Joanne Mitchell

  • Host II (2014) Joanne Mitchell, 30x30x8cm  Photo_ C Rennie Hi Res.jpg Host II, 2014. Kiln-formed glass. Photo credit: Colin Rennie.
  • Deconstructed Being (2015)- Jo Mitchell_70x15x15cm photo C Rennie 2 -1.jpg Deconstructed Being, 2015. Kiln-formed glass, wood and glass case. Photo credit: Colin Rennie.
  • Legion (2015) Jo Mitchell - photo CRennie.jpg Legion, 2015. Kiln-formed glass. Photo credit: Colin Rennie.
  • Legion -detail (2015) Jo Mitchell - photo CRennie.jpg Legion (Detail), 2015. Kiln-formed glass. Photo credit: Colin Rennie.

What inspires me

Since exhibiting in Made in the Middle in 2002 my work has progressed from limited edition blown and wheel cut glass vessels, to a collaborative studio business making glass wall art for contemporary interiors. From there on to my current sculptural one-off works which use air entrapment in glass as a tool for creative expression.

Alongside my practice I am currently developing a new technique called 'Kiln-Controlled Air Contouring', through my PhD at The University of Sunderland. The research incorporates digital fabrication technologies and kiln forming techniques. The result is a new method of creating highly complex air bubbles in glass, with multi-faceted contours and a new level of control, clarity, intricacy and scale.

My work examines how immaterial elements can be exposed or preserved through glass. I'm exploring the concept of making visible the intangible, using air as a metaphor for thought, memory and absence in sculpture.

Making in the Midlands

The Midlands has an important place in glass art: the bi-annual International Festival of Glass and British Glass Biennale is held in Stourbridge every two years. I studied in Wolverhampton for my Masters Degree and so the Midlands had an important part in my development as a maker. In 2015 I exhibited with the Contemporary Glass Society at the International Festival of Glass in Stourbridge.

What has changed most about the crafts in the last thirty years

In the 18 years that I have been involved in the craft sector I have noticed a distinct shift away from 'studio' crafts. From designer-makers producing functional items sold through trade shows, to more cross-disciplinary work; from 'fine craft' and sculpture to public engagement, to new media and installation pieces. There are also more smaller items sold direct to the public via the internet or open studio shows.

Makers have had to diversify their practices to survive in the climate of recession and cuts to the arts. I think a change in public attitude has led to greater interest in visiting the artist in their studios and there seems to be a move towards an interest in the 'story' of an object and how it is made.