Award winning glass jewellery maker now exhibiting

03 Sep 2017 11:31
Tags exhibits interview jewellery lampworking lindanewnham

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Snow Queen necklace by Linda Newnham

Award winning glass jewellery maker Linda Newnham is exhibiting some of her amazing jewellery designs at the museum. We are delighted she has chosen us as the first public exhibition of her work. I recently interviewed Linda about how she started out making glass and the things that inspire her designs - it makes for interesting reading. Additionally, she has kindly provided several pictures of her work presented here in a gallery. I am sure you will agree with me that the jewellery is absolutely stunning!


How did you start out making glass?

I actually started by making some ceramic beads after taking a workshop with a friend but found the process too long winded. Then I discovered lampworking or flameworking (that's melting glass with an oxygen/propane torch) during an open studio visit. I thought WOW! I could make my own beads in any colour I liked! I found someone who did an introductory course and never looked back!

What inspires you?

Mostly just working with the glass, seeing what develops as you combine different glass together and the way it acts when treated in a certain way, a never ending source of inspiration. But two of the competition pieces that are on display in the museum were inspired by the works of the famous glass artist Dale Chihuly. I love his work and have tried to capture the essence in miniature. The third theme of the competition was Sealife and I took inspiration from the works of Jo Downs and Tregear Pottery. My everyday jewellery designs - my bread and butter if you like - are inspired by the sea and coast that surrounds this beautiful island that I live on.

Why glass and not some other form of craft?

Glass is amazing! It is limitless how much you can achieve with it. Transparent and opaque, it reacts with itself, you can add other materials to it such as silver or gold. You can etch it to make it look like sea glass and it can be made into lots of different shapes and sizes.

How do you go about designing your necklaces and jewellery?

I've discovered that our background influences what we do in later life. I used to be a florist and make bouquets and head dresses for weddings. Can you see where this has been carried over into my glass jewellery? All of the components in the competition pieces are glass made onto a piece of wire which can be combined and manipulated the same way as real flowers would in a bouquet.

Please tell us more about your previous awards and prizes

I have won the GBUK (Glass Beadmakers UK) jewellery category of their annual competition held at Flame Off, our annual convention, held in the UK for the last 4 years. I also came runner up in the British Bead Awards in 2014.

What about past exhibitions of your work?

I've never done one!

Please tell us a little about your background

Since my Grandma taught me to knit, I've always been creating with my hands. I've already mentioned that I used to work as a florist. The job prospects weren't very good so I went to work in a garden centre. When I was 22 I was made redundant when the business collapsed. This gave me the push to start my own business. I opened a shop in Sandown making silk and dried floral arrangements. I then moved on to machine embroidery and t-shirt printing opening a second shop in Ryde. After my marriage I decided to slow down a bit and sold the business just before the recession - lucky for me! My husband and I spent a couple of years renovating his family home and then I started another online business printing funny slogans onto babies and children's clothing which I ran from home. When I discovered glass about 5 years ago I sold that business and have been working with that medium ever since.


Click on the picture to get a larger image, then Next or Previous to move between images.

Anton Doroszenko, Museum Director

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