Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Jilly Edwards


JE-A-Journey-of-a-Lifetime1_thumb5A Journey of a Lifetime 2000. Photo: Wayne Baillie


Q So who is Jilly Edwards?

I was born in Essex, but almost immediately moved to live in Newport, Monmouthshire. Another move to Bristol at 6 years of age, where I went to school and art school, the West of England College of Art. I loved drawing and painting but opted for the textile course, and was fortunate to have a painter for my weaving tutor, Anne Barron, who understood my desire to develop as a fine art weaver rather than a cloth weaver.

After Bristol I moved to Bath, Somerset and after several jobs to ‘earn a living’ I started teaching at Sydney Place, the foundation and adult education department of Corsham School of Art and Newton Park College (now both Bath Spa University).

Another move to Yorkshire in 1978 brought me nearer to Edinburgh College of Art and the renowned Tapestry Department, and after a visit to talk with the tutors Fiona Mathison and Maureen Hodge I opted to do a year long course in the Tapestry Department. This was the most life enforcing time, confirming that this was the area I wanted to be in. The department challenged and encouraged you to find what it was you wanted to do and how to do it with a strong underpinning with drawing and research, something that never leaves you.

From 1981 I have worked in my own studio, where ever that has been, sometimes in a room my home or a studio with other artists, or recently in a castle! But now in my own studio, an eco build with a sedum roof and wall pockets of herbs, tomatoes and alpine strawberries.



Barley, 1973.  Photo: Jilly Edwards


Q Where in the world are you based?

I now live in the heart of Exeter, surrounded by Georgian and Victorian townhouses. The home and studio are in what was the office/garden of a disused print workshop.

It is an eco house and studio, built of light weight blocks and painted timber cladding, the studio has a sedum roof, the main house has solar and pv panels to provide hot water for the under floor heating and water, insulation and double glazed doors and windows also provide reduced bills and we have a wood burner for the very cold days!



Matthew’s Summer Garden, 1980.  Photo: Wayne Baillie


Q When did you decide to become a maker?

Having left WECA in 1969 I took an assortment of jobs to ‘earn a living’, but making my own work in every spare moment. I was offered a studio space in Bath in exchange for helping in an Architects practice. A great way to learn about building!

This really encouraged me to strive for what I wanted to do, and not just a ‘job’. Not an easy life, but fulfilling.



Sense of Summer 2000. Photo: Wayne Baillie


Q What made you choose the materials that you work with?

I believe it’s to do with the ‘hand’ and the ‘feel’, when you have got to the point of the research and drawing that you can say, ‘this is what I want to work on’ you begin to know what materials are right for the interpretation.

The natural fibres, like wool, linen, cotton, etc. are really ‘delicious’ to work with, they answer all questions when in the hand making it so easy to create what you want, I would never say I won’t work with a particular material, but it has to be ‘right’!



A Splash of Blue – Detail, 1993. Photo: Wayne Baillie


Q What other materials would you like to work in?

I have been experimenting with a Japanese nylon filament, that has a memory! So when you take it off the loom you can shape it and it holds its own shape, its not easy to work on, rather hard on your fingers, but the results are exciting. I have also been learning to film and edit, so interpreting my ideas and thoughts into layered short films. I am returning to ideas about having tapestries ‘Off the Wall’, ideas that I tried at Bristol, more sculptural shapes.



Shadows and shapes, 2010  Photo: Mei Lim


Q Where do you get your inspiration from?

There is an underlying inspiration from the landscape, but more about the colours and shapes than a traditional interpretation of landscapes. I have been inspired by my itinerant life, journeying and travel and how I record these stories as I travel; recently it has been about more local journeys and life around me. Exeter is well placed, with the sea 20 minutes in one direction and Dartmoor or Exmoor 20 minutes in other directions and both are accessible with public transport.



A Splash Of Blue, Full Work  - 1993. Photo: Wayne Baillie


Q What motivates you?

To be happy



Ma, 2001. Photo: Wayne Baillie


Q Do you create your work in a studio base or a home base?

Studio and Home are three strides apart, but I go to work in the studio every day.



Textures of Memory. 2005. Photo: David Westwood


Q Crafts in the 21st Century – what does this mean to you?

This is a challenge, but not insurmountable, it’s a question of seeing what is relevant. What Crafts offer is the opportunity for people to see and buy work that is individual and perhaps one off. If finances are tight then people are going to be selective about what they choose to buy, but this looks like being of an advantage to us that ‘make’, so people want something that is special and they can treasure.

The Arts Council ‘Own Art’ should be promoted and made simpler to enable patrons to purchase from the artists on the interest free purchase scheme, where you pay over the year in equal amounts on Direct Debit, up to £2000.



Traveller's Samples #7, 2009  Photo: Mei Lim


Q How do you sell and promote your work?

I have a website – , but primarily it’s through exhibitions. I have exhibited in Europe, USA, Australia and Japan and with many exhibitions in groups and solo in the UK.

Through these exhibitions and Open Studios I have established a wide list of people that like to be kept informed and who have bought small pieces and then come back and commissioned work, both private and commercial/public clients. People love to meet the artist and see where and how you work, so I have found that Open Studios lead to many different opportunities.



Traveller's Samples, 2009  Photo: Mei Lim


Q What is your typical working day look like?

Into the kitchen for breakfast and then into the studio by 09.00. I do the paper work/emails/ letters and banking first so it’s out of the way! Then the days are divided between drawing, painting, photography, filming and working at the warp face! So no day is the same, unless you have to finish a piece of work. It’s a real privilege to work for yourself, but you quickly learn that you have to be disciplined.



Bundu Stones 1998. Photo: Wayne Baillie


Q What is your working style?

I don’t know that I have a working style? I love looking and seeing other artists, but mainly in other mediums.


Ma – Detail, 2001. Photo: Wayne Baillie


Q 3 words of advice for an aspiring Craft artist/maker...

Go for it!



Follow the Path of the Heart 2005. Photo: David Westwood


Q Who is/are your favourite artist(s)/maker(s)?

I love a variety of other artist/makers. But from many areas, but my favourite painters are Agnes Martin and Howard Hodgkin, Sculptors, Anne Truitt and Richard Deacon, Ceramicists Edmund de Waal, Laurel Keeley, Gillian Lowndes and Lucie Rie.

In my own medium, I love Susan Mowatt for the sheer quality of content through to the finished item and Naomi Kobayashi.


Q What music do you listen to?

My music listening is very eclectic, depending on my mood. I can listen to Bach Cello Concertos, played by YoYo Ma to the Wildbeasts. I can listen to anything played on a cello and I became enthralled by Japanese Flute music



Work in Progress, Around the Red Hills, 2011 Photo: Mei Lim


Q 3 likes and dislikes?

Likes: Sea, Space and Chocolait

Dislikes: Cold, Caves and Politics!


Around the Red Hills, 2011 Photo: Mei Lim


Q What do you do to relax?

Being with my family and friends. Going to see our son in Manchester and seeing his life and friends is a real joy and means I can go back to my work knowing that he is very capable, and creating his own art, he is a graphic designer.

Going off to the seaside or up onto Dartmoor to make a sandcastle or climb to the top of a Tor it blows away any cobwebs and puts everything into perspective.

Taking a homemade picnic and a flask of hot peppermint tea, to just enjoy the simple things of life.



Jilly Edwards working on Around the Red Hills,  2011  Photo: Mei Lim


Editors Note:

Check out the What's On section to find out details of Jilly’s current Solo Show at the Ruthin Craft Centre in Wales, UK.

Monday, 13 June 2011

Martin Janecky



Q. So who is Martin Janecky?

He is 31 years old glassblower/sculptor/teacher who lives in Prague, Czech Republic, working and part living in Fairbanks, Alaska, traveling and teaching all over the world :) Loving his craft.


clown red


Q. Where in the world are you from?

I’m from Czech Republic, growing up in different part’s of Czech, while we were moving from place to place with parents for they job’s in Different Glass Factories.  





Q. When did you decide to become a maker?

I don’t think I ever decided to become a maker, I just did it.  Working in Glass and making things became my life at an early age, and my unwavering desire to master the material kept me engaged in the process until it was my way of life.


Q. What made you choose the materials that you work with?

I start blowing glass in my father’s factory, I was 13 years old,.   I was never pushed into to glass, but it was always around me. When I was 13, I spent every day in his factory. As a kid,  I was most interested in hanging out there because it was like to be an member of big family.  I never questioned why glass,  once i start, i never stopped. 



Q. What other materials would you like to work in?

I must say i never have worked seriously with any other material other  that glass but I last 3 years i start to paint just for fun and relaxation also  photography; it allows me to capture small moments around me that might otherwise go unnoticed.



Q. Where do you get your inspiration from?

As you can see in my work, I loved the circus and circus theme.  It continually inspires me.  I enjoy trying to capture the movement and expression in glass; a material that is constantly moving, and can imitate a living thing.  Conversely, if there is a form that I am uninspired by, I lose interest in the material and it becomes very difficult to work on.



Q. Can you tell us a bit about your working process?

  I use a technique of glass sculpting that was developed maybe 15 - 20 years ago that combines traditional glass working techniques with contemporary tools and methods that allow me to sculpt the inside of the bubble as well as the outside. After I'm done with a rough shape of the piece i open one side of the bubble and using torches to preheat parts of the piece i start going inside the bubble and sculpt what ever I'm working on. I work from the inside as as well as on the outside. pushing and pulling the material where ever i want it to go. 







Q. What motivates you?

Just being able to do what i do better. Every time i work on some series i find new things, little techniques, Little tricks, that i trying to apply to the next thing i do and pushing the idea to reality. 



Q. Do you create your work in a studio base or a home base?

I currently make work out of a studio in Fairbanks AK, and while gaff or teaching workshops at various schools such as Penland School of Craft, Corning Museum of Glass and Pilchuck Glass School.  During the time that I am not working I  spend time at home in Prague.





Q. How do you sell and promote your work?

I am fortunate enough to be represented by Habatat Gallery in Michigan, so within the US, they are responsible for scheduling shows and selling my work. 


Q. What does your typical working day look like?

I wake up at 5.30am and get started.  I consider this the beginning of my workday because although I am not in the studio yet, I am thinking about the work I will make. Once I get to the studio, it takes about an hour for all the equipment to get hot, during that time I set up the torches and prepare for the day.  Once I gather my first bit of glass, I spend the next 4 to 5 hours making parts.  I may make the arms and head of a figure, or other smaller adornments that will complete the final sculpture.  After lunch, I blow and sculpt the main figure and attach all the components, which usually takes me another 3 to 4 hours.   After that I clean up the studio and go get some dinner. 


Q. 3 words of advice for an aspiring Craft artist/maker...

Follow Your Passion; only make things that you are passionate about, if you compromise your creativity for financial gain, or anything else, the work loses integrity.  At that point the work is nothing more than a job; difficult, non expressive, and bland. 



Q. Who is/are your favourite artist(s)/maker(s)?

there is so many but I admire the work of Frantisek Tichy (1896 - 1961), a Czech painter and printmaker.  From the artists today is sculptor Tony Cragg, painters Petr Nikl, Michal Ozibko, in glass Preston Singletary, Ivan Mares, Martin Blank.



Q. 3 likes and dislikes?

1.Art in general in any form,  good friends, life


Lazy people, long flights and bad drivers.


DSC_0098 20-17-43

Q. What do you do to relax?

When I'm at work i work all the time or i travel to teach or visit different schools and glass museums. i try to schedule my year so can spend time at home in Prague, that's where i relax, i hang out with friends, seeing music and theatre and drinking beer at the pub  "U Parlamentu” :-)