Want to discover more about Cambridgeshire’s artists, designers and makers? Be sure to read on and also check out the entire ‘Getting to Know‘ series on the blog. See our Q&A with local fused glass and textile artist Bex Burston below. Find out about how she started her creative company Blue Design Shed Ltd, her participation in Cambridge Open Studios and Grantchester Art & Craft Fair, and what inspires her fun and vibrant pieces of wall art – which are all created in her amazing garden studio, the blue shed.
(Image by Bex Burston – Studio)
Tell me a little about yourself and Blue Design Shed.
I am Bex Burston, originally from Kent, but now live in a Cambridgeshire village with my husband, daughter and dog. I started Blue Design Shed three years ago, when my daughter was settled in school and we had built a log cabin studio in the garden and painted it bright blue!
(Image by Bex Burston – Blue Shed)
I studied my Art Foundation Course at the Kent Institute of Art and Design, then a BA (Hons) Applied Arts Practice, 2D Design at The University of Hertfordshire, and then PG Dip Arts Management at Anglia Ruskin University.
Two years ago, we had a traumatic life event when we suffered a major house-fire and had to move elsewhere for three and a half months whilst the house was renovated, and furniture and contents were cleaned or replaced. I continued to come to my studio each day after dropping my daughter at school (luckily the studio was untouched by the fire) and worked constantly on creating new work and growing the business. It was a very hard time for us, and I was determined to make the best of it. It was during this time I was contacted by Janet Powell and Tricia Taylor, two talented local silversmiths and they asked if I wanted to be part of the biannual Grantchester Art and Craft Fair, an invitation I leapt at!
My work is primarily in fused glass, creating fun vibrant pieces of wall art, suncatchers, jewellery, coasters and so on. I also work in textiles, either creating funky applique compositions, or needlefelting my Christmas creatures.
Describe your style in 5 words.
Fun, Retro Inspired, Colourful, Happy.
(Image by Bex Burston – Bubble Love Heart)
(Image by Bex Burston – Single Orange Allium)
Where do you draw your inspiration from?
I am inspired by numerous things, from summer hedgerows, vintage fabric and ceramics, happy childhood memories, to Scandinavian art and craft and the concept of “hygge”. In essence, hygge means creating a warm atmosphere and enjoying the good things in life with good people. The warm glow of candlelight is hygge.
Could you tell me a little more about one of your pieces?
The piece I have chosen is called “Feeling Groovy 1”. I made this piece two years ago, whilst my house was being renovated after the fire. I was wearing about four layers, in my freezing shed, with no plumbing. I just wanted to make the funkiest, sunniest and most optimistic fused glass piece ever. I really like what I created!
(Image by Bex Burston – Feeling Groovy 1)
How do keep yourself informed about what is going on within the art / design world, in Cambridgeshire and further afield?
I use social media apps a lot. I love Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. I find that if you follow the right people, (thetrove_cambs being the best *wink*) you get to hear about all sorts of exciting events and projects.
Are you a member of any local art groups?
I am a member of Cambridge Open Studios which is such a well-established and respected organisation, and I am thrilled to be a part of it. This year I once again joined my friend and talented sculptor Anine Cockwell-de Jong in her studio, with another friend and talented ceramicist Ruth Fairhead joining us too. We usually have a great time welcoming visitors, answering questions and demonstrating how our art is made. As I mentioned before, I am also part of the biannual Grantchester Art and Craft Fair. We have a Christmas and a Spring show, it is great fun and we all make our own cakes which we bring along.
I do not currently run any workshops, although I am always being asked to! Before I had my daughter, I ran workshops for four years at Rowan, a leading Arts Charity in Cambridge.
(Image by Bex Burston – Summer Carnival)
(Image by Bex Burston – Turquoise Flower Hanging 2)
Where can people find your work?
You can buy directly from me through my website. I also do stalls at lots of Art and Craft fairs – please see my website for the details of upcoming events. My work can also be found in selected galleries around the country.
Thank you to Bex for taking part in our Q&A and for giving us an insight into her work and personal life. Bex welcomes commissions as she enjoys working closely with clients, assisting in making their ideas come to life. If you would like to get in touch with her you can contact her via her website as well as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. You can also browse her shop here! We would love to hear from you in the comments below – what is your favourite piece? We particularly love the fused glass bubble heart.
If you are a local artist, designer or maker and are interested in finding out about a feature, please do feel free to contact us – we would love to hear from you and find out about your work!