I have bought lots of Gill’s buttons recently as she started making them for the Comic Relief shop and hasn’t looked back- they’re great for my newly launched Starburst Stackers as well as knitting needle ends. Primarily though, she is a glass artist and makes beautiful fused bowls and plates as well as lampwork beads.
Who are you and where do you come from?
I’m Gill Harrison (nee Hollingdale) and I was born in Essex but now live in Scotland with my husband and my dog Sadie.
What do you do in your spare time other than craft?
Well I do seem to spend a lot of time on crafting! If I need a change from glass I will get out the polymer clay or make some jewellery. We do try and get out walking with Sadie most days, we have some great walks locally. I also love watching films and going to the cinema.
Please tell us a little bit about what you make.
Well just over 2 years ago I started making lampwork glass beads which involves melting glass rods in a torch and wrapping the glass around a metal rod called a mandrel. The bead then has to go into a kiln to anneal. Having bought a kiln for the beads I then began experimenting with fusing glass too. This is where pieces of glass are cut from sheet glass, put together into the required shape and then put into the kiln to fuse together. A lot of my recent fusing work has been done using thin strips of glass which are put together with the strips on their sides. With the larger items that I make they can go through a fusing cycle several times before they are complete, the last time is the slump to shape them
What do you enjoy making most?
Well I really wish I could split myself in two and be able to fuse and lampwork at the same time as I enjoy doing both. I really like the fact that when I am sitting making beads I have to concentrate so much on the bead I can forget everything else but then with fusing there is that special moment when you open the kiln to see what’s inside… I prefer making larger fused things like bowls or the clocks I made recently rather than pendants.
What part do you dislike the most?
Got to be the bead cleaning! Especially after a productive session when there can be 20 to 30 beads to clean. They do look good when they are all cleaned up though. With fusing it’s cleaning again really as all the glass has to be washed to remove dust, greasy marks or cutting oil before going into the kiln. This would be alot easier if I had a sink in my workshop though.
What are your main inspirations for making a piece?
I think this has to be colour, I love all the colours of glass that are available now. I enjoy putting the colours together in patterns or using colours to make, for example, flowers in encased floral beads. I am influenced by nature and seasons too but its colour combinations that I enjoy experimenting with the most.
Do you plan out your designs or do you get stuck in straight away when inspiration strikes?
With lampwork I will often sit at the torch and see how the glass takes me…but with fusing I often start out with a sketch of what I want to make. However, the sketch I start with and the finished product are often very different, usually because I will adapt and add to the original idea as I go along.
What are you currently making?
I recently finished a large fusing project which took me a couple of weeks to make so at the moment I am enjoying doing some slightly less complicated things. Trying to get into a routine of lampworking in the mornings and fusing in the afternoons. I just took a slumped glass bowl out of the kiln this morning.
Do you make custom orders?
Hmm, well I have done but I’m not good at it! I worry too much about making exactly what the customer asked for and this sort of stifles the creativity. Also, almost everything I make is a one-off original piece so I don’t like to make things that are too similar to things I have made in the past.
For Gill’s buttons, go to http://HollingdaleDesigns.folksy.com