Honing her craft over 25 years, glass artist Amy Cushing has worked on a variety of projects for both residential and commercial spaces, bringing her love for colour into the world of interiors.
Since training in Public Art at Chelsea School of Art, Amy Cushing has explored a vast array of mediums, studying large-scale drawing, painting and the world of ceramic and glass. Upon experimenting with different forms, the British artist became frustrated at the lacklustre colours often found in ceramic glazes, setting her on a mission to find a more vibrant alternative. By fusing glass with clay, it led her to work with kiln-formed glass – a process which heats glass within a kiln and above or inside a mould until it has filled all the voids to create the desired result. Through this process, Cushing was able to achieve the colours she had been hoping for.
Over two decades on, Cushing has developed her work through perfecting her own techniques, understanding the material and process entirely which has led to a wealth of striking results. Renowned for her signature installations of suspended glass formations, the artist has more recently gone on to create a series of smaller-scale objects. Still showcasing her love for colour and the material she works with, these pieces pay testament to the in-depth knowledge and skill she has accumulated since beginning her creative endeavours. In speaking with Amy, we gained an insight into the inspiration behind her work and what the future holds.
As an artist, what is your core mission through the work you create?
I express myself through colour with the primary aim of enhancing an environment, whether that be residential or commercial. I truly believe that colour has its own language and, if studied long enough, it can be utilised to evoke a wide range of feelings and my mission is to find a connection to others through this.
For me, my work allows escapism and reflection and I certainly feel there is a spiritual connection for human beings to experience art and culture in order to find its enrichment. Art also makes a statement which encourages conversation and sometimes even change, often by allowing us to nurture the sublime and appreciate the simple things. Something our fast urban lives don’t often allow.
Where do you find your inspiration?
I look for form and colour sequence in all things tropical, from lush vegetation to crystal clear waters, feathers, shells, and even tropical fish. I am driven mostly by colour and all its complexities, and this is what I hope comes across in each piece I create. The clarity of light is essential in enhancing the nuances and detail of colour and I think this is why I am so inspired by all things exotic. I also use this as my antidote to the dark days and grey winters we can experience here in the UK!
You have been practicing your craft for 25 years, how do you stay relevant in a world that constantly changes?
You have to find your own path and, in doing so, I stay true to my own exploration and practice. While I obviously study the work of master artists and designers, as well as keeping in touch with my contemporaries, I never draw too much influence from the changing world we live in as I believe it is the solitary experimental work a creative does by themselves that really counts.
My advice for artists today is to utilise contacts and research your market thoroughly, as exposure and the connections you make are extremely important as you progress. However, it is the time-consuming design development that builds a unique portfolio, and this cannot be achieved if you are distracted by what is ‘current’ or ‘trending’.
What has been your most exciting project to date?
I have two projects which have stood out for me. The first was a large corporate installation for CMS (through Art Acumen) which featured my work repeatedly throughout their high-spec offices in Cannon Street. In projects such as this, I find great reward in meeting a brief whilst also putting my ‘stamp’ on the interior. And, after working on something for many months, it is very satisfying to install a piece and witness the delight of onlookers as it enhances the space entirely.
Secondly, my more recent work, the Paradise Sculptures, were featured in a vibrant showcase at Bergdorf Goodman in New York this summer, under the curation of Todd Merrill Studio. The space was an explosion of colour which brought together many notable artists and designers so to be included front and centre of the installation was a wonderful stage for my pieces to be displayed upon.
What is coming up in 2024?
I have an array of different projects in the pipeline, with some yet to be confirmed. Alongside taking part in a public art project within an iconic London building, I have new exhibition opportunities emerging with different galleries for my smaller-scale sculptural works.
I am also excited to reveal new editions which will be added to my Paradise Collection. I have extended the narrative of these abstract tropical sculptures to offer a wider range of shapes and sizes. I am also deepening the colour palette of blown cylindrical elements by overlaying new colour combinations which I am looking forward to seeing the results of. Watch this space!
Imagery courtesy of Philip Vile / Agata Pec.