Amanda Glanville makes beautiful colourful lampworked glass beads in wearable jewellery designs and mini fascinators. Amanda trades as The Earring Café.
At what age did you know you wanted to become an artist / maker?
I've always been torn between the performing arts and visual arts, so straight from University in the 80s, I aimed to get my 'dream job' in the theatre, quietly beavering away making jewellery in the wee small hours. Being a natural night owl, this wasn't all that hard!
I've always used beads in my work and years before the whole retro / recycling vibe became trendy, I was using antique beads in my work, and found myself specialising in Victorian and early 20th century glass. A chance ad in Crafts magazine about a one day glass beadmaking workshop in the wilds of Lancashire got me stated on my lampworking path. My interest in millinery was sparked by necessity - I've short hair and wear specs and was going to a wedding - most fascinators are too big. Again I'm mostly self taught but did a fantastic fabric dyeing and constructed textiles course with Bridget Bailey and really need to spend some Me time playing with fabrics.
Is being a an artist / designer your only job?
My 'bar job' is working in the Box Office in the Arts Centre where I got my original 'dream job', which was a bit weird at first, but is actually really fun. I also work on the occasional freelance arts marketing / copywriting contract for performing arts and village hall touring..
If you could be anything else what would you be?
Probably a copywriter, and if I was to be really hard-headed about it I'd be a commercial copywriter rather than working in the impoverished arts!
One favourite living artist / designer?
Wendy Ramshaw. Fantastic how her career just keeps developing. And I've always been completely knocked out by her stacking rings.
One favourite historical artist / designer?
Oooh, tough one. Probably the unsung heroes who designed Queen Elizabeth I's dresses and jewels,
Who / what has had most influence on your work?Winston Doull, the South African German-based beadmaker with whom I had my first beadmaking lesson.
What is the most interesting / fun job you have had?Working on window displays for The Body Shop in it's glory days in the late 80's was really fun, but I'd have to say you can't beat working for yourself. It can be frustrating because you have to keep bread on the table but it's worth it for those rare times when you're designing 'in the zone'. Also, for me, it feels like I've found my 'tribe' when I'm in the presence of Designer/Makers - we all talk the same lingo, and we may moan a lot, but we're definitely a 'tribe' that's much misunderstood!
What is your most prized item of art / design / craft?
Oh crikey, I've got a huge collection of glass beads by some really amazing internationally-renowned designers - some of which are technically astonishing, others have been made by complete beginners and are fantastic despite their imperfections. I think my favourite would be a flying saucer complete with alien, made by Paddy Bush (Kate's brother!)
What item of design / craft do you covet most?A Wendy Ramshaw stacking ring set. Any colour / size. I'm not fussed!
Last book / film that blew your mind?I've recently discovered Haruki Murakami (I've usually got at least 3 books on the go at once, but he made me put down the other two). I can't wait to read his latest.
What are you listening to? I'm not great at keeping up with music so when I'm beadmaking I usually have Tom Robinson's 'Fresh on the Net' on the iPod to blitz myself with loads of new bands. I keep the iPod way out of reach so I can't easily turn it off!
I've always been pretty eclectic in my musical tastes, so happy to listen to anything except wail-y opera.
I always like to catch Nihal's Radio 1 show too. I stumbled on the show when it used to be on early Wednesday evenings, and the Asian/drum and bass/ ramped up bhangra stuff really floats my boat. And like most makers, good old Radio 4 is usually on (although I jump ship when Moneybox, You and Your's and Quote Unquote loom).
How many hours do you waste on the internet each day?
Varies. As a Night Owl, it often expands into the wee small hours, but I'd say 3-4.
If you could live anywhere, where would it be and why?
I'd have a house at Godrevy Point in Cornwall, one on the Isle of Lewis near my mate Annie, a bolt hole in London theatreland and another in Edinburgh for the Fest! No pressure!
Where and what is your studio?I rent a space in a friend's house (in her conservatory) where the melty glass stuff happens. It's on the same street where Edith Holden wrote Country Diary of An Edwardian Lady so you get a massive amount of varied wildlife, in a semi urban setting. I was once distracted from an important commission by a family of foxes playing by the pond!
I've also got a 'Beadroom' at home where I beaver away on designs muttering to myself.
Three words that describe your feeling of doing your work?
Often surprised (and) delighted
Chips or mash?
I wouldn't be a true Glanville if I didn't say chips with far too much vinegar!
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