In conversation with Jo Downs on glass fusion trends for 2023
What is new to the range for 2023?
We like to keep the galleries fresh and inspiring for our customers so the team is always creating and experimenting with new techniques and ideas. The success of the Artisan Collection, which are individually designed pieces and can be of very limited availability, has allowed myself and the glass designers more freedom to express different styles, from organic and abstract through to more illustrative art pieces. Our giftware collections continue to be very popular with the likes of Shoreline, Gwithian and Polperro being some of our most iconic. However, the Artisan pieces do have a different appeal for customers who are searching for something a little more distinctive and individual.
Where did you find your inspiration for the colours and shapes in the Artisan Collection?
The biggest influence, and by far the more inspirational, is Cornwall itself. The wonderful light, intense colours of the landscapes and coastline, the sometimes almost ethereal atmospheres in ancient locations cannot help but stimulate and inspire any creative person living here. It’s not surprising that blue tones and green hues play an important role in the fused glass designs but interior colour trends, print and pattern, textiles, ceramics, even a cloud formation or unusual sunset can spark design ideas.
Have your fusion techniques changed over the years and are there any new innovations that you have found for this year?
The basic process of fusing glass has not changed for hundreds or thousands of years. Glass fusing is defined as the heat bonding of separate pieces of glass in a kiln. It is believed to have begun over 4000 years ago in Egypt and became widespread during the Roman era. There are hundreds of techniques used to create wonderful pieces of glass art. We experiment a lot with tired and tested techniques to create new effects. Using powders and enamels, blending colourways, adding details with metals or creating texture with layering glass and frit. Some techniques work every time, others are trickier and can take hours to perfect. We have been developing different pouring and painting techniques this year which have added a new dimension to the art work.
Does the 2023 range differ from previous work and if so, in what way?
Naturally there is a certain character and style that customers have come to expect and want from Jo Downs Handmade Glass. The essence of Cornwall will always be in our glass art even when we are trying new colourways and techniques. The Artisan Collection allows us to venture into new areas and appeal to more customers. When you are buying a piece for yourself or as a present it’s such a personal aesthetic, most people are drawn to an art piece without realising why. We can therefore create beautiful pieces using all the colours of the rainbow or the depths of the oceans.
How do you feel the ancient art of glass fusion fits within a contemporary space?
Glass is timeless, tactile, sculptural and sleek at the same time. In a minimalistic space a statement glass installation or artwork can create impact and beauty. Colour and light has such an influence on how we interact with spaces. Glass can reflect and enhance a space, the opportunities are boundless.
Can you recommend which part of the new collection would fit best in varying home sizes and spaces?
There is so much variety in the Artisan Collection from our Artisan Minnows which work in the smallest room in the home or multiplied on a larger scale to create impact in a hallway or reception area. Contemporary wall panels add design elements to any expansive space or a statement feature in a cosier setting. Fold form vases can be styled with lavish bouquets or styled to suit any interior theme.