Welcome to Amanda J Simmons Website
About Amanda J Simmons
Amanda J Simmons is a talented artist with a long history of working in glass. Having had her work displayed at many international exhibitions, this award winning glassworker enjoys exploring unique textures and palettes in her pieces. Originally, Amanda J Simmons pursued a career in medicine and engineering, however she soon realised that her true passion lay in the field of art, and she attended Central St Martin's School of Art and Design in London, graduating with a distinction and earning her Postgraduate Certificate in Glass and Architecture. Although she left the field of biomedics behind her, her former profession has remained a strong influence in her artistic and aesthetic processes. For over a decade, since relocating to the Dumfries and Galloway region of Scotland in 2005, she has specialised in creating kiln formed glass objects.
Working Processes and Influences
Amanda J Simmons uses gravity together with the kiln's heat to form and manipulate complex pieces in glass, however what sets her apart from other artists is the way in which she uses opaque glass powders during the early stages of the process to produce a unique tonal palate and surface texture. As the firming melts the powders, the surface softens and hardens to reveal the mixing and layering of the colours that she uses. To reveal more hidden structure and to add more intricate detailing she then carries out cold working processes like engraving, grinding and cutting. Her passion for her work comes from her interest in the human emotional response to items and the way in which we are inclined to build a connection with inanimate objects. All of her work stems from this connection, whether from a colour, an emotion, music or written words, and results in a visual representation of her research and reactive responses. By manipulating heat, time, colour and mass, she aims to create elusive and complex works that feature intense patterns and colour which in turn reacts with the light.
Exhibitions and Collections
Ms. Simmons' work has been displayed at many prestigious events both in the UK and abroad. Some previous exhibits include those at Contemporary Applied Arts, Bullseye Gallery in Portland, Collect (Crafts Council), London Glassblowing, Pittsburgh Glass Centre, Bellevue Arts Museum in Washington and SOFA Chicago. In 2010, she was awarded the Crafts Councils and UK Trade and Investment Gold Award for her innovative work and, resulting from this, was chosen to teach and research in Europe and the USA. Her recent work has been based on a residency that she spent at the Lyth Arts Centre at Caithness where she was inspired by the impact on sea life of sustainable energy. Her collections are available on her website and she also has stockists in the USA and in the UK.
Whether you are interested in becoming a professional glass blower or simply have an interest in pursuing glass making as a hobby, there are many classes and courses held in the discipline all over the UK in workshops, colleges and studios. Glass blowing is the art of using a blow pipe to create an air bubble inside molten glass which can then form the shape of a vessel. Various topics are covered during these classes that will help the students to learn how to handle molten glass and how to sculpt it into the shape of their choosing.
Courses for Advanced Glass Workers
Students who have already completed a beginners course in glass blowing may find that they have an interest in developing their techniques and skills further and learning more about different ways that they can use glass in their work. All over the UK there are advanced glass blowing courses designed to widen the experience of advanced glass workers, introducing elements such as kiln firing, the Drop Out technique, sand casting, free-form sculpture, box casting and lamp-working. For those who want to obtain a qualification in glass blowing, there are a number of relevant certificates for which students can study. These include the Level 2 and Level 3 NVQ diplomas in Glass Processing. Anyone who would like to take their study of glass working to the highest level can even work towards a degree in the subject. The National Glass Centre in Sunderland offers a BA (Hons) in Glass and Ceramics that is accredited by the University of Sunderland.More