Nigel’s college was connected to the Central School of Art by a light-filled corridor. He struggled through academic study while on the other side of the corridor lay its antithesis, where he experimented with watercolour, ceramics and performance. Nigel’s glass may start as a chalk sketch on the studio floor but as soon as the process starts it changes, allowing a bloom in mass and colour. It is a real time reward, sometimes producing the extraordinary and sometimes the mundane, as all improvised art can do.
Nigel has learnt that molten glass has form and memory so, while it can be shaped, it takes on a form of its own from the outset which he strives to enhance and display. He has been focusing on large irregular platters, bowls and jugs both from the perspective of shape and colour. Although these shapes are seen all the time, have grown accustomed to them as machine accurate. The hand blown medium has given Nigel an opportunity to distort and abstract these shapes, however the teardrop shape became a particular fascination and distorting one side of the object in the semi molten state a challenge. Nigel wanted to create a recognisable design in the centre to augment the teardrop shape and settled on the rose.
Implementing any design in hand made glass is as much luck as judgement and the coloured glass which will form the design is introduced in miniature on the smallest possible glass post with a pea sized bubble inside. The design is layered and woven using trails of molten coloured glass carefully predicting their flow and chemical interaction, then buried and not be seen until the platter is spun outside the kiln using the blast heat from the open furnace doors.
The studio is based in Stroud where Nigel has became engaged in the vibrant and down to earth arts and craft scene. The breathtaking view on the edge of the village high up overlooking the confluence of the Toadsmoor and other streams is inspirational with sharp forested valley sides and Lypiatt manor in the distance.