Meet Wendy Newhofer: a glass artist making fused bowls and wall pieces. Wendy originally trained as a primary school teacher and found that working part time allowed her to pursue her interests in art. A relocation to Oxford gave her the opportunity to go back to college and undertake a Foundation in Art and Design where she first encountered kiln formed glass. Immediately captivated by the process, Wendy enrolled on a three year part-time fine art degree course. With all these experiences and knowledge, she set up a working glass studio at her home, returning to the glass which had fired her enthusiasm.
– What is your favourite thing about being a glass artist?
I work with float (window) glass and I love the fact that I can take a very commonplace material and transform it into something beautiful. My work is really very low tech – I have a kiln but no other complicated machinery or tools.
– No expenses spared, what would you make?
It would be fun to scale up my work and just make a huge glass panel based on my existing designs. At present I’m limited by the size of my kiln.
– Your work features mostly blues and yellows – are these also your favourite colours?
The colours I use are a result of the way I work. I layer float glass with metals in the form of leaf, foil and wire between two sheets and then fire the pieces in my kiln. There is a chemical reaction between the glass and metals which produce a range of painterly colours. It’s a kind of alchemy in reverse as the work goes into the kiln all shiny and metallic and comes out coloured. The blue comes from copper leaf and fortunately for me it’s a colour that I love. Most of my clothes are blue and grey!
– On your website, you say that your garden studio is a great influence on your work. Are you also a keen gardener?
Yes, I love my garden, my mother was a fantastic gardener and transmitted her enthusiasm to me. Glass making has rather taken over my life and I wish I had more time to spend gardening but fortunately the framework of the garden makes it fairly easy to maintain. I’m planning to plant my tulips next week – they’re my favourite spring flower and cheer up the garden after the winter.
– Do you listen to music while you work?
I alternate radio 4 with listening to music. I can only listen to the radio if I’m doing something that doesn’t require intense concentration or I find that I miss half of it. At the moment I’m listening to Lana del Rey, Nick Cave and Hozier continuously – my husband is a huge music fanatic and hands me albums he thinks I’ll like and he’s usually right!