Meet the Collab Maker- Gemma Truman Glass

artists Big Pixie Collab Collaboration craft blog gemma truman glass glass blowing interview makers life workspace

Good evening,
The Big Pixie Collab is just five days away now. It has been a long road getting here but the album is coming together wonderfully now!  Next up in the blog series of makers taking part we have the wonderful Gemma Truman Glass.
Gemma Truman Glass blowing
Photo credit: Matt Thomas

Tell us a bit about you!

I am a blown glass artist, with a big thing for colour. (I basically blow bubbles in molten glass to make beautiful colourful objects.) I have been doing this since 2008 and I couldn’t imagine doing anything else. I use a furnace over in Derbyshire to do all the ‘hot stuff’ and I have a studio at the Manchester Craft and Design Centre, in the Northern Quarter where I do all of my designing and ‘Cold work’ (finishing processes).

What does an average day look like for you?

My days are rarely the same,and the hours certainly aren’t. This is no 9 - 5 job I might be glassblowing, designing, emailing about, preparing for or talking about any piece of work at any point in the day/night I can fit it in. I flit between Manchester and Derbyshire a lot and many other places across the country, for work, inspiration and/or meetings. My family are spread all over the country too, so I travel about a lot for time with them.
Glass sticks rainbow colours

Collaborative work requires us to step outside our comfort zone, if you could work in a different medium what would you choose?

Paint, I think, I’ve never really thought about it. I sometimes use paint in preparation for my glass work, usually in bright watercolours, but I have recently been playing with oils, which I'm enjoying quite a lot. It’s quite strange, being a maker of 3D items to consider working in 2D, but I’d love to do more painting. mmmmmm…. this has made me think. Maybe I should be doing more painting!

What is the most challenging aspect of your work?

Not being able to make every day. Glassblowing requires a lot of big industrial kit. Because I hire someone else’s studio and furnace, I have quite limited actual hot glass making time, so I have to be really, really prepared and have all of my thoughts, ideas and planning done and ready for as soon as I walk into the hotshop. I know exactly what I will be making and how I will be making it before I arrive. My sketchbook/notebook and calendar are very important. I spend a lot of time working in these and thinking through exactly how each making day will go. It doesn’t always go to plan, but I plan for that too :)
Rainbow Glass Blown Ornaments
Photo credit: Simon Bruntnell

If you could share one tip for surviving in the small business world what would it be?

You HAVE to love it! I get to do a lot of wonderful things, and to some extent have control how I spend my days. But it is not all plain sailing, there is a LOT to do all of the time. And the whole journey is constant lesson learning. If you are aiming for a point where it will all settle down, it won’t! (sorry) Running a business is constant and in my experience does not let up, neither should it. If I didn't love doing it I could not imagine being able to carry on day to day with it. It can be and is quite difficult staying on top of everything all of the time and not always possible either. However, if you do LOVE it, you will always see it though. It is my pure Love and Passion (and a degree of stubbornness) for Glass making that gets me through the tricky bits.
Rainbow Glass blown ornaments
Photo credit: Simon Bruntnell
rainbow glass blown heart
You can find Gemma on social media here:

Check back later this week to see the magic Gemma has worked on her collaborative pieces and don't forget to sign up to the event here:

The Big Pixie Collab

Pixie out,

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