Tony is taking part in our coming Home is a Feeling show in Faversham on 13th and 14th November.
Describe what you do as a creative.
I am a fused glass artist and I don’t have a definitive style I just go with the flow, I am quite often working on a number of pieces at the same time and often revisit something I have started years previously. Each piece of my fused art glass is carefully and lovingly created by hand starting with a sketch & developing into a workshop template. That said I do often simply start cutting, forming & shaping my glass into a piece, something I find so rewarding as you don’t know where it will go! I then fire the glass flat in my specialist glass kiln over a 24 hour period at a temperature of around 800 degrees. My bowls, dishes, figures and the free-standing sculptures are then fired a second time to ‘slump’ the glass into a mould
Tell us briefly about yourself.
My grandfather came to London from Italy early in the 20th century my family were cabinet makers and I think that’s where I get my gene for making things. With an older brother and younger sister they say the middle child can be left out I certainly enjoyed doing my own thing. Living in inner London I went to a comprehensive school alway getting into trouble, but found music at about 12 learning to play the guitar and played in a number of bands. I left school with few qualifications and many years later found that I was dyslexic, but did go to college and eventually gained my professional qualifications as a building surveyor working in the construction industry in various roles, ending my career working for a large bank in their property department. Now retired living by the sea with Jayne, I have two lovely married children and a beautiful granddaughter as well as a passion for glass.
What did you want to be when you were growing up?
I didn’t have a particular role in mind when growing up but for some time I wanted to be a rock star playing in a band traveling the world. What I did know was I wanted to work outside rather than being stuck in the office hence the construction industry. Sadly with career progression, you eventually end up driving a desk with all the pressures that brings.
How did you begin doing what you do?
I had collected glass for many years and loved to go to working glass studios watching the glass blowing with awe. I started glass making in 2008 wanted to do glass blowing but part time courses were difficult to come by. I have attended a number of different courses over the years and have learnt different techniques. With a stressful career I found coming home after work and making my glass released me and I completely forgot all my stresses, lost in my glass world.
In 2015, we moved to Ramsgate and my glass making slowed as I was busy house renovating which has incorporated some of my glass. However, late 2017 saw a new kiln delivered, I set up my home studio and my passion had been reignited, continues and hopefully will go on from strength to strength.
What turns on your creativity?
My inspiration comes from almost everything it can be as simple as seeing some fish bones, a piece fabric or even nature itself can lead to some fantastic creations. I do on occasions like to play with artists historical designs & transpose these into glass, I find inspiration almost anywhere even watching Bargain Hunt lead me to creating a series of tribal masks all so very different & hopefully make people smile. I love nothing more than to go to art galleries and see what amazing creations are out there. Living in Thanet means I can easily visit the Turner as well as so many other galleries.
What do you like best about your work?
I enjoy nothing more than working in my studio my creations are put into my kiln and if the kiln gods are favourable I am amazed by the lovely glass that is there when I open the kiln, opening the kiln is certainly an exciting moment. But mistakes happen and sometimes they are happy ones but can never be recreated. I love it when a piece of mine goes to a new home and it’s fabulous when I receive a picture of it proudly displayed in its new home.
When were you most satisfied in your work?
I have had many golden moments but when one of my pieces was on display in a home on a TV Program “Home is where the art is”.
Describe a memorable response to your work?
I love it when I have an exhibition and people come in and say “Wow! How do you do that?”
What is the most exciting part of your work at the moment?
At the moment I have been preparing for an exhibition in Bluewater Shopping centre, there are 60 artists exhibiting and I’m proud to be part of the exhibition.
What is your dream project?
I make garden sculptures mixing glass with metal, timber & concrete. I would love to make a sculpture on a very large scale. Currently, my largest is a 2m high multi flower sculpture.
Which artists / creative people are your heroes and inspiring figures?
I love Grayson Perry’s work, it’s so different from the norm. Le Corbusier is a particular favourite, his work ranges from small sculptures to iconic buildings. What more can a boy want?
Your idea of happiness
A drink in the warm evening sunshine with Jayne at the end of a busy day on a beautiful beach bliss!
What art/creativity related book should everyone read?
Le Corbusier 1887-1965 The Lyricism of Architecture in the Machine Age
Tell us a lesson life has taught you.
You learn more from your own mistakes than any tutor can teach you!
Anything else you would like to add ?
Retirement is a very busy time in my life.