windows and any kind of art glass, but I could never afford anything. The only way I was going to have glass in my house was if I made it myself, so I took a stained glass class about 15 years ago. The class was so much fun that I immediately got the glass bug! Then 5 years ago my wonderful sister in-law loaned me her small kiln and I became an instant glass fusing addict! I'm also a bit of a tom-boy so the tools appealed to me. Other people can bake cakes, but my oven goes to 1700 degrees!
What do you like best about what you do?
I love the colors, especially blues and greens! I love seeing how different colors of fused glass will turn out. It's always exciting after I've had the kiln running overnight to find out the next morning what gift has been created for me.
Is there a pattern in the way you select materials? In the way you use color, texture or light?
I select glass I like no matter what I am making. If I find a piece of glass that I think is drop-dead gorgeous I'll save it until I come up with with an idea of how to use it.
What inspires you? How are your inspirations expressed in your work?
Ordinary everyday objects inspire me. I can be driving to the grocery store or having lunch with a friend and I will see something that will make me think of glass. Glass isn't just for hanging in the window or wearing. I try to make many different things with glass, from clocks and candle holders to business card holders and magnets.
How much time is spent creating your pieces?
I'm usually very slow and often I will lay glass pieces out for days and play with the colors and shapes before firing. I once had a mirror frame for 18 months before I finalized it - it was a geometric design and I kept moving the pieces around until I was pleased with the final color balance - it was well worth the wait :-)
What are your techniques and style and how do these relate to the medium?
When I began I used to try and fire pieces so they would almost come out of the kiln ready to use. However over time I have collected more equipment that allows me to manipulate the glass more after firing. I think I have more tools than my husband! Fusing glass is just the first part of the process. After grinding, shaping, slumping or sandblasting, the final pieces have usually been in my kiln at least 3 times. The trick is knowing when to stop!
What do you find most challenging about your work in the glass arts?
Time and space! Since I like to mull over my designs, you can image I need quite a lot of space for all my projects-in-progress! Luckily I have the run of the basement and my husband has the garage - I think I won on that deal.
How did you find Etsy? What do you like most about it?
A friend at work liked my earrings and asked me if I sold them on Etsy. Within a week I had an Etsy account and items listed in my shop. I love the "buy handmade" concept and being part of such a creative community.