Alumni Emmy Palmer to appear in BBC show "Make it at Market"
Emmy studied under FabLab Plymouth’s Principal Technician, Ian Hankey who describes her as “a great student, talented in her practical abilities and able to fuse other traditional craft techniques into her work.” We spoke to Emmy about her time at Arts University Plymouth, what drew her to the city and what inspires her to make and create.
Glass Pips by Emmy Palmer
What attracted you to studying glass?
As soon as I tried glass I fell in love with it. I had already found out I had a weakness for glass having taken some introductory courses with William Shakespeare Glass. I started off making ugly glass blobs but was hooked from the beginning.
I was lucky enough to be awarded a glass scholarship while still at college in 2006, working with Ian Hankey at Teign Valley Glass in The House of Marbles in Bovey Tracey. The experience of working there really cemented my love for the medium. I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in Applied Arts in 2007 specialising in glass.
During my BA I got to experience working with different materials and try different disciplines, like metal work. The course really focused on what makes you you, as an artist. It also pushed me to ask how I could use different materials together. For example - what could happen if I put materials inside each other?
I eventually launched my own business Emmy Palmer’s Glass, working through my garden studio and hiring blowing facilities from local glass studios.
What made you decide to study in Plymouth?
I’m originally from Coventry but as with glass, I fell in love with Plymouth! It has all the joy of a city with wonderful surroundings, everywhere you look there is beauty and I absolutely love it! I have even dragged my parents down here to live too. Living by the sea and on the moors, I am never short of inspiration.
My “Del Mar’ series features blown glass with knitted metal inclusions that incorporate colour, inspired by nets and the translucent hues of seaweed caught up in waves and the sun through the sea. Light travels through these pieces creating wave-like shadows.
I forever document the amazing places we go as a family and the beauty we see in nature in photographs. I am never short of inspiration in this city, I just need to look around me.
KOPO by Emmy Palmer
Can you tell us more about how you combine knitting and glasswork?
I love to knit. It's a skill that has been passed down through my family for generations. The concentration needed and the repetitive hand movements make knitting and crochet really therapeutic and I see it as a real form of self care. There is a joy that comes with using techniques that have been passed through the women in my family. Knitting has helped me through some of the hardest times in my life. It’s a technique I have been refining ever since.
For me, glass feels like coming home. When I work with glass I feel like it’s where I am meant to be. The physicality of it - it's hot and fast. Beautiful shiny things come out of a dirty process.
From the Del Mar range, by Emmy Palmer
Can you tell us more about Make It At Market?
To start with I didn’t even realise that it was a program. I saw an advert, offering help for people starting their own creative business. There wasn’t a lot of information but I was interested and applied.
I was one of four glass makers and 30 makers in total. We filmed at a National Trust property in Leicestershire. It features Dominic Chinea, from “The Repair Shop”, along with his team of experts. They helped us assess what kind of business model might work best for us in the real world. We got so much guidance on how to turn our passions into fully-fledged business.
It ended up being so enjoyable and I learnt so much, not just from the experts but also from the other people taking part.