Athena Magazine

Fashion, lifestyle, passions

Great Scot: Glass Artist Fiona Macneil October 24, 2008

Floral Glass Pendant by Fiona Macneil

Floral Glass Pendant by Fiona Macneil

By Louise Sleigh, excerpted from her Catwalk Threads blog

Fiona Macneil: Glass Artist

What is your earliest fashion memory?
Wearing the clothes which the band the ‘Bay City Rollers’ made famous in the ’70s.  This involved wearing white flared trousers with tartan up the side, a lilac (yuck) jumper with tartan on the front, and yes a tartan scarf.  Even for a Scots lassie, this was too much tartan.  I haven’t worn tartan since.

What are some of the best things about living in Glasgow?
The museums, art galleries, shops, restaurants, markets, night life but most of all the Glasgow people, they’re unique.

Describe your business:
My business is new and I would describe myself as being a self-employed glass artist.  At the moment I sell fused glass jewellery in my Etsy shop but in the future I hope to be using all the glass skills I learned at college to branch out into other ‘glassy’ areas such as glass panel making, fusing and mosaic work.  I plan to do commissioned work and I would also like to showcase my ‘arty ‘ type glass via exhibitions.

Star Pendant

Did you study arts? What was your course, where did you study and for how long?
I studied design, fine art and architectural and decorative glass at the Glasgow Metropolitan College.  I studied for four years, the last two years were spent learning all about glass.

Did you have any work experience in arts and crafts prior to setting up in business?

I’ve always loved art but I didn’t get interested in crafts until I was married though I had been taught how to crochet by my Granny when I was a little girl.  I enjoyed teaching myself various crafts and got really into salt dough modelling and used to sell my creations at craft fairs.  More recently I’ve been working at the local youth club teaching the children arts and crafts.

When did you set up in business and what inspired to you do that?
I set up my business this year after completing my glass course.  The course was geared to teaching students how to set up their own business because of the nature of the work they do.

What advice would you give someone who was thinking about setting up in your type of business?
My advice would be to first of all learn all you can about running a business and research whether there is a market for your glass work or service.  Decide whether you are dedicated enough to cope with the business side of things (and all which that entails) and not just the ‘creating’ side as this could make or break your business.  If you apply all you have learned thoroughly then your business has got a good chance of succeeding.

Leaf Earrings

Where do you get your design inspiration from?
Design inspiration for my jewellery comes from my interest in abstract forms which involves looking at shape, texture and colour. I am also inspired by nature.

Approximately how long does it take to design and make one of your glass pendants?
It depends on which type of pendant I am making.  Cutting the glass and placing abstract pieces is a fairly quick process.  This can take from 10-30 minutes.  The glass has then to go into the kiln to be fired.  With my kiln the process takes approximately one hour.  If I am painting the pendant, waiting for the paint to cure then baking it again this can take a further day and a half.  Further time is spent putting on the bail and making the necklace, this takes one day due to curing time.  So really a pendant can take from 1 -3 days to make.


You are a supporter of work HANDMADE IN SCOTLAND.  Is there a website for this?  How can readers find out more about it?

You know the internet is a big place and Scotland is a very small country.  Small, yet talented. Like all other small countries in the world including our neighbours within the UK …. England, Ireland and Wales I feel strongly that our arts and crafts should be promoted to the rest of the world.

Abstract Fused Glass Pendant by Fiona Macneil

If you are interested in supporting small countries then I suggest using search engines for specific crafting areas which interest you within the country of your choice.  There is also a facility within Etsy which allows you to shop “locally.”  Again, just type in the country of your choice.

Although I do not work for the ‘Scottish Tourist Information’ service … lol … their website can be found on-line at http://www.visitscotland.com/

I am also a member of the only ‘Scottish Team ‘ on Etsy.  It’s called McEtsy … great name!  If you want to find work from Scotland from this group of ladies then just type McEtsy into your search whilst on the Etsy site.

Glass Pendant by Fiona Macneil

Purchase Fiona’s products at http://www.fionamacneil.etsy.com.

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