In our ongoing Meet the Maker series we get to know the colourful and whimsical glass creations of Moriath Glass and learn what inspires her unique and vibrant work.
How did you first get into glass?
I've always worked for myself - painting onto wooden clocks, boxes and stools, then glass bowls and goblets, and realising gradually that I wanted to create something more permanent with colour and glass. Leaving Aberystwyth University with an English degree obviously meant that I would end up on a Welsh hillside with a kiln!
Are you self-taught or did you study?
It was Eiryl George, who now runs ArtsCare next door to Origin on King Street, who sold me my first small kiln nearly 20 years ago. I bought a box-load of glass from Cardiff, a couple of good books, and set about experimenting. My jewellery range stemmed directly from this creation of small test pieces. Then I bought a bigger kiln, more glass and found that I was obsessed. It's been a long journey - whilst raising two daughters - but I think learning through your mistakes is the best way to really get to grips with a material. Many people ask if I run workshops and I might one day but I feel as though I'm still learning myself!
What inspires your work?
Well just look at where we live! Wales is so diverse in habitat that I'm constantly seeing new vistas opening up. I love the high places, wandering the hills without seeing another living soul, watching raptors rule the skies. I love the skyline, the boundary between the earth and the air. The Preselis, the Beacons and Snowdonia are constantly calling me, as does the coastal path around Ceredigion. My camera is always with me - not just to capture the grand sweep of hills but for that certain light or colour mix that will be reflected in a later work.
What do you most like about the medium?
Glass is amazing! I obviously love the light, the colours, the glossiness of it. It's the way you can try and mould it to your bidding, but it will have the final say in how a piece emerges from the kiln. It will have the last laugh! Even so, or because of this, I'm always excited to open the kiln lid after a firing and see what's happened. There's an immediacy to kilnworking with glass - there can be a random, organic quality to the layering of colours and inclusions that I love. Yes, you have to wait while the kiln fires and cools - which does test my patience sometimes - but on a good day when the glass is cutting well and the powders are flying there's nothing to beat it.
What's your favourite piece and why?
I guess many makers will say it's their most recent piece, or the one they're currently working on, and it's the same for me. My favourite piece right now is a curved panel featuring a flying bird using real wings to print onto the glass and incorporating other pieces of printed glass. I'm also working with firing whole wings into the glass which is fun. Anyone who knows me will agree that I have a thing for feathers and feathered things!
Any new genres, mediums or techniques to explore?
Well, aside from the wing thing, I want to explore patterns in glass, texture and layering, powder mixing - basically everything. i just need a few more hours to each day.
Any advice to someone aspiring to the medium?
Nothing beats experimenting. I know kilns can be expensive so maybe try a couple of workshops (watch this space?!) and if you feel a compulsion to cut glass, follow it. You can get small table-top kilns, you don't have to dive in the deep end right away. And if you do start making I always advise new makers to do the craft fair circuits - it's essential to get feedback from people who aren't family or friends, and it will give you a feel for whether you're on the right path with your work. Most of all, enjoy it!
What's the future for your glass? Any new ventures?
More kilns, more glass, more time - and maybe a few workshops?
How can people keep up to date with you and your work?
Call into Origin! My shelves there will be filled with recent work and little experimental designs.
My online webshop currently has a sale of some end-of-range panels!