Glass has been a popular medium with artists for centuries and has long been used in pieces for personal adornment. In fact the Egyptians were particularly keen on combining gold with coloured glass and gemstones, and it is renowned for offering a myriad of colours and tonal effects which help to make each piece unique.
“Glass has this delicate fragility which makes it so enchanting” explains Emma, “and yet it can be bold, and this contrast I think is what makes it so popular. You can wear a piece that makes a statement or wear a delicate piece that will understatedly complement an outfit. The key is in choosing the right piece in line with the narrative of your day.”
Emma was first introduced to glass art after a number of work and life changes saw her embark on a new journey into the art of decorative crafts at Lincoln University, during which she experimented with stone, wood, glass and a number of other mediums. Whilst she quite liked the aesthetics of metal it soon transpired that metal wasn’t so keen on her.
“I just kept breaking the materials!” Emma laughs. “It just wasn’t for me. I did enjoy stone though, and I wouldn’t mind taking that up again at some point. But it was glass that really stole my heart.” Four years into running Stopped Clock, with a legion of fans and an inbox full of bespoke requests, it would seem there is no broken glass in this love story.
So why is it called Stopped Clock?
“Ah this stems from a phrase I find very empowering”, Emma offers. “Even a stopped clock tells the right time twice a day. I just thought it was the perfect positive note for the business."
Interestingly though no clocks have yet been made in glass, although Emma assures us that this could well be on the cards any time soon, amongst a seemingly endless list of ongoing and new projects. These are busy times and Emma’s hands are certainly showing no signs of stopping!
“There is just so much you can do with glass”, Emma enthuses.
“There are so many techniques and it is constantly evolving. You are always learning from the reactive nature and fragility of it, and the work becomes almost intuitive and sensory as you learn to work
alongside the glass, and accept its relationship with the kiln.”
Certain colours contain certain metal elements and you just never know how they will react with others in the kiln. This makes it an interesting gamble every time, and so an artist can end up with some incredible tonal effects and colour combinations.
The versatility of glass as a medium is widely admired in the artist world, often creatively married with another elements such as wood or metal to produce some truly spectacular pieces that boldly achieve perhaps what other mediums do not. For an artist it can be both exhilarating and challenging, and offer up endless possibilities.
Stopped Clock’s colourful jewellery line features distinctive bar necklaces and drop pendants, chunky rings, elegant bracelets and a variety of earrings suspended by studs, hooks and hoops. Each piece is lovingly hand made by Emma and goes through a variety of cold-working stages and dual kiln firings, and then the edges are refined carefully with a grinder to produce the signature clean lines and transparent straight edges which have made Emma’s pieces so popular. It is a lengthy process that requires patience aplenty. Thankfully Emma’s beautifully serene working studio at the bottom of her garden offers the perfect sanctuary to step back into a slower pace and enjoy the process in its own time.
“I find the work so therapeutic and yet energising,” Emma explains.
“I’ll sketch my ideas and then come down here and let the work flow as it needs to without making any set plans, and I’ll often have several batches of work each at different stages on the go, so I have the variety and yet no pressure to complete each piece at a specific time. I’ll put on some musical soundtracks, perhaps a nod to my classical upbringing with the piano, and just enjoy the squirrels for company. It’s my time to reflect and create, until I am required back on parenting duties of course!” she laughs.
Stopped Clock’s interior range is primarily inspired by pattern, particularly geometric shapes found in traditional textiles. Here customers can find a series of coasters, tea light holders and stand apart sculptural pieces, each in a wide range of bold and bright colours. Perfect for dotting around the house as colourful adornments or great gift ideas.
“I’ve always been a fan of geometric shapes and the bold use of colour, particularly blue at the moment as it is so calming and has so many wonderful tonal opportunities. Whilst jewellery remains my passion I have been busy with soap dishes, ring dishes and a whole host of interior pieces. And I am receiving different bespoke item requests” Emma explains, adding, “It’s always wonderful to hear from my customers and take on new projects that push my boundaries or require a new format or style. We are all always learning in our fields.”
In between juggling being a mother and creating gorgeous art, Emma is also spending her time helping out at Newark Academy, with after school crafts projects, which have been a perfect way to use up glass off cuts in mosaic making and other activities with the
children. There has been an increased interest in people wishing to take up crafts so Emma is busy planning out the next course, and still finding time to be involved in local women’s group craft projects.
“I guess I just love what I do and want to share this with other people” she smiles. “It’s lovely to see new people trying a skill or approaching a craft for the first time, and then really enjoying it.”
The acceptance that there is so much more to learn from glass art is something that is a key driver for Emma as she looks forward to the next phase in Stopped Clock. There’s a penchant to explore some longer term collaborations with other artists in metal and wood, having enjoyed a successful collaboration experience with a metal artist recently on a bespoke project, or to even start creating these combinations herself.
“I’d quite like to look at branching into bigger pieces, subject to new investment in equipment”, Emma muses. “I have plenty of space in my home studio to look at creating larger projects, possibly even some wall art. I am also feeling triangles at the moment. Don’t ask me why!" she laughs. “I’m in this phase of triangular exploration steering away from the more common rectangular style I usually favour.”
Square, rectangular or triangular. We’d say pretty rounded. There’s certainly no stopping Stopped Clock as it looks forward to another exciting year.
Stopped Clock studio will be opening to the public in May as part of Open Studios Notts 2021, for full details visit: www.osnotts.co.uk. You can also shop online for Stopped Clock creations and Emma is available for workshops and one-on-one tuition.