Open Studio, July 5 & 6: Suffolk glass artist Arabella Marshall
PUBLISHED: 16:18 02 July 2014 | UPDATED: 16:18 02 July 2014
Lucy Etherington delves into an amorphously vibrant wonderland
I’m looking at one of Arabella Marshall’s glass panels propped against the wall of her studio. Drawn by its richly vivid colours, I become mesmerised by strange and charming shapes like the little creatures in Miro paintings, then discover more layers, new elements and whole sections, including etchings and copper flecks I hadn’t noticed before.
Arabella tells me that that this is one of two French doors, commissioned by a couple to hang between their minimalist kitchen and dining room. I imagine them staring at the doors open-mouthed for hours, days, entirely forgetting about the food on the end of their forks.
“I originally studied painting,” Arabella explains, “and still am inspired by the works of Klee, Rothko, Heron and Matisse. I wanted to do what I loved about painting in glass. But I also think I would have been an architect in another life. It’s vital how each piece relates to its environment and of course the people who live with it.”
Only recently Arabella transported her entire business from Devon to Suffolk and is keen to meet the local art-loving community. This month she is flinging open the reclaimed doors of her newly renovated studio on Bridge Farm in Brandeston, displaying finished work and work in progress with “sausages and cider” -– and, no doubt, inspiring conversation.
“I just want people to fall in love with the possibilities of glass,” she says. “Also there will be an opportunity to sign up for courses.”
The studio is one of a cluster of charming farm buildings set around a pretty courtyard within rolling lush countryside. It has room for a couple of large work tables plus a giant glass kiln, a sophisticated looking piece of machinery big enough to swallow a large glass door.
“Part of my reason for moving to Suffolk was the space. Not just physical space, but time,” she says. So why Suffolk?
“I grew up here,” she says. “We lived in East Bergholt in Constable’s brother’s house and I went to school in Ipswich. As a child I’d always been awestruck by the colour and light of my surroundings. I remember standing on gate just staring at the sky. I’ve carried that with me my whole life.”
You can read Lucy Etherington’s cionversation with Arabella Marshall in full in the August issue of Suffolk Magazine. You can also visit her in her studio.
Living with Glass
Open Studio Weekend: July 5 and 6, 11am – 4.30pm