Hide and seek
Sarah tells her story about how she became a Glass Maker and where that passion began!
Reflecting on my life from growing up in Saudi Arabia with my family to where I am today, my childhood was a journey of adventure, cultural upbringing and seeking the opportunity to discover endless possibilities. As a keen traveller on a trip to Barcelona, it was at the Sagrada Familia that I remembered recognising my sudden admiration for glass. I was, and still am to this day, overwhelmed by the essence of how powerful the colour and light was, reflecting in all directions and onto myself which emotionally captured my attention to start to feel incredibly excited as a creative individual. Living locally in the North East region I ended up visiting the National Glass Centre for the first time in the summer of 2011. I was booked onto a glass blowing bauble experience with the hot glass team based in the old hot shop studio before the centre went under redevelopment. From this experience, the admiration I felt for glass in Barcelona returned back and with the chance for me to have the confidence within myself to pursue on a career path within the creative industries and so I ended up with my first ever hand blown glass bauble.
I began my BA honours in glass and ceramics at the University of Sunderland in 2012. Whilst undertaking my studies I have progressed through a volunteer at the National Glass Centre, to becoming both a student and a regular staff member. The realisation occurred to me seeing the perspective from both sides of the fence if you like, doing my job in the public eye then working away in our studio department with artists, academics and students exchanging knowledge and inspiration based in the exact same building. With limited window light, I work from morning until night in enclosed spaces, at my desk seeking inspiration, drawing and testing through the making process, using it as a place to think over endless cups of green tea. It is seeking the unknown, from the moment you open the kiln, ideas are generated, excitement builds along with the reality of working with the materials itself. When work cracks that’s when you really need the herbal tea! Together we are a family inspired by one another, a community of makers working independently but also with one another, filled with a curiosity to seek opportunities and make ideas happen. What appears to be a cold looking environment is actually filled with huge amounts of vibrancy, warmth and laughter through building strong relationships with others, who are like minded, passionate and unique in their own right. This is what inspired me to stop hiding away and start using glass and ceramics to be able to teach and communicate ideas with others. The irony is we work so closely to the public side of the National Glass Centre, whilst visitors enjoy a relaxing of coffee we are only next door working away, but we are not made aware to others. My job here, my studio practice and personal aspirations all interlink with one another, to be able to share my experiences and passion for working with people in our community. From my very first visit here blowing a glass bauble, I have shown the willingness and enthusiasm to grasp hold of such valuable opportunities, finding myself now doing less of the hiding and more seeking the potential for a very bright future.
A group of people including artists, former industrial glass workers, students and collectors, all made digital stories about glass.