Sunday, 16 November 2008

MAKER OF THE WEEK - Amanda Glanville, The Earring Cafe

Amanda Glanville, The Earring Café

I’m a Glass Beadmaker. I like to think my beads are funky, theatrical, with a great sense of colour. They are collected in their own right as ‘objects’, used by other makers in their own work or combined by me into simple jewellery with contemporary clean lines.

One favourite living craft maker?
I can’t chose between jewellers Peter Chang and Wendy Ramshaw
Chang for his fearless use of colour and form, innovation in a material seen as throwaway (he works in plastic I work in glass – and heaven help us, glass BEADS!) and the way his jewellery leaps out of photographs with a sense of how tactile it is.
Ramshaw mainly for her stacking ring sets. They blow me away with their sense of theatre and fearless futuristic forms. They are definitely are my Desert Island Discs ‘object’ (see below!)

What one product/item do you really covet?
I would absolute love to own a Wendy Ramshaw stacking ring set for the sheer cleverness and finished-ness of having something that looks as fantastic worn as not worn. Although (and you can tell I’ve really thought about this) I would like the delayed gratification of having a section of the piece posted to me once a month for however long it takes – hopefully an endless process.

How much do you bend your 'vision' to suit the marketplace?
Working in glass I am subject to the awful temptation that the glass manufactures put in my way – new colours. As an avid reader of Vogue and Harpers I’m also swayed by the changing world of fashion so I’d say that I definitely watch both these areas and bend my work to suit the current colours. For instance I’ve got a collection of tartan and paisley beads (both catwalk themes for Autumn 2008) which both use new colours of glass – so everyone’s happy!
Generally I’m realistic enough to want my work to be affordable but unique – it’s to be worn and cherished so shouldn’t have a shelf life, but should always have that Wow factor that makes someone stop and stare at it.

How do you set about starting a new project?
I’ve got to go through a bit of agony of self doubt. I’m absolutely rubbish at bigging myself up and definitely need pressure to really condense my thoughts. I usually spend ages mulling something over with weeks to go, ignore it for a bit then rush at it when all my best ideas come tumbling out. Thanks to a philosophy course I’m doing I’m started to watch the way I work which is really interesting and not very easy! It does help to slow down and try and get in the ‘zone’, and allow the skills to almost do the work naturally, but it’s not always easy to drop the manic-Amanda-creative-rush mode!

What do you have on your pinboard?
Scraps of colour inspiration from magazine, postcards etc
Pictures drawn for me by the young daughter of a friend who lives in deepest Aberdeenshire
A cartoon from a fellow beadmaker joking about why you should never take on teenage work experience students.
Copies of invoices
List of stuff I’m running out of.
Copy of my weekly checklist – Monday morning job: make large pot of coffee and go through the different areas of work.
A brilliant card sent to me by a friend featuring the ‘self employed office party’ – worker and cat both wearing party hats and trying to photograph themselves!

What is your favourite website?
My favourite website is Fed by Birds a completely eclectic web feed which is endlessly inspiring. I think it’s maintained by a writer who has got a fantastic eye for all things magpie-ish and eccentric (reminds me of my Dad who taught me to really look for the unusual in things). I love the fact that you can visit it and discover 1920s shop window displays, surreal children’s book covers or sounds recorded on location in Brighton!

Surprising activity/hobby?
I’m very torn between the world of theatre and the world of craft, having trained as a drama teacher and being an avid (some would say anoraky) theatre goer. I suppose I’m fairly unusual in that I go to the theatre more than I go to the pub (ie at least once a week) and it’s usually something quirky in a village hall, studio theatre or a draughty weird place up a dark alley.
I sometimes muse on whether I’d choose between beads or theatre if put on the spot but as I’m married to a contemporary dancer, it would be a near impossible choice. Don’t get me started on my greatest hits theatre shows, you’ll be here all night!!

What do think are crimes against good taste & decency in art/craft/design?
Ooh there’s a very fine line in craft between the kitsch and the bloody awful. It’s all a matter of opinion, and the crafts are undergoing such a resurgence of the DIY movement at the moment we could be at the mercy of the Changing Rooms circa 1990 effect of painting a perfectly good living room purple and sticking a gold throne in there.
I’m also depressed by the ‘Cath Kidson’ school of craft pieces still being churned out. Especially when you see it being done by new graduates. Come on – the 50s housewife look has really had its day!
everything has to be coldly modernist, or stark and unfriendly but you can feel the current-ness of a really good piece of art without it seeming to date.

Most underated artist/maker?
I’ve met some wonderful makers who are quietly doing their thing locally while holding down other jobs / raising a family. There are too many of them to mention but their work jumps out at you as something really special. I’ve got a superb teapot made by someone I met knitting socks on her stall in Suffolk! These makers remind me of the really great actors who make it look effortless and raise the art to an ‘artform’. They’re all just getting on with the job, ignoring the PR and the funding opportunities, just doing what they want to do when they want to do it.

Most overated artist/maker?
Mister Damien Hirst. Too much selfconscious showbiz. Too greedy. Stick him in a garret with a pencil and sheet of paper and let’s find out what he can really do without the crowds of sycophants who surround him!

If you could exhibit in any gallery which would it be?
Top floor of the Pompidou Centre, Paris.
I last visited when I was 14 and was blown away by a combination of huge Cubist art and great views of sunsets across the rooftops. How great would a bunch of tiny glass beads be up there? I think the Parisians are cool enough to take it!

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