Think glass and your first thought is windows, but what Alison Purdy loves about it is that it can be both functional and decorative.
“I just love the colours of glass and what it can add to a room,” she says.
“Depending on the light it can change a room, the ambience and the feel.”
Alison started her business Purdy Glass 21 years ago and went full time with it in 2003.
“I can’t believe I am celebrating 21 years in the business but it never occurred to me that I would do anything else but work with glass,” she explains.
“When I left college I knew I wanted to start on my own but I didn’t have tens of thousands of pounds worth of equipment so I worked with other glass companies alongside my own work.”
Her passion for glass came when she did a foundation degree in art and design, as part of this Alison was able to sample a range of different mediums and techniques from photography to ceramics, and it was here that she first started to work with glass.
“I instantly took to it and when I went to the University of Staffordshire I knew I wanted to specialise in glass design,” she says.
In recent years Alison has added mirrors to her work as she says it is basically glass with a silver backing.
“I look at mirrors like a blank canvas,” she reveals.
“At the moment I am doing a lot of photo mirrors featuring newborns, wedding pictures or a loved one. The people pick the colour and design and I get the photo printed on special glass and include in the piece.”
The mirrors are also good for the ready to buy pieces from Alison’s website where people can just pick the colour and design they like the look of, rather than the bespoke orders.
“The bespoke are good as they give me the chance to do something different, but can pose a bit of a challenge as well sometimes,” she explains.
“Some people know exactly what they want, whereas others you need to talk to them and we go through my portfolio to get a better idea.”
Living in Hastings it is not surprising to hear that much of Alison’s inspiration comes from the Sussex coast and landscape of the county.
“I use a lot of fishing boats and beach huts, there is also Steven Seagull who I feature quite a lot on my pieces.”
Alison is also incorporating her home town in other ways.
“I have started to use salvaged wood from Hastings pier,” she enthuses.
“I did an exhibition there last year.
“The wood is really interesting, I had joists with interesting designs features like rusty nails and things it just adds more character.”
The smaller pieces can take Alison an hour to create while the larger ones may take a few days.
Describing as featuring ‘clean lines’ she describes her passion for her art form.
“I love the way light bounces off a mirror and how that can add to a room,” she says.
Glass and mirrors are usually overlooked as decorative pieces and more as something you place in a room because you want something to check you reflection or a window to look out of.
But Alison’s pieces are much more than that, each one brings interest to a room and adds a nice touch when the piece isn’t being used.