Meet: Kathryn – Lazy Daisy Glass
How long have you been making your work and how did it all begin?
I have been working with glass since 2003. When I first moved to Scotland, I came across a stained glass workshop who were running classes, so decided to join. I had always wanted to work with glass and this was an ideal opportunity. I continued my weekly classes and, one year later, decided to buy my own equipment and set up my own mini studio at home. I thoroughly enjoyed working with glass and attended local craft events. I even had some commissioned windows to make and instal from people who had seen my work at the craft fairs. Unfortunately, less and less people were buying stained glass and decided to hang up my solder iron. My true passion was fused glass, but could never afford the equipment! When I fell pregnant with my daughter, I decided to give up the ‘office job’ and become a full time mother, but also had to do something for both our sakes! Having attended a short glass fusing course in Aberdeenshire in 2006, I caught the glass fusing bug. With my maternity money, I invested in my first kiln in 2007. I bought some books and started experimenting.
What processes & techniques do you use in your work?
My glass work is made in my kiln. I invested in a large flat bed kiln last year and it’s a great piece of equipment. The firing process takes at least 26 hours; glass is slowly heated to about 800 degrees, held for 10 minutes, then the glass is cooled very slowly (called the annealing stage). It is very important to heat and cool glass slowly, otherwise you can be left with some disappointing results; fractures, or it can even shatter. The most important part, is the annealing – cooling slowly to relieve the internal stresses. Annealing also adds to the glass durability, making it stronger. There are many techniques in glass fusion – slumping, draping, casting, kilncarving. One of the most common is slumping, a technique of shaping glass either into or over a mould. Another technique I use is kilncarving, a simple way of creating patterns in glass. The patterns are created by cutting shapes out of ceramic fiber paper, placed under the glass, then firing. Once cooled, the paper is thrown away and the glass has the indentation of the paper, but the surface remains smooth and flat. Tac fusing is also another technique to use if you want to create dimension to your work. By setting the kiln to a lower temperature, you can literally ‘tac’ the pieces of glass together, keeping its dimension, but the surface of the glass obtains a nice smooth shine. This is also called ‘fire-polishing’.
What are you inspired by?
I create a lot of waves and items connected with the sea (I was a water baby, maybe that’s why!!). I love curved forms and creating them. Ideas just pop into my head and I have the urge to make them there and then. Most of the time they get to go into my design book, but sometimes I create items, they sell and I don’t get a chance to photograph or log them. Luckily, glass comes in many beautiful colours, so creating vibrant pieces is not hard. I love creating colourful and funky pieces. I often have so many ideas in my head, but it’s just having the chance to experiment.
Do you have a work space or studio? What is it like?
When I first started, I was like most other people, working from a spare room in the house, which then leads to another room, then another!! But you soon find, that your ‘stuff’ takes over, and having a child around, is not a good combination. My hubby built a studio two years ago and I just love my space. I can now close the door and switch off. And it doesn’t matter what mess I have left as it doesn’t interfere with our living. It is a large working area, with two long work benches on either side, my kiln sits in an alcove and the toilet is yet to be installed. I have plenty of cupboard space and some wall shelves (but could do with some more). I also have two windows, which lets in a good amount of natural light too.
Where can people buy your work?
I sell from my website (www.lazydaisyglass.co.uk), Swanky Maison, and a list of stockists are available to view on my website.
How do you promote your work?
I attend a lot of local and outdoor events all over Scotland, as well as trade shows; selling direct to retailers. I use social media sites too, promoting my work and what I am doing on the likes of Facebook (www.facebook.com/lazydaisyglass), Twitter and my blog (www.lazydaisyglass.blogspot.com) – however, it does take many hours of internet marketing, but I also enjoy it. I have also joined 4Networking, Elgin branch and this has lead to commission work (as well as a social side), and recently joined the Highland Business Womens Club, again a mix of business and social. By joining these networking groups, my business name is getting out there and I am also supplying two more shops (so far).
What goals do you have for the future?
My daughter is now 3 years old and is becoming more independent. This allows me greater time for the business. I would like to get to a stage when I don’t have to work so many hours (which are always weekends and evenings). Once my daughter is at school, I will of course be able to dedicate my day time hours to my business (not that I’m wishing time away with my daughter – I love being a mum!!), but at the moment I’m having to juggle the two. I would like to gain more stockists, increasing my presence in England (not just supplying in Scotland). Perhaps the additional hours could also be spent on creating one-off gallery pieces. Being known in galleries would be great.
What advice would you offer to someone thinking about turning their craft/art into a business?
It’s hard work and you have to be very dedicated. Money will not come to you easily, so you have to be prepared to spend hours marketing and getting your brand/product out there. You also have to love what you do, because it will not make money instantly! It’s taken me three years of hard work (and still not in profit), but I have also invested in a lot of equipment (kiln, ringsaw, grinder etc).
A few of your favourites (just for fun)….
Person: Daughter, followed closely by my fantastic hubby (love them both to bits)
Food: Everything, but especially cornish pasties, indian, mexican, chocolate
Website: I do not have one particular site, there are so many great blogs that I read and wouldn’t want to offend anyone!
Thanks for sharing your work and a bit about your life with us Kathryn, it has been great getting to know more about you!
I LOVE Kathryn’s curved slumped red/orange piece at the top of this interview – Can you believe it took 50 hours of kiln firing!!
Kathryn is currently hosting a giveaway on her blog, hop over there now for your chance to win a special Valentines gift for your loved one!