The old world of Britain runs in my veins. The whole of my adult life has been shaped by my determination to live in the countryside and to discover its ancient magic. Today most of my work is influenced by the Herefordshire countryside around our home, the orchards, the hills, the woods and all the plants, birds and animals that grow and live about. The seasons provide us with an ever changing abundance of colour and sights. Even in winter when the short gloomy days can be depressing there is the beauty of the naked trees to admire and the moonlit night to enjoy as early as five o’clock! Working with glass has really helped me appreciate and be inspired by these things.
However, my work is not only about, and inspired by, the physical nature of the world around me. I am also drawn to the world of myths, fairytales and our ancient connections to the landscape. This is to me the invisible tapestry that weaves and links us to our rural ancestry. I have often referred to this as our hidden memories but from the enthusiasm I meet when showing my work I now realise that it is as real for others as it is for me. This melting pot of influences is, to me, the magic of our existence, and when working I try to imbue even the smallest of pieces with a sense of this.
My final source of inspiration comes from the glass itself. This is a material with alchemical qualities and mystery of its own being neither a solid nor a liquid as we would normally understand them. It is produced from fairly base materials which are finely crafted whilst molten, and the final product is clear yet solid, bright-shining but coloured like the rainbow. It is a material that has been used in different forms for celebratory, spiritual and magical purposes since it was first discovered over a thousand years ago.
When I painted my first hare a few years ago I had no idea of the connection I was making and the relationship I was forming! So many people are drawn to the hare and I am often asked why so much of my work contains hares. I think it could be because the hare embodies all those aspects of nature that we want to believe in, that it is wild, clever, bold and free.
However, the hare has also long been associated with many myths and folklore, witchcraft and shapeshifters and in a way represents the female spirit of nature just as the green man represents the male energy of nature. I think that we all have a need or desire for a spiritual connection and yet we have become alienated from the major religions of the world and somehow the hare sparks something off in peoples’ minds.