My name is Kathy. I live in Helensburgh in Scotland. It’s northwest of Glasgow, on the banks of the Clyde. From here, you can drive ten minutes to Loch Lomond in all it’s glorious midgieness, and you can see Ben Bouie, a hill/mountain (it’s a hill) from our house, when it’s not covered in clouds.
Like many people I’ve always enjoyed making things. My mum sewed when I was little, and I spent many childhood weekends turning the living room into a gluey, thread-covered, paper maché nightmare. I wanted to make the latest thing that I’d seen on Art Attack or Blue Peter (showing my age now…) and I’d try, make a mess, and then give up and move onto something else.
As a teenager deciding what to ‘do with my life’, I had to choose whether to pursue a creative education or a scientific one. In the end, I figured, I could always learn the creative stuff later but I probably wouldn’t be able to do that with the science. So I went to university to study Natural Sciences, and following that, did a PhD in Geochemistry (if you’re suffering with insomnia, you can read my thesis here).
I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease in 2009, halfway through my thesis, and I realised that the jet-setting, continent-hopping life of an Geologist/Academic wasn’t realistic, and I needed to find jobs that I could do from home. I spent a winter tutoring GCSE and A Level Maths and Physics, and began selling little handmade purses at local fairs. After that, I discovered Papercutting, which I did for a while and really enjoyed. I am quite a practical person, and love making things that have a function, as well as being pretty. I tried putting my papercuts inside pre-made coasters and keyrings but it wasn’t enough; I wanted to actually MAKE the whole thing. That was when I discovered glass fusing, and my aim was eventually to make fused glass dishes and coasters with papercuts inside. I bought a microwave kiln and messed about and that was it, really. I was hooked by the beauty and dimensionality of glass, how you can see ‘inside’ it, how light moves and works with it.
Fusing is great, but it wasn’t long before I discovered glass beads, and caught the lampworking bug. Luckily, fusing and lampwork aren’t mutually exclusive, and I now use my lampwork skills to make murrine for fusing designs.