Maggie Napier is a glass artist based in Co.Down, N. Ireland. She has over 15 years of practice and research, experimenting and creating art glass beads and unique jewellery using the highest quality Italian and American glass.
Between graduating with a degree in Design and a Post Graduate Diploma in Applied Art she lived in Rome where an interest in ancient glass, archaeology and ornamentation evolved. This curiosity, the acquiring of her first flamework torch in 2005 and years of experimenting with molten glass led to the creation of Glassistudio.
Today she hosts regular glass beadmaking workshops in her studio in Co. Down, and public hot glass demonstrations. Her work is in the collection of The Arts Council of N.Ireland and she’s been the recipient of ACNI artist funding.
Using a process known as ‘Lampwork’ or ‘Flamework’, she individually creates unique glass pieces.
This entails melting, wrapping and sculpting rods of glass, usually around a steel core, to form a bead or small sculpture. The glass can be light reflective or etched, transparent or opaque, colourful or subtly monochrome . Each piece is made with focus and attention to detail before combining with other materials to create a wearable piece of glass art
Q & A with Maggie Napier
Why Flamework Glass?
"Imagine working with a material which can turn from solid to liquid within a matter of seconds, that flows like lava and lets light pour through it . Molten glass encourages swift manipulation and experimentation with form. Hands, eyes and brain are fully engaged in the moment- a lapse in concentration can ruin (or alter) the potential of a piece..."
"Beads form an intrinsic part of the human story, the earliest known examples discovered at La Quina, France, date from 38,000 B.C, before the earliest known figurative art. It is possible that beads also predate language, forming a rudimentary method of communication and exchange. People have made beads from bone, seeds, shells, wood, stone, clay and glass. They have been worn and carried, transported and exchanged, marking our interactions and footsteps for millennia. Beads fulfilled many roles, as protective talismans and signifiers of status, worry beads and rosary beads have slipped through fingers to whispered prayers. All civillisations, from the Ancient Egyptians and Romans, to Chinese dynasties, Vikings and Indigenous Indians have their own 'bead' language and history, fascinating and intriguing. In my own work I try to incorporate a little of that human, tactile quality of ancient beadmaking and value, creating something entrancing and curious to wear or exchange."
Here at Glass i Studio, we host classes & workshops in glassmaking, offering you the opportunity to work with molten glass to create your personal unique beads.
We've welcomed and worked with both professional makers and absolute beginners from all over Ireland and as far afield as Germany, sharing our passion and curiosity for 'glassbeadmaking'