Monday, November 7, 2011

Introducing Amy McCarthy of AmyOrangeJuice

Want to get to know us Amys better?
Here continues a series of getting-to-know-you interviews.
Next up: Amy McCarthy of AmyOrangeJuice

How long have you been an artist, and how long have you been active as a business artist?

I have always been creative and studied art at college and university. I intended to become an art therapist after I finished university, but life took me on a different path and I was a mental health worker in London for a long time. I started a stained glass course in 2003 as a hobby and was soon addicted! I set up in business 3 years ago and I have never looked back. My work is very varied; from small gift items made with recycled and waste glass (which I sell on Etsy and Folksy) to large stained glass window commissions and public sculptures. My work is shown in galleries around the UK and I love being able to be an artist for a living, its like living in a lovely dream!

Are you an artist full time?
As full time as I can be with a 5 year old and a 3 year old! (lots of late nights and weekends make my hours up to at least that of a full time job)

Who or what inspires you to create?
I live in Devon, which is a stunning part of the UK with the high tors of the moors turning into rolling countryside which leads to the sea and wonderful beaches on 3 sides of the county; so inspiration is all around me in the natural world and the vast majority of my work reflects nature in someway; from landscapes to flowers to insects (and everything in between). My creative friends and children also give me a wealth of ideas and I am a bit obsessed with Art Deco.

Describe your work space.
My lovely dad built me a studio on the side of our house and it is 2m wide and 6m long with a clear plastic roof to maximise light and electrics and running water. This is essential to my work as I cannot work with lead, glass and chemicals in the house and being in my garden makes me able to work flexibly around my children. The walls are lined with jars of recycled glass and I have a purpose built rack so I can flick through my sheet glass stock. I have a light box for glass painting and I have to keep the space as clean and tidy as possible as I work with sharp, hot and poisonous materials The kiln is in the garage, so no hope of getting a car in there!

What kinds of things do you like to do in your free time?
Spending time with my family and friends is my most favourite pass time, we love messing about at the seaside and walking in the forests and moors a short drive away. When I get the chance I love to knit and embroider, but sadly there is not much time for that. I swim 3 times a week as working from home can be a sedentary life and I find this a great time to work though creative blocks and ideas.

What is your favorite handmade item, made by you or given to you?
Cheesy as it sounds the creations of my children are some of my most prized possessions an abstract expressionist piece by my eldest daughter and a jelly fish and 2 fish made from paper plates and tissue paper are my favourite of their art works presently and are framed and displayed in our home along side paintings, prints and photographs by fellow artists.

What does being an Amy to you?
I have always liked my name, its short and sweet and as I am dyslexic I have always appreciated this! I am Amy McCarthy and if you google that you find I share my name with a very famous porn star; which must have shocked several people looking for my artwork over the years!

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