BA (Hons) Glass student Kelsii Burns has been working at Teign Valley Glass as an ongoing intern for the past six months.
As part of the internship she has been assisting renowned glass artist Layne Rowe – whose award winning work has been in exhibitions in both the U.K. and abroad.
We catch up with Kelsii to chat about the experience and what it’s like working with her idol.
So how did this all come about?
Well, last summer Ian Hankey (FabLab Manager here at the college) took myself and a few other students to Teign Valley Glass, based in Bovey Tracey, as part of a trip to show us the work they do and their workshops.
It was amazing and they make a really wide selection of glassware and supply galleries and stores across the world. Afterwards I contacted them and asked if I could come up and help out on a sort of internship basis and they said yes.
How often do you get to go there?
It started out as doing the odd weekday and every other weekend but it's now become quite a regular thing.
Are you involved directly with the glassmaking then?
Yeah, they mostly work with collections that have to be identical so it was a real insight into a different work process.
There are stages of processing like working down the line, so each person does one bit of a much larger piece. So I’ve had training on making inserts for bigger pieces.
"The facilities here at the college are just so good, it's a great space and set up and they always try to make sure you are using all the best tools and equipment for your work." – Kelsii Burns, BA (Hons) Glass student
So how did you get into assisting Layne Rowe?
Layne Rowe actually rents a studio space down there and is sometimes there working, so that's how I met him. He asked me to assist him for three days and now it's an ongoing thing whenever he comes down.
It’s just amazing, his work is incredible and the fact that he was my favourite glass artist meant I was overwhelmed when I met him, it was a dream come true for me.
Have you picked up any skills from your time at Teign Valley Glass and with Layne?
I have learnt a lot so far - mostly processes – as every glass artist works in a different way and it helps to see others way of working in order to establish your own.
Through the generosity of Teign Valley Glass I met with Kelsii and since then she has proved a very reliable help with my glass work and also pleasant company. Kelsii has an intent interest in the making process. It is very important that assistance is available instantly, also to be able to produce what is asked or explained. Kelsii fills all these roles and will no doubt with opportunity progress to a high standard of glass making," says Layne Rowe.
Layne has always answered all my questions, he is really inspiring. His work is incredible and I have asked him a lot of questions, especially about the two pieces of his work that I absolutely love – the glass grenades and the glass revolver.
It sounds like you are making the most of the internship then! How is it helping your own work?
My own work is very personal and learning new processes always helps to develop that and in combination with the internship it gives me a lot of studio time both in and out of the college.
You’ve been studying at the college for quite a long time,
Yeah for six years actually, I think they might get sick of me eventually! I started out on the Foundation Diploma in Art and Design and then moved onto doing an Extended Diploma, then finally the BA (Hons) Glass programme.
I’ve always loved it here and I've always used art as a way to channel all my thoughts, feelings and memories into a final piece.
So what's next for you?
I’m not sure yet, I’m thinking of doing a Masters after my degree, but that's just one of my many options. The facilities here at the college are just so good, it's a great space and set up and they always try to make sure you are using all the best tools and equipment for your work.
It’s a brilliant working environment and all I want to do is continue my practice, whether that is through education, work experience or going completely into working at a glassworks studio.
Photos by BA (Hons) Photography graduate Andrew Ford