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Grandmother's love of embroidery leads to Hampshire glassmaker's unique pieces



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I first met Kingsclere artist Julie Smith nearly 30 years ago, when she came to teach machine stitching and design at Newbury's Arts Workshop, where I was then director, writes N2 arts editor Trish Lee. She was then in the early stages of experimenting in computer aided design.

Julie now works with fused glass and patterns inspired by nature, but her introduction to the craft came by a circuitous route.

She had inherited a love of embroidery from her grandmother and developed expert skills in stitch, textiles and design, teaching these subjects at City & Guilds level for many years.

Bowl blue tree 2021 Julie Smith
Bowl blue tree 2021 Julie Smith

Elements of the City & Guilds design course could be applied to any craft medium, and a project on transparency led Julie to study glass and it its properties – she was then hooked.

Using CAD, Julie creates abstracted images of leaves, trees and other natural forms. These are printed onto special transfers, which are used as background layers for her richly-coloured glass. Firing a glass bowl or sculpture in a kiln, where the glass melts and flows at high temperatures, means that the finished result is unpredictable and each piece is unique.

She says: “The whole process of inspiration, design and experimentation through to the finished piece is something I enjoy whether in either embroidery or glass”

Stream inspired by leaves floating down a stream
Stream inspired by leaves floating down a stream

Julie is currently experimenting with a technique for creating swirling patterned pieces from recycled glass.

You can enjoy images of her work on www.madeinthehood.co.uk/Julie-Smith

Bowl, red
Bowl, red
Stream dish, inspired by leaves floating down a stream
Stream dish, inspired by leaves floating down a stream
Bowl, turquoise
Bowl, turquoise
Julie Smith's stencils
Julie Smith's stencils


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