Elaine Sheldon – Reflections on materials, process and space

Functional objects often inspire me . . . the object could be a clip, a milk bottle, a fastening.

My workspace is important to me . . . this table and lamp represent the type of workstation where I draw and make models, working through my ideas.  My workspace allows me to work things out using my hands and to surround myself with models and prototypes and bits and pieces to ponder.

For me glass doesn’t really have an inert state, even in the furnace it is moving.  The way I work with glass allows for surprises.  I usually only try to control part of the objects form, allowing the rest of the piece to inflate freely.  I have an idea in my mind’s eye how the resulting piece will look; this gets drawn in my sketchbook so that Dominic Cooney (who often blows the glass for me) knows what I’m trying to achieve.  Usually the glass behaves how I expect it to, but not always.

I get happy and excited when something wonderful or unusual is made in the glass workshop.  I sometimes have a little dance around.  The glassmaking process is very physically demanding and I am totally physically immersed in making the piece, working in partnership with Dominic (2 people are required to make most glass objects).

I am usually seated sometimes at a table making models using a range of things paper, electrical components, plaster, balloons, cocktail sticks . . . I like the space to be white and I like a shelf to put models, interesting things and prototypes on.

I am rarely 100% happy with anything I design or make, occasionally I am.  I know then that the piece is finished. Everything else is work in progress.


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