Here's some information about Amanda Simmons' rather fabulous and unique glass work. The image below depicts the Mad Hatter's Toxic Tea Party range... scrumptious!
" I make kiln formed and cameo engraved glass vessels from my studio in Corsock. I’m fascinated by the structures I can create using gravity whilst the glass heats in the kiln, the vessels becoming more complex as I experiment with the slumping method using custom hand-built suspension moulds. I’ve worked with glass for the past 10 years, graduating from Central St Martin’s School of Art & Design in London with Distinction studying Postgraduate Certificate in Glass & Architecture, before re-locating to Dumfries & Galloway in 2005.
The work I make incorporates many processes, including mould making, kiln firing, coldworking (working with diamond tools to shape and smooth) sandblasting and mark making the glass with diamond point engraving and a diamond wheel lathe. I construct the glass using layers of colour, mostly opaque glass powders. My aim is to create complex, elusive work that has intense colour and pattern which reacts to the light it is placed in.
Recent work I have made comes from a residency at North Lands Creative Glass in Lybster (with Steve Klein and Richard Parrish, sponsored by Bullseye Glass).Looking intensely at patterns in dykes across the fields, local seabird life and found objects in the harbour at Lybster in Caithness, a direct contrast to the pastoral rural life in Dumfries and Galloway."
The story behind the Mad hatters Toxic Tea Party…
"My first degree was in Biomedical Sciences, specialising in Pharmacology and Toxicology and then I spent 8 years in operating theatres around London as a clinical perfusionist (running the heart/lung machine for cardiac operations, taking over the oxygenation and circulation of the patients heart whilst the surgeon repairs it). The first Toxic Tea Party I made looked at the way we have used toxic plants as medicinal drugs and was highly influenced also by the light turquoise colour we wore in theatres. In the new version I was inspired by one of Wendy Ramshaw’s pieces ‘The Red Queen’ to make a tea party set for Alice and the Mad hatter. I used predominantly grey glass powder to represent the toxic Mercury (which is reported to have sent the hat makers mad) and pink and white powders for Alice."