With the experience I had had over Edinburgh College of Art days, scholarship to Pilchuck and going away with uni friends to Malaysia, I came in to final year full of inspiration and ideas to make.
Pilchuck offered me advanced possible techniques and Malaysia offered me visual stimulation.
Focus was to cover debts Wanted to make glass but wasn’t sure how to go about it. I realised that I had enough creative knowledge to have a career, but no business knowledge.I wasn’t fulfilled and missed glass and making.
We weren’t allowed to continue our previous work. We were told to stay away from what we had done before. I started working in only clear, but then moved to colour. We looked more at functional and practical glass wares.
The RCA gave the opportunity of working with Museums and Stately Homes. Gave the opportunity of taking things to the next level at a quicker speed.
Collaborations with other mediums – for example Fashion Designers – I was asked to make glass shoulder pads for the Blackeyed Peas music video.
I have been fascinated with textures and wanted to see how to create textures on blown objects without using blown glass – as it is quite chunky and you have less control, so I mixed lamp working with blown glass to create the delicate textures on the blown forms.
Functional wares with an added touch. I wanted the practicality of having a decorative vase to be usable for the home. The lampworked pieces housed magnets in order for them to be removed when cleaning.
This was the ‘hot’ application of glass to the blown vessel. I was trying to work delicately and with smaller detail. I worked with this technique and happened across the Spritz – which is a dish that mimics that of a splash.
It came to the day of the Open Call and I was asked to meet the film crew ahead of schedule. They filmed me first for the first round. At this stage I wondered why it was only six of us who had been selected to be filmed. When we had to wait for the second round, we were all put in a room together and we chatted and met other makers. It was interesting to see the different pieces people had brought with them and the different stages people were at in their career. Some were extremely confident and some were passing and thought they would come In for an interview. Meeting the buyers was very daunting, but as it was a long day I really wanted them to say yes or no and then leave. But they didn’t let me know and said we will be in touch.
I was a little deflated after the Open Call, but had met other makers and stayed in touch with them asking whether they had got through or not. Everyone kept getting let down. So I was not sure what to expect.I received a phone call from Hidden Art to say that I had two tickets to come along for the awards evening. So I went along and was surprised to have won Best Glass! They awarded me a stand at Pulse Trade Fair, Earls Court. Which would also allow me to interact with other buyers.
Liberty got in touch and came to my studio to work out what they wanted to buy from me. But they still didn’t confirm any thing. The film crew kept calling me and asking me for updates, and after about three weeks Liberty emailed me a purchase order! So I called the film crew and let them know. They booked in a day to watch me make them.
It was a hard day trying to fulfil the order for Liberty in one day and with a camera man trying to get the best shots by standing right by you, infront of you, asking if you can do that again, asking you to hold it still and so on. So it was quite a stressful day.
But when I got my work on the shop floor was the most amazing feeling. They had really thought about the display and I had a large area for them all to sit in.
I sell through my open studios and have many customers from Liberty come to me directly to purchase the Spritz. I have spoken with Liberty that this is the case and they have said if their clients would like specific sizes and colours, can we set up a bespoke service for them.
After a year of being with Liberty they asked me for a new range to add to their collection. So I showed them something completely different to sit in a different area of their store.
These were curiosities made from lamp working detail and glass blown detail. The combination of the two, with an addition of cast 18ct gold insects that I put amongst them.
Since working with Liberty I have been interested in working with other retailers, but it is difficult choosing who to go with and who understands the handmade nature of the material.
Since the TV show my sales have gone up considerably, I have had interest from boutiques abroad and other makers to collaborate with them, I have had to employ a maker to help produce the amount of work I have, I have had to employ someone to help with the admin work. I also have had far more interest from publications from all over Country.
Having my work in Liberty has brought about commissions such as producing the ‘Chrysalis Award’ for D Media at the Baftas. These are invaluable contacts and networking sessions to have.
Know pricing, lead times, what you can offer them – colours/sizes, take along samples to show them – preferably in packaging to show you have thought about every detail of what you are showing them, make sure your work is suitable for their business, do not over price your work, but then again do not undersell yourself.
Charlotte Sale on her experiences on 'Britain's Next Big Thing', from the Hidden Art Forum 2011
Charlotte Sale Glass<br />www.charlottesaleglass.com<br />
Biography<br />Wallington High School For Girls (1996-2001)<br /><ul><li> Science Department Lampworking Glass</li></ul>Wimbledon School of Art (2001 – 2002)<br /><ul><li> Vacuum Forming Plastics and Kilnformed Glass</li></ul>Edinburgh College of Art (2002 – 2005)<br /><ul><li> Glassblowing techniques and experimenting
Leaving the Royal College of Art in 2009<br /><ul><li> A lot of interest from the general public, collectors, and galleries
Started to promote my work and my business through Publications,</li></ul>Websites (as well as my own), Facebook and Press Releases<br /><ul><li> Became a member of Hidden Art and Contemporary Applied Arts
Registered for the Open Call at Liberty</li></ul>www.charlottesaleglass.com<br />
<ul><li> Asked to be a part of ‘Britains Next Big Thing’ with Theo Paphitis
Went with RCA preparations – pricing, lead times and how to make