CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to EADT Suffolk today CLICK HERE

Hart & glass

PUBLISHED: 09:51 17 November 2015 | UPDATED: 09:51 17 November 2015

Glass artist, Laura Hart, is pictured in her Studio in Cavendish.

Glass artist, Laura Hart, is pictured in her Studio in Cavendish.


Tessa Allingham goes inside the studio of glass artist Laura Hart

Laura Hart carefully lifts a (double) layer of Blitz kitchen roll. Under the bumpy sheet lies an exquisite piece of multi-coloured glass fashioned into a butterfly wing. It’s a royally-rich shade of blue, shot through with fine black veins, rimmed with a ripple of black, breathtaking even before Laura holds it up to the window and lets sun pour through the glass.

“It’s a Palos Verdes,” she explains. “An Italian lady has commissioned me to make a pair.”

Under the next piece of Blitz is the magnificent swallowtail shape of a Kaiser-i-Hind, a species fighting extinction in northern India. Laura lays its dark orange, green and black wings carefully next to the transparent, foxy red-tipped Glasswing, a South American butterfly, before lifting out a vividly-coloured Caribbean blue Periander Metalmark, and a bold orange and black Monarch. The wings of all the butterflies are made from fused glass, the segmented bodies cast in pâte de verre, the jointed legs created out of sterling silver. Each creation, down to fine hairs on the legs is anatomically correct and takes weeks to complete.

Laura’s studio table is suddenly awash with colour, shape, beauty and – weirdly – life. She folds her long legs (she has modelled in her time) back round her swivel-stool, vapes, slugs on some coffee. “These butterflies are all endangered. The message in my art is one of conservation. Everyone wants to save tigers and rhinos but it’s the smaller things, insects and flowers, that are essential to our eco system. If we ignore these then the tigers and rhinos will disappear too.”

Laura displays the butterflies in special glass cabinets, as if in a dusty museum, but there are no pins through them, their legs are intact and their wings are in a flight position so they look alive.

“The fact that they are made of glass reinforces the idea of fragility, as does the fact that I only ever make one of each. But if you beat the conservation drum too hard you’ll drive people away, so I hope people like my butterflies as much for their beauty as for anything else!” Once this collection is complete Laura plans to move on to bees and dragonflies, no doubt to continue to bang, albeit gently, the eco drum.

Midlands-born and Suffolk raised, but sounding more Aussie than anything (her father’s family were ‘ten pound poms’ back in the 70s, she explains, and her parents are just back from nine years living in Melbourne) Laura attended classes at the Northlands Creative Glass school in the Scottish Highlands. Prior to focusing on glass art, however, she designed stage sets for pop stars (the giant skull in Kylie Minogue’s 2008 X tour, was her creation) and vast and often highly technical 3D props for sporting events such as the 60’ wingspan falcon for the Meydan World Cup horse races in Dubai.

She is a curious mix – part committed environmentalist and hippy eco-warrior (“artists, we’re all scruffy gits” she laughs, a wide smile framed by gorgeously wild hair, and indicating her well-loved tie-dye t-shirt and jeans), part talented artist, pernickety, she admits, to the point of OCD. Shards of glass are stored in little drawers on her studio shelves, carefully labelled by colour – black opal, canary yellow, Caribbean blue – while washed-out Onken yogurt and Waitrose Thai green curry chicken soup pots house enough marker pens and Staedtler HB pencils, all tips down, to keep the busiest of artists supplied.

Her glass artist’s machinery is incongruously hefty given the delicacy of the end result. A ferocious kiln, diamond-tipped grinders, fine-tipped drills, tile cutters and ring saws are used to cut the butterfly shapes, fuse sections of coloured glass together, insert the legs and smooth off edges. The exquisite butterflies follow on from a collection of complex glass orchids.

“Vessel Gallery in Notting Hill sold the whole orchid collection, then the same thing happened with my first five butterflies which went to an American collector within 24 hours of going on display.” At £2,000 apiece, that’s quite something.

“I don’t like the selling side, so I’m glad to have Vessel and other galleries such as the Hunter Gallery in Long Melford and the Sculpt Gallery in Colchester as well as ones in Oxford and York as my shop windows.” Laura’s pieces are extraordinary; would that they could take real as well as metaphorical flight.

To see Laura’s work and discuss commissions go to


Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other EADT Suffolk Magazine visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by EADT Suffolk Magazine staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique EADT Suffolk Magazine account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from Homes & Gardens

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Creative couple David and Henrietta Villiers have designed a stunning new home at Aldeburgh | Words & Photos: Tony Hall

Read more
Monday, October 15, 2018

When it’s frosty outside there’s nothing better than coming home to a crackling open fire - here are 6 great businesses who can help you find the perfect woodburner, fireplace or stove for your home

Read more
Wednesday, September 26, 2018

As we head into Autumn, the change in season is all around us. From the leaves on the trees turning burnt orange and fiery red, to dark mornings and nights bookending our days. As we put the clocks back an hour to battle the darkness, here’s some top tips on how you can keep your home warm and costs down this Autumn.

Read more
Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Peter and Lorraine Finn have found their ideal place to get away from it all right on their Woodbridge doorstep | Words & Photos: Tony Hall

Read more
Friday, August 31, 2018

Rural energy provider, Calor, gives some top tips for homeowners wanting to make their houses cosy and warm in time for the colder months.

Read more
Thursday, August 23, 2018

When you are next looking to build a brand new kitchen or revitalise your existing kitchen, you should consider these 6 top bespoke designers

Read more
Friday, August 10, 2018

When Jan Packard and Mark Haines were looking for somewhere to share their love of boats they couldn’t resist the unspoilt charms of the Alde and Ore | Words and Photos: Tony Hall

Read more
Sunday, July 1, 2018

Residential property company heylo recently signed the Armed Forces Covenant, pledging its commitment to fair treatment and support to the Armed Forces community, including regulars, reserves, veterans and their families. The signing took place in a ceremony held at Wellington Barracks

Read more
Tuesday, June 26, 2018

A trip to Wingfield on the historic houses scheme, Invitation to View, reveals a medieval college and royal stories aplenty | Words & Photos: Lindsay Want

Read more
Thursday, June 21, 2018

Here at Suffolk Hideaways, we have chosen our top 3 beaches to visit whilst staying in Suffolk. Suffolk Hideaways is a self-catering agency which offer coastal and country retreats, many being dog friendly, family friendly or ideal for a romantic retreat

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

EADT Suffolk Magazine regular newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory

Local Business Directory

Search For a Car In Your Area

Property Search