• Ellen Hopkin

When Faith Meets Glass - Amy Blandford

Welcome to the Creative Life, Happier Life Blog, thank you for agreeing to this interview! Tell us about yourself...


Hi, I am Amy; wife to Scott and mum to my girls, Lyla (6) and Adeline (2). We live in beautiful Somerset and bought our first home 8 months ago. It is a Victorian terraced renovation project! I help run Scott’s business as well as having my glass business and have been at home with the girls for the last 6 years. We absolutely love being together as a family and spending time having fun outdoors.

Here at CLHL we believe that creativity comes in all forms, from accounting to crochet! How does your creativity manifest itself?


My main creative discipline is in fused glass. I’ve been learning this for a few years now and have recently launched my own business making fused glass gifts.

It involves working with the glass while it is cold to create a design and then firing it up to approx 800 degrees to fuse it all together.

My current work is designed to offer little reminders of the message of hope found in the bible with fun, colourful little ornaments.


I absolutely love glass as a medium. It is rarely unattractive, even just my drawers of scrap glass are a thing of beauty! It is incredibly versatile and you can use all sorts of other materials including metals, fusible papers and even mica powder which is the base material in eyeshadow!!

How do you think using your creativity enhances your wellbeing?


We live a very busy life with young children, running our own businesses and renovating a house. We tend to try and be as efficient as possible but sometimes that pace can feel overwhelming. I find engaging in anything creative causes my mind to shut out the to do list and helps me relax as I focus on what my hands are creating.

I made myself a new ironing board cover a while ago and it was definitely not the most efficient decision as I could have bought one for £10 or less. However, I smile every time I look at it and feel so proud of it. I love that it is unique and I remember thoroughly enjoying the evening I spent figuring out the shape and design. It’s the same with any item in my home that we have made, it brings me


great joy and makes my life feel richer for the time we have invested in beautifying our home.

In launching my glass business it has been the biggest blessing to realise that I can spend my days creating items of beauty to encourage others. My mind is much healthier now that my work revolves around creating. How do you think using your craft helps you to connect with God?

Glass has some incredible connections to my faith. It holds fantastic metaphors for life and speaks to me all the time about the human experience. Working in fused glass I will cut, break, shape, grind, crush,


heat and put the material through intense pain and pressure, to end up with a beautiful piece at the end. It reminds me of the many verses in the bible that speak about going through trial or fire and coming out the other side refined and more beautiful. How do you think using your craft helps you to connect with God?


Glass has some incredible connections to my faith. It holds fantastic metaphors for life and speaks to me all the time about the human experience. Working in fused glass I will cut, break, shape, grind, crush, heat and put the material through intense pain and pressure, to end up with a beautiful piece at the end. It reminds me of the many verses in the bible that speak about going through trial or fire and coming out the other side refined and more beautiful.


One of my personal passions is hearing stories of people who overcome very difficult situations and go on to build a beautiful life. We have a God who picks us up out of our broken lives in this broken world and redeems us. He sees us as inherently beautiful, even when all we look like are some broken pieces. As He refines us through the process of living in this world, He is preparing us for perfection when we live with Him one day. It is such a privilege to work with a medium that reflects this so clearly and it has really encouraged and grown my view of God, His love and our hope of eternal life.




Do you think God works through your skill? How?

Absolutely! It has given me an opportunity to share my faith in a way that makes sense to me. When I struggle to communicate the gospel message with others, my glass will often give me a chance to begin the conversation with an encouraging message such as “Bloom where you’re planted” which opens the door to share the bible verse connected and the experience that prompted me to make the piece. I’m feeling such a freedom to talk about my glass online and share more about the inspiration. I also think it’s hard for Christians to find unique gifts specific to their situation and many of my pieces have been bought to encourage and spur on another Christian. It’s an immense privilege to be able to provide that service for people.


Do you have any tips or golden nuggets of wisdom for any of our readers who may like to try accessing your creative skill? Glass is all about getting stuck in and having a go. You tend to approach it cautiously because it’s glass, but actually, it’s a very physical medium and you just have to be as confident as you can with it. I would recommend trying a workshop, my first one was only £35 and I loved it! Many independent glass artists offer workshops (I hope to myself one day) which will enable you to make a specific piece but that’s your chance to ask questions before investing in a beginners course (Approx £250+) I can talk about glass all day so if you’re interested and want to ask some questions feel free to message me on Facebook or Instagram! Where can we find you using your creativity?

I’m mostly active on Instagram @orchardartglass – my chat is a mix of glass, faith, family life, home renovations and my cat!! I’m not very polished but it’s all fun! You can find me on Facebook as well @orchardartglass QUICK FIRE ROUND! The stuff we all really want to know! Pen or computer?

Pen! (Fountain!!)


Home or abroad?

Home


On your bucket list?

Going to Austria


Who would play you in a movie?

Julia Styles


Skill you’d like to learn?

Lino printing


Favourite bible verse?

We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair.

We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed.

2 Corinthians 4:8-9


Chocolate or cheese?

Cheese

Thank you Amy! So there you go, perhaps glass may be a new way for you to explore creativity?

If you try out any of our contributors skills, pop it on Instagram (@creativelifehappierlifeblog) and give it the hashtag #CLHLblog

You can find Amy's beautiful work at www.orchardartglass.co.uk

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