About Emsie Sharp
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"Since leaving college aged 26, I realised quickly that if I wanted to make glass my career, I would have to accumulate years of hard work to reach a certain standard so that I could eventually start my own business and run my own studio."
Studio: The Cowshed studio Gold Hill Organic Farm, The Ridgeway, Child Okeford
Blandford, Dorset DT11 8HB
I was born in Cambridge in 1970 and gained a BA Hons Degree from the West Surrey College of Art and Design in 1996. I have been glassblowing for the last 24 years. Since leaving college aged 26, I realised quickly that if I wanted to make glass my career, I would have to accumulate years of hard work to reach a certain standard so that I could eventually start my own business and run my own studio.
My heart was set on Murano Venice, which has a thousand year tradition of creating the most technically difficult and beautifully made glass in the world. Since nothing else but glass is made on this small island in the lagoon off Venice, and is passed from generation to generation, I feel it is now naturally in their blood, and I wanted to be part of it. After six years of working in London in two different studios, I decided to pack my suitcase and take my chances. Since being a foreigner was not in my favour, not to mention being of the wrong sex, I was taking a big gamble.
Although a shy person since childhood I managed to muster up the strength to land myself a job within two weeks, but had to prove myself with a three week unpaid trial period. I began my three year stay on Murano working like a dog. I had never experienced anything like it. Getting up at 5.30am was quite a challenge! Starting at 7am on the dot and finishing at 5pm, making up to 100 wine glasses a day was really the most exhausting time of my life, but also the most rewarding. I was learning from the masters, and soaking up the techniques and skills that would shape my glass blowing life ahead of me.
Returning to England 15 years ago, I found myself living in Dorset. I was invitedto be part of the Dorset Centre for Rural Skills, set up by Rob Buckley and Suz Carr, whose aim was to keep the endangered rural skills and crafts alive. Along with a grantand huge help and encouragement, I was able to fulfill my dream of having my own studio and to be my own boss.
I am now working close by in Child Okeford, making a range of functional glassware, including wine glasses, jugs, tumblers, decanters and lamp bases, as well as one off commission pieces and sculpture. I am using a traditional recipe of 24% lead crystal, which is essential for a high quality glass, which gives both weight and ring to my wine glasses. It also gives you more time when working with molten glass from it being molten to solid.