My studio is behind our house in Hollybush, a hamlet in Worcestershire on the Southern edge of the Malvern Hills. I share our home with my husband, Simon Watts, who has designed and built our earth-sheltered house. Actually, the main house is yet to be built, we currently live in one semi-completed part, which will one day be the guest area, but that is another story... You can see details here www.underthehollybush.com
Our little hillside is a paradise for us, with all the birds, animals, trees and plants we enjoy every day. Our natural world inspires me to create new work. Texture is all-important in the plant world. I am constantly surprised by the individuality of leaves, flowers and stalks even within the same plant family.
I like to achieve this in my glass. There can be an element of surprise when you lift a plate and run your hand over the surfaces - the top displays what I call a gentle roughness, like the delicate, almost furry softness of a leaf, then the underside is polished and glossy, like lacquer.
The colour palette of the Malvern hills is mostly subdued, feminine and gentle with sudden explosions of heavy, masculine colour and I like to use this juxtaposition in my glass work.
This photo of the black dish below shows what I mean: It is heavy and strong, almost exuding confidence, while the 2 little ferns with missing fronds are so gentle and delicate, almost fading, yet without them the work would be incomplete.
Another source of inspiration for my glass stems from my background. I was born and grew up in Bulgaria. Our household was always full of women spinning and dyeing wool, knitting, sewing, weaving and working with textiles. The usual fabric on my grandmother’s enormous loom was a linen and silk mix. The linen was to add durability and the silk gave the finished article its elegance. In my work, I like surprising contrasts and juxtapositions of colour and texture.
This heritage of mine can also be seen in the tiles I make. Bulgarian embroidery is full of bright colours, apparently randomly selected. The effect is explosive until tamed a little by the insertion of some quieter, gentler elements. A bit like Bulgarian history, perhaps.
Our kitchen, work in progress
The entrance to my studio, nesteled in the 680 million year old Malvern hills