We are so pleased to be back with another post in our ‘Getting to Know’ series where we discover more about local artists, designers, makers and small creative businesses. Read our Q&A with Jenny – aka Glass By Butler – to find out what drives her passion to create contemporary stained glass, how she is splitting her time between Italy and the UK to learn more about her craft, and how she uses optical illusion and complementary colour in her creations.
(Image by Alex Higgs)
(Image by Jennifer Butler)
Tell me a little about yourself and how you became a stained glass artist.
On landing in Ely with my (very young) family I visited Ely Cathedral, where I was struck by the transformative effect of stained glass. The effect is so uplifting that I felt everybody should have the chance to experience it – particularly in a more contemporary style – rather than being the preserve of religious institutions. With encouragement from my mother-in-law, I took the leap into stained glass by attending several workshops and then honed my craftwork during evenings in my studio. I will always be an oil painter, but my current circumstances led me to stained glass and I am ecstatic it has.
Describe your style in 5 words.
Bold, graphic, geometric, colourfully uplifting.
(Image by Jennifer Butler – Beehive Hexagon)
(Image by Jennifer Butler – Tricolour Cubes)
Where do you draw your inspiration from?
Absolutely everywhere! If I see a complementary colour palette in the street or in a garden I’ll take a snap. If I see an exquisite geometric design or interesting tattoo, I’ll start scribbling and see how I could transform it into a stained glass piece. I like using glass to re-imagine the geometric designs found everywhere in nature and among Celtic and North African art. With glass you can ‘paint’ with light itself.
Could you tell me a little more about one of your pieces?
This little baby transformed me. It’s a simple but very effective piece. I wanted to create an optical illusion with the glass, but do so in a subtle way with only a pop of colour. I sometimes find stained glass a bit too busy with many colours and shapes colliding. This is one of my favourites because I find it can be uplifting and calming at the same time.
(Image by Jennifer Butler – Concept Sketching)
(Image by Jennifer Butler – Work In Progress)
(Image by Jennifer Butler – Tricolour Hexagon)
How do keep yourself informed about what is going on within the art / design world, in Cambridgeshire and further afield?
I began by sharing my work through local contacts and on Instagram. Through this I was surprised to find a supportive and inspirational international community. I have always visited galleries and museums in the flesh but with two young children to look after, being able to interact so widely with other artists and creative thinkers through social media, as well as follow galleries, has enabled me to both share my work and find diverse inspiration. Following this, I applied and was accepted to take part in The London Artisan, a curated market place for 50 designers and makers at The Truman Brewery on Brick Lane in London.
(Image by Jennifer Butler – Geometric Circle)
(Image by Jennifer Butler – Rainbow through the Clouds)
Are you a member of any local art groups?
Whilst living in Cambridge I was a member of Cam Creatives, then on moving to Ely – Creative Ely, which put on incredible meet-ups with inspirational speakers. I follow what’s going on with them via Facebook.
Where can people find your work?
You can view my work on my website – Glass By Butler – as well as on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. I am currently looking for an outlet in Cambridgeshire, as I am also based in Rome, Italy 50% of the time to develop my craft further. I want to maintain a presence here in Cambridgeshire to continue to make my work available, so I’ll keep you posted as soon as I have found one!
Thank you to Jenny for taking part in our Q&A – please do check our her website and social media pages to see her latest work. We absolutely love her Rainbow through the Clouds piece which she tells us was commissioned by the parents of Rainbow Preschool in Ely as a gift for the staff. Where can you see Jenny next? Glass By Butler has been selected again to exhibit at The London Artisan later this year – the events taking place on 22-23rd July 2017 and in September during The London Design Festival.