We hope you’ve enjoyed our behind-the-scenes glimpse of the creative processes and inspirations of some of the artists taking part in this year’s Emsworth Arts Trail.  This week we met fused glass artist Nancy Goodens to find out what, despite the sometimes unpredictable nature of glass, she loves about the medium.

Who are you?

My name is Nancy Goodens, and my studio is at Sindles Farm, Aldsworth, near Westbourne. 

What type of artist are you? 

My current creative work is predominantly in fused glass, mostly framed/wall art but also freestanding pieces and occasionally vessels. I also draw in charcoal and pastel, and these drawings often provide inspiration for my glass pieces. 

Do you have a background in art/design – when did you first start your creative journey?  

My creative journey has been long, very varied and is still ongoing! I have a diploma and a degree in design, and after I graduated I was a paper engineer designing and illustrating children’s pop-up books for many years.

After having my two children I trained to teach, and taught textiles at GCSE and A level whilst they went through their school years.

Then thirteen years ago I started up (and am still running) Artworks, an independent art studio offering a range of creative classes and workshops. I’ve been in my current Artworks studio for about four years, a lovely old cartshed at Sindles Farm.

I make time in between busy classes and workshops to create my own artwork.

Can you describe your creative process?

I like to take my own photos, usually seascapes or skies. Then I’ll do a big pastel drawing from these, which helps me to analyse colours and simplify the image in my mind. The next stage is translating this image into glass – I utilise glass in a painterly way, layering up different coloured translucent glass ‘frit’ or granules, and on some pieces I paint features using glass enamels. The final step is firing the piece of work in my glass kiln.

What or who inspires you?

Open spaces – deep woodland, wide open seascapes, big colourful skies. I love doing skies!
We have a little cabin down in South Devon which we rent out, right on the cliffs overlooking Plymouth Sound. I spend hours there just watching the sea and the sky, which change constantly.

What do you enjoy most about the process?

Opening the kiln to see how the latest glass piece looks! The fusing process is delightfully unpredictable, and when a glass piece of mine comes out of the kiln it’s always a wonderful surprise. I’m learning more about how glass behaves in the kiln as my work evolves, but it never ceases to amaze me how versatile it really is – I love the translucency and the textures of glass fusing, so different to any other medium but still beautiful.

Can you describe your studio/workspace? 

I share my studio with a LOT of different people! Artworks studio is set up for many different workshops and classes, including fused glass, silver jewellery, drawing, and textiles. The studio itself is a large inspiring space, has loads of character with big North-facing windows all along one side. There’s a cosy woodburner in there too, really comforting in the middle of Winter. I have two large glass fusing kilns for firing student work, and this enables me to do some lovely big pieces myself.

I work on the studio tables in between classes, usually starting off on one to begin with and somehow expanding onto all eight by the end of the day!

What keeps you going whilst you work – soundtrack? Snacks? A fluffy assistant? 

After running classes and workshops most of the time, I like to enjoy peace and quiet when I’m doing my own work. Time is usually an issue, so that’s a really good incentive to finish a piece of work – knowing I have to pack up afterwards and prep for the next class.

If I listen to anything, it’s usually Ludovico Einaudi – beautiful and atmospheric.

What can we expect to see from you on this years’ art trail? 

I’ll be exhibiting my fused glass, mostly framed artwork and some freestanding pieces – lots of seas, skies and woodland; plus some of my framed pastel drawings, and greetings cards. 

As well as developing my current utilisation of fused glass materials, I’m always experimenting with new glass processes and techniques – some of which might feature in my art trail exhibition, some maybe not!

Where are you exhibiting? – What can people expect from the location?  

I’m sharing a venue at Hollybank House in Hollybank Lane with four other artists this year, which is very exciting – there will be myself showing fused glass, plus a silver jeweller, a printmaker, a paper cut artist, and two sculptors in the garden.

Hollybank House is a lovely old house with such welcoming hosts, and as a B&B and venue for weddings it’s a stunning location for exhibiting art – big rooms with tall windows overlooking the beautiful grounds, and plenty of parking with easy access.

Why did you want to take part in the trail?

It’s such a great incentive to do some new artwork! The opportunity to share my work with the wider public helps me to focus my creativity, and encourages me to experiment with new ideas and processes. The feedback from people is always so much appreciated too – kind words and positive reactions, suggestions for pieces of work, sharing ideas with other artists and makers. I came away from our Emsworth Art Trail weekend at Hollybank House last year feeling truly inspired.

What are your artistic ambitions?

I’d like to develop my work as a fused glass artist, maybe try working more on a larger scale; I’d like to promote the use of glass as a fine art medium as well as a craft material; and I’d like to continue sharing my enthusiasm for all things creative with my lovely Artworks studio regulars and new faces alike.

Nancy at her Sindles Farm studio
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