Artist & Engineer

Will: I’ve known Johnny for 24 years, most of the time as a poor drinking companion, because he hasn’t had the practice. A few years ago, Johnny was at a loose end as his contract was coming to an end, and he jokingly asked if I wanted a hand. Looking at his soft fat fingers I couldn’t possible imaging why I said yes. BUT….. he’s only gone and fallen in love with glassblowing and we have a great time, bizarrely whether, sweating our proverbials off making baubles and putting huge amounts of money in a swear box, or dreaming.

Over the years Johnny’s engineering background has fused with my artistic lopsidedness to create a collaboration. So far I think our greatest collaborative achievement are these lights.

I love that Johnny has pushed me out of my comfort zone, making Egyptian glass using donkey dung, blacksmithing, talks on white water rafting down the Zambeze, revisiting old cliches and throwing everything into the melting pot and then watching it all swirl round, generally, with a silly hat on.

Johnny: After three days Will complained that I had asked more questions than all his other assistants over the years added together. It took me a month to realise there is no simple answer and working with hot glass is a fluid ever changing process. For an engineer – this was so far out of my comfort zone, I was on another planet. The surprise was physical coordination plus multitasking linked to a massive dose of the unknown. I can generally stump Will with the comment ” Don’t answer this years questions with last years answer “

My experience and passion for sailing has been the only useful skill I bought to the workshop, with multi faceted, ever changing variables demanding a need to learn quickly. My music taste and banal comments about process were generally ignored until we decided we both wanted lights for our own homes, and suddenly that degree in electrical engineering came to the front. Plus Will hates going up ladders and regards electricity as a dark art.

Will & Johnny: From the back, in the dark (which is why we need lights) it can be difficult to tell these prop shaped fatties apart. After a year of dieting the sum total of weight loss stands at 3.5kg. But you will know it is them by the volume, the bickering and the fact that they are always moving forwards, never satisfied and still trying to make the next piece better than the last.

Apparently we need to make two….