Originally trained in fine art (painting and printmaking), the sensibilities developed during these early years are still evident within her current work. Gradually gravitating towards glass through a lifetime fascination with all things transparent, translucent and reflective, in 2009 she completed a Masters Degree in Glass at the University of Sunderland.
I seek inspiration from the world around me – from anywhere. Wherever I go or whatever I do I keep my eyes and my mind open and I find that there are sources of inspiration everywhere, the world is full of them. Usually it’s something visual but not always. I then start to notice patterns that I’m inspired by in certain types of things. I examine the ‘what’ and the ‘why’, and that’s when ideas start to form. Sometimes this happens immediately, sometimes those sources of inspiration wait for ages, until some sort of tipping point moves things on to the next step.
What really excites you and gets your ideas flowing at the moment?
Shadows are a source of inspiration currently in the ‘gestation’ phase. I’m keeping an eye out for situations where very blurry shadows from things far away are combined with sharper ones from nearer objects. I’m also excited by the idea of combining moving shadows with frosted glass –shadows from nearby trees in the wind for instance, combined with film footage of shadows, and maybe layering again with sandblasted imagery on the glass surface.
The underlying inspiration, however, is light and how it interacts with objects and surfaces to create intriguing and complex two dimensional images.
Do you still use paper sketchbooks and notebooks?
I have several! I always have two paper sketchbooks on the go, one A4 and a small A6 one, although I use them less for art and more for writing notes, drawing diagrams to work out how something might be made, or making lists – things to research; germs of ideas; planning etc. My sketchbooks help me organise what I do and work things out. I also have a separate lined notebook for daily ‘to do’ lists. I do feel an urge to use sketchbooks more visually though so am thinking about that and may start drawing in them.
Why does MyIdeasBook help the development of your work?
I’m finding MyIdeasBook very useful in that it organises collections of images and notes by project or idea. In this digital age it’s useful to do this as a series of ‘books’ that can all be added to at any time. It offers an alternative to the linear chronological nature of paper sketchbooks, where notes or drawings for different projects are mixed up together but in date order, and can be hard to find at a later date. The think tool is really helping to get ideas moving and organise thoughts in a productive way towards plans and action!
How has the internet changed the way you work? Has it opened possibilities and how do you embrace these?
The internet has opened possibilities on lots of levels. It’s had a huge impact on speed of admin and communication – instant emails, internet banking etc. Of course it’s amazing as a low cost marketing tool – getting yourself out there and accessible. The internet is always my first port of call for research too – for keeping up with what’s happening in my field; market research; materials; techniques; services; finding opportunities and of course buying specialist supplies is easy online. I get nervous about a wholly cyber based life though so I still like to get out there and meet people face to face.
Do you intend to use the internet to market and sell your work?
I already use the internet to market my work. I have a website and use social media i.e. Facebook and twitter, I’ve had conversations with people on twitter who I can’t imagine making contact with any other way. I don’t see these solely for marketing to customers though, I like making contact with other creatives too. My next internet marketing project is starting an email newsletter that interested folk can subscribe to. When I get chance I’d also like to set up an online purchasing facility, but I’m not sure of the best approach as yet.
Why did you choose to use MyIdeasBook?
I thought MyIdeasBook would be useful in several ways. Collecting thoughts and developing ideas in a different manner to the chronological way of keeping sketchbooks was one. I’m interested to see if this leads to better ideas or being able to bring more of them to fruition – developing them in a more efficient way. The Think Tool was also attractive – anything to help get ideas over the rocky road to actually become something! I was also interested in the community – getting to see things by other artists, making new contacts and links. And it’s a marketing opportunity too!
You can more of Rachel’s work