Back at the Kaya Gallery to meet with Barbara and Kelly; the mother and daughter behind M&D glass. Both incredibly warm and hopelessly giggly; I was completely charmed by their modesty. Definitely worth staying tuned as they upgrade from laundry room to garage and bring out the bigger works!
By Connie Page
How did this all start for you?
Barbara: It started off that I wanted to buy a stain glass piece, and the chap that I was going to buy from actually said, ‘you could easily make one of these, the money that you’d be paying could be put towards doing it yourself’. So I did the glass at City and Guilds, and I did level s 1, 2 and 3. Kelly loved the fused glasswork, and she said ‘I reckon I could do that.’ She’s always been arty but never found the right avenue to go down. So Kelly did the fusing course.
Kelly: Yep, I did the course; it just covered the basics really of how to use the kiln. So then we were able to get our own kiln and then that was it, we were away!
Barbara: I was made redundant and that gave us the money to buy the kiln you see.
You work out of Kelly’s laundry room together, that sounds intimate?!
Barbara: Yes, it really is tight. We are hoping to move on though…to the garage. [they both laugh].
Kelly: Moving on to bigger and better things.
If you had the opportunity, would you like to make big pieces of work?
Together: Oh yeah. Yes we would.
Kelly: It’s the cost of the kilns really; to do the large pieces you need a kiln that costs around £10,000. So it’s a massive investment.
I noticed that you have named your current kiln ‘Kitty’, is there any special significance to that?
[They chuckle together again]
Kelly: No not really. We have a close friend, Sue, who does glass as well. She named her kiln and said that we had to do the same. I have to admit; Kitty was just the first thing that came into my head! She talks to hers too.
Do you talk to Kitty?
Together: Unfortunately yes!
Kelly: You have to because she asks you question….well she doesn’t ask you!….but when your working through your program you have to chose what you want to ramp up, what temperature to use, and you just say it out loud.
Do you ever find tensions rise as you are working in such a small space together?
[They look at each other and agree]
Barbara: No we don’t really. Kelly is definitely the artistic one, so I go with her because I know her eye is good.
Kelly: And then you say whether it can be done or not don’t you?
Barbara: Yes and it’s really rare that I will say ‘ooh, I don’t like that’. I mean, we found with the little hearts that we make that they weren’t really what we wanted to be doing, we wanted to be making big stuff, but one gallery asked for them and they just flew. Now we cant keep up with them!
Well that’s great to have that demand, but do you find that it’s slightly frustrating creatively?
Barbara: Well we just feel that they are our bread and butter, which always enables us to buy more glass.
Kelly: And we are going to get another kiln, which will mean that we will be able to produce more. At the moment we don’t get the chance to stockpile so that we can make other stuff. Id rather it was that way than not selling anything at all!
Barbara: We keep thinking it’s going to stop and that it’s just a phase.
But, you’re doing so well. Norman Holmes, here at the gallery clearly has a lot of belief in your work…
Barbara: Yes, it was Norman that first sold one of our waves. He had it in the shop window actually.
Kelly: And we used to drive past it every day and get all excited!
Much of your work is influenced by nature; do you think that will continue?
Kelly: Yes, I think so. Autumn was supposed to give us that chance to start working with trees, but it’s just been so busy. We’ve not had the time to move on to the next thing.
Barbara: Yes, our problem is not ideas; our problem is that we can’t move fast enough.
How much time to you spend in your studio?
Kelly: Every day.
Barbara: Yes, every day.
You are clearly a very tight unit; do you feel the rest of your family ever feel left out?
Barbara: Well the eldest granddaughter, Georgina, said that when she leaves school and she’s been to university, she wants to come in on it as well, so it will be M&D&D…or G&M&D.
Kelly: And dad does all of our wooden blocks and stands, he makes them out of reclaimed wood. So it is a family venture really.
What can we expect from you both at the Kaya Show and sale this Saturday?
Kelly: Well, whatever we can manage to pinch back for all the galleries before then! We will definitely have some of the smaller pieces, the hearts and the dishes because they would make lovely Christmas gifts!