Heather Gillespie Friday 15 Jun 2012

Being brought up by the seashore gave glass artist, Heather Gillespie, an understanding of the ocean, how powerful it can be and what it provides for us.

Holding over a million baby oysters in her hand at a local Mussel and Oyster farm in Cumbria, Heather had the chance to see how these creatures are bred for the mass market in France. The resulting work, the ‘Rope Grown' collection is influenced by the fishing trade and the impact it has on our environment.

Seeing mussels and oysters being grown on coconut handmade rope gave Heather the inspiration to create this body of work, another driving force was the desire to make people aware of this sustainable way of sea fishing.

The texture of the oyster shell is unique, robust and in some species they may even produce beautiful pearls. Looking at these unique shells and studying the inside and outside patterns became the inspiration for Heather's glass cutting and engraving. Using less engraving then her previous work, Heather took on board the simplicity of nature and the forms and shapes it provides.

Image copyright: Tas Kyprianou

designer biog

Heather Gillespie

After graduating from Edinburgh College of Art in 2006, Mr. Peter Rath, part owner of the prestigious glass company of Lobmeyr in Vienna nurtured my skills and potential in glass and acted as my mentor for a year. In Senov I spent my time studying glass techniques, refining my skills and perfecting the craft of copper wheel engraving, which I adore. Copper wheel engraving is a satisfying and rewarding process but there are only a handful of engravers in the U.K. who are practicing this craft, producing exquisite work. Copper wheel engraving is a 16th century technique, which I like to bring into the 21st century with my contemporary approach. In 2008 I was selected for the Next Move scheme, which was run by the Crafts Council UK. I was placed at Wolverhampton University where I was artist in residence, here I made work and began to develop my career as a glass designer and maker. Since returning to Cumbria I have grown even fonder of the unique beauty of this part of the world. The mountains, valleys and lakes are truly spectacular; this scenery has recently become the inspiration for my new collection of glass.