Great glass from Amanda Simmons

The mid-range part of the market for contemporary glass can be seriously depressing for the glass artist.  The vast majority of it is very samey, with design led by the Bullseye Glass suppliers' colour palette, and can be so under priced that you know the artists is making a loss - very depressing for those of us trying to make a living from this thing.  Or it can be great design but wildly over-priced and unlikely to sell.  The Crafts Council's craft fair Origin is particularly difficult for glass artists I think - you're looking at a tricky price point from £10 to £500.  Work at the lower end of the spectrum is rather dull and the labour-intensity of glass art at the other end of the price continuum means it comes out as higher than £500.  In short, contemporary glass for the high end craft market that is both original design and an agreeable price is hard to find.  And while I have no problem with duller stuff that sells cheap or really involved technical stuff that sells at a huge price tag, I would like to see more in the middle. It would do the contemporary glass scene good in so many ways - people could learn to collect at more achievable prices, and it would up the ante in terms of great design in this corner of the market - keep us all on our toes. That's why I am so impressed with the work of Amanda Simmons. I saw her work last year at Origin and thought then that she was one of the few people who had really got this right.  I'm not surprised to see she has won a prize at this year's Origin - the Gold Award for innovation, creativity and potential to export.  Amanda's work is funky and gorgeous, imaginatively named, skilled, innovative and appropriately priced.  She uses Bullseye glass, but she is not led by the colours alone.  In my opinion last thing you should think about a piece of glass art is what suppliers someone has used - even if you know, it shouldn't be what you first think about - it would be like painters being led by the colours of paint available to them.  Amanda mixes her pallet skilfully and as a result you see the work, not the colours. She is an example to us all and I wish her all the very best as she has a go at breaking the American market, which is what she wants to do next.

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Image: Laybrinths of Love, by Amanda Simmons

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