This week I caught up with the powerhouse that Esme Marshwitch, known online as the Glassy Witch. We shared an online cuppa and a chin wag, closely scrutinized by her slightly malevolent side kick Clive. Esme is one of the first creatives to take a chance and open a shop on the Silk Purse Guild, and keeps us all greatly amused with her pin sharp wit and tales of woe from the kiln, usually involving the furry menace!
Glass Artist & Mosaic Expert
Can you Introduce Yourself and Describe what you Do?
Intrepid service desk manager by day, and by night, well. Mostly asleep to be quite honest. But the rest of the time, I can usually be found cutting, grinding, foiling, soldering, gluing, or melting glass. And drooling over 4th century polychrome mosaics. And belting out Frank Turner songs (yes, I am singing, not strangling the cat. I know it can be hard to tell). Oh, and forgetting what on earth I was saying.
I make mosaics with glass, ceramic, marble, precious and semi-precious stones…. and anything else that sits still long enough. II also make suncatchers, panels, the occasional window, and fused glass mosaic inclusions, sterling silver fused glass jewellery and keepsakes.
The Glassy Witch came about because of dum dum duhhhhhh the 2020 Lockdown Part 1. Having suddenly got a lot more time on my hands, due to no longer having two hours of commuting time in a day, I was able to spend a lot more time playing with my glass. Although I had made – and sold – the occasional piece beforehand, it was never more than a couple a year, and usually things were given to friends and family instead.
This time though, I decided to try and do everything properly, with a website, and all that fun stuff – which also meant I REALLY did not want to go upsetting HMRC, so long before hitting the magical amount of needing to tell them, I got myself an accountant to deal with all the paperwork that had scared me half to death previously and put me off taking the plunge. So, since May 2020, I’ve made, and sold, and made again, and I have encountered some of the absolute NICEST people as customers and supporters.
Can you Describe your Workspace?
It’s a shed. There’s….a bit of a mess in it. And the cat. He’s my over-familiar, Clive. He’s an idiot. Loves anything made of oats. Falls off things a lot. He has a throne in here so he can supervise.
Where does your Inspiration come from?
The Romans! And flowers. And birds. The sky, the ocean, the open moorland, volcanic landscapes, the people, places, flora and fauna that surround me. Music. Feelings.
Where can people find your Work?
SilkPurseGuild, of course! Some of my items used to make their way to my sister’s shop in Tavistock, “Treasured Forever”, and I used to go to the occasional craft market, but mainly online since I started to do this semi-properly. I might get back to doing craft markets, but I wont lie – the pain of hauling a gazebo, several kilos of weighted feet, tables, table covers, signage, stands and THEN finally the actual stock? And having to risk wind, rain, and occasionally even baking heat (I hear tell such things happen, even in the UK!)
Do you have any Formal Training?
Nope, none at all, for any of it. I tend to learn by doing when it comes to something practical – it’s just the way I am. And in much the same way that Bumblebees can’t fly, no one has ever told them, so they carry on regardless. I don’t find myself being limited to a “set” way of doing things because [x] does it that way. I like to learn from the various things I see, I try, and I hear about from other people.