Meet the Maker: Verity Pulford
Glass artist Verity Pulford creates fused glass inspired by the forests, mountains and skies of North Wales. “It’s a wild, raw and rich landscape, which my soul feels deeply connected to,” she explains. Verity captures that landscape in glass by collaging, sandblasting, engraving and layering the glass, infusing it with different textures, colours, details of wild flowers or other found objects. We caught up with Verity to find out more…
I’ve always loved expressing myself through art, writing and creating.
Can you introduce yourself and describe what you do?
Hello, I am Verity Pulford and I’m a glass artist. I work from my home studio in North Wales. I used to teach art in a secondary school but since leaving that five years ago, I’ve been working on a body of work completely inspired by the landscape around me in this amazingly beautiful part of the country. I also work with architectural commissions and continue to teach workshops.
At its heart, craft is the extremely human activity of creating beautiful objects out of a raw material.
Have you always been creative?
I’ve always loved expressing myself through art, writing and creating. I studied art at school and college but only returned to do my degree in applied art in my late twenties. I lived in Barbados for a while with an inspiring Rastafarian woman who was a painter and this reignited my love of the visual arts. I’m passionate about other art forms as well – literature and music, in particular.
Can you tell us a bit about your background? When and how did you start working with glass?
I discovered glass while on my Art Foundation course and, although I found it technical challenging, I was hooked. The possibilities I saw were very exciting. The idea of using the medium in an alternative way was interesting to me. My degree work was conceptually, featuring interactive light boxes and installations on very personal themes.
The other magic of glass is light – it can transform the colours and make a piece glow, change its mood and come alive.
What is it about working with glass that you particularly enjoy?
The thing that is endlessly fascinating to me is the layers and how I can create so much depth and detail. I’m constantly experimenting with samples and use pieces I’ve made almost like collage, layering and remaking so they work together. The other magic of glass is light – it can transform the colours and make a piece glow, change its mood and come alive.
Wales is so beautiful. It’s a wild, raw and rich landscape, which my soul feels deeply connected too. I want to try to capture this in my work: my way of seeing.
Can you tell us about the inspiration for your latest collection?
My most recent work is directly inspired by the landscape around me: the forests, woods, mountains and skies. Wales is so beautiful. It’s a wild, raw and rich landscape, which my soul feels deeply connected to. I want to try to capture this in my work: my way of seeing. I’m also extremely interested in plants. All the plants and trees I use in my work are British and mostly wild plants and flowers. I’ve recently started bringing other inspirations into my work too, returning to my passion for literature and more self exploratory themes.
How do you make your pieces? What processes and techniques do you use?
My main process is glass fusing, using frits and enamels, but I also sandblast, engrave and layer the glass with other media such as paintings, drawings and sometimes found objects.
My main process is glass fusing, using frits and enamels, but I also sandblast, engrave and layer the glass with other media.
Tell us about your studio – where is it, what does it look like and what’s in it?
Well, that is an interesting one because we’ve just moved house and therefore I’ve moved workshops. I work from home, mainly because I have two small children and can fit my work around them but also because I’m a bit of a loner at heart, especially when I work. We’ve moved to an extremely rural, enchanted 400-year-old farm house, literally on top of a mountain. Today, my husband and I have been knocking through a massive window in my new workshop as there was very little natural light. It’s a good sized limestone-built outbuilding that’s going to be fantastic when it’s finished. I will hopefully be making again within a couple of weeks – I need to be, as I have a commission for a door panel and several large pieces to make for a trade order.
We’ve moved to an extremely rural, enchanted 400-year-old farm house, literally on top of a mountain.
My workshop is always full of old bones, stones, shells, dried and fresh plants and flowers – things I’ve collected or little gifts from ex-students and friends – as well as my children’s paintings. I’m constantly tidying it, then making a mess again. It never looks quite as cool as I want it too.
Is there anything in your studio you couldn’t live without?
Everything in there. It’s like my nest. I need to be surrounded and private in there to create.
I think the best craft is original, interesting and beautifully made.
What does craft mean to you?
Craft is a very interesting word. It can mean very different things. At its heart, it’s the extremely human activity of creating beautiful objects out of a raw material. I think the best craft is original, interesting and beautifully made. I’ve found the most interesting craft is made by a maker who is obsessed by their material, constantly refining that particular idea or process.
Who are your heroes of craft?
Glass wise, my first love was Judith Schaechter. Her work is stunningly beautiful, highly original and I think completely timeless. I also love Christian Ryan’s glass – again such a strong unique style. Other makers whose work I adore are Kirsti Brown‘s stunning and understated ceramics, Joanna Coupland’s quirky paper animals and I’ve always loved Amy Cooper‘s lights.
What’s been your proudest achievement so far?
The last three years have been really great for me. I’ve been asked to sell at some fantastic galleries, taken part in exciting exhibitions, been a Selected Makers finalist and been able to do what I love as a full-time job, but I would say the thing I’m most proud of is being accepted into The Makers Guild in Wales. I’m honoured beyond words to be part of this group of exceptional makers.
To celebrate being our featured shop Verity Pulford is offering 20% off her work with the code VERITY20. Offer valid until midnight on Sunday 15 January 2017
Picture credits: Cheshire Life Magazine, Leon Bowen and David Jones Photography.