My 'Fraternal' collection is based of the relationship that I have with my twin sister. When I was coming up with the idea behind this body of work, I wanted to create a piece which could only be told through my view point, which is when I started to focus on my own personal experiences. Throughout the course of my life I have been constantly asked about what being a twin is like, and I'm not going to lie, these are the hardest questions for me to answer. I've never not been a twin, so what do I compare it to? No one asks people who aren't a twin/triplet etc what it is like to be born on your own. Constantly having someone there for so much of your life is completely normal when you're born with someone else.
The shapes that I use are inspired by how twins sit in the womb, the start of a lifetime together. The colours are our favourites, purple representing me and blue being Rebecca. (Technically her favourite colour is black, which I remind her is a shade so I pushed that aside thanks to my autistic brain being unable to think of it as anything else!) The patterns within the fused glass panel represent how we think. I am autistic, and I am very linear in the way that I am. Things are either right or wrong, a pattern has to be even otherwise it makes me feel uneasy and I have to have a set amount of structure in the way that I do things. I am not a spontaneous person, it takes me a while to come to terms with what is happening so the pattern had to match this for people to fully see me even if they don't realise that's what it means. On the other hand, Rebecca is not on the spectrum. She is freer in the way that she views the world, and is capable of randomly doing things and having fun with no plans being made. Not everyone on the spectrum is the same, and there might be autistic people out there who are capable of doing this, but I am not one of them. I truly believe this is what makes us work so well together, the fact that we can be polar opposites allows us to comfortably see what the other side is like from a viewpoint we trust.
Making these pieces was so much more challenging than I had originally thought that they would be. I came up with these designs during lockdown, and normally as I design pieces I make prototypes at the same time to evolve the process naturally. This is to make sure that I solve each problem as soon as they arise. Thanks to covid, this way of working went completely out the window! Fun fact about me, I am the type of person who never takes a break because I get bored too quickly. I work all the time and I love being busy. So as lockdown progressed, the designs got more and more challenging because I had looked at them so much I assumed they would be easy to make. Let me tell you, they were not!
Making the fused glass panel and figuring out how to back them to pick them up took a while, each shade of the blue or purple would act differently in the panels which ended up causing multiple stress cracks. It took me 7 weeks to get the design to work how I had planned, and it was an 8 week module. There's nothing quite like working up to the deadline. Thankfully I had an amazing photographer who was able to edit all the stress cracks out the work so I could see what it was meant to look like, as well as enabling me to create marketing materials for the exhibition whilst I was still trying to work through every possibility I could to try and get the designs to work. My friends and family know how organised I can be when it comes to my craft, and I always like being done slightly earlier to allow me some buffer time incase anything pops up which I had not prepared myself for. Everything about this body of work tested the way that I think and deal with situations, and it was one of the most stressful times of my life.
Looking back now, I am so proud of the work that I was able to come out with. I pushed through every single design technicality that came my way, and I was able to showcase 2 pieces of work that had no problems at all. If you was to tell me at the beginning of my University degree that I would deal with such a difficult design during an equally difficult time in our lives, I would have said that you were crazy. But here they are!
My business boost from my time on 'Make It At Market' was for these pieces to be in the permanent collection at Stourbridge Glass Museum, allowing people to admire for years to come!