Meet Donna Collinson from The Glass Florist
Donna Collinson, aka The Glass Florist, makes breathtakingly beautiful flowers that never fade. Based in Northamptonshire, she uses the ancient technique of lampworking to create individual flower stems, which she then arranges into everlasting bouquets. Here Donna tells fellow Folksy maker, ceramicist Karin Findell how she got started and what a typical day in her studio looks like…
Shop The Glass Florist on Folksy >
Hello Donna. Could you introduce yourself and tell us what you make?
Hi, I’m Donna and I’m the hands behind The Glass Florist. I handcraft flower stems from glass rods that are heated in a flame in a process called lamp working. Once molten I can shape the petals and create all different designs and styles of flowers which I fire in a kiln before arranging in bouquets for all seasons and occasions.
Your work is so intricate and delicate. How did you start working in glass?
I first discovered lampwork glass whilst away in the Canadian Rockies back in 2013. I stumbled on a little bead shop that was also running glass work classes. I decided to give it a go, and a decade on here we are! I became hooked instantly and spent the rest of my trip hitching a ride up the mountain to go and practise my skills!
What is a typical day like in The Glass Florist workshop?
The kilns take a little while to heat up before you can work with them, so they are switched on first thing and while they’re warming up, I organise the previous day’s work, making sure the right flowers are heading out to the right customers. I spend some time in the morning replying to messages, and taking photos of what’s come out of the kiln that morning. Then most of the rest of the day I spend in front of the torch, working through orders and listening to podcasts. I’m very lucky!
I love how specific the seasons are in England, and I try to tie my new designs into those.Donna Collinson, The Glass Florist
What’s your design process and what inspires you?
I love how specific the seasons are in England, and I try to tie my new designs into those. But sometimes I just fall in love with a specific vase or colour scheme and have to create something based on that inspiration! I’m also very lucky that my customers bring me ideas to expand on, or photos of their wedding bouquets, which I recreate in glass for them. I’m always being challenged to try to make something new and this helps to get the creative juices flowing!
Are you currently working on anything new or developing new techniques?
I’ve got a few big projects going on at the moment but they’re top secret for now! But aside from those I’m currently designing the spring and summer releases and being kept very busy with Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day orders!
If you had unlimited time and budget, what would be your dream commission?
I’m extremely lucky to have been commissioned to work on a dream project, which is currently in progress. However, I’m under strict instructions not to share the details on that one at this stage. Hopefully it’ll be out in the world soon!
I see you donate a percentage of what you make to a bee charity and plant trees for every purchase. Why is this important to you and would you encourage other makers to consider doing something similar?
I love nothing more than being in the great outdoors, so it was important to me to support relevant charities that align with my business and my personal ethos. There are so many deserving and necessary charities that need support, so I’d encourage anyone to donate what they can, whether they’re a maker or a customer.
Making has become a pretty fundamental part of my sense of self after all these yearsDonna Collinson, The Glass Florist
What does craft mean to you?
It started as a hobby and it’s become my career and my income. I’m very lucky to make money from something I’m passionate about. I enjoy working with my hands and find the flow of the process really calming and cathartic, as well as a way to express myself. It’s become a pretty fundamental part of my sense of self after all these years!
Shop The Glass Florist on Folksy
Meet the interviewer
The maker asking the questions this time is Karin Findell, a ceramic artist based in Cheshire, who makes beautiful stoneware pottery inspired by British wildlife and flowers.
Read more about Karin in her Meet the Maker interview – https://blog.folksy.com/2023/01/17/karin-findell-ceramics
Shop Karin Findell on Folksy >