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Jane Hamill Sunday Artist Interview

Over the next coming Sundays I shall be posting my own artist interviews with some of my favourite people who reside in this multitalented world of art… Today we have the the wonderful Jane Hamill to answer a few questions… over to you Jane!

First of all, who are you?

My name is Jane Hamill and I’m currently based in Wigan.  I’m a self employed artist, specialising in copper work (as Steamjunque) and flameworked glass (as Jane Hamill Art Glass).

My copper work is inspired by but not always limited to the steampunk aesthetic.  My designs are either based on vintage images or are original digital designs drawn by me.  I etch the designs into copper (non-regular shapes are all hand-cut by me) and turn them into whatever I fancy, from brooches and earrings to hanging decorations and framed pieces.

My glass work is a little more scarce these days, having given way to the copper work but I do still return to it and really love working in the medium.  Glass is so beautiful to watch as it’s melting!  I make both beads and cabochons (flat-backed pieces that can be set into jewellery) but, more recently, I’ve concentrated more on making cabochons.

My style is mostly serendipitous but I did develop a unique technique  – Rainbow Tie-Dye –  which has become my signature style.  It’s very adaptable to whatever I’m making, whether it’s beads or cabochons.  My Dragon’s Eye cabochons have also proved quite popular and I love making them as the technique can be slightly unpredictable, so each one is completely unique – which can be awkward if you want a pair of them!

When you were asked (all those years ago!), “what do you want to be when you grow up?”  What did you answer?

The only answer I can remember giving was “a teacher” but I think I said that because I was at school for a majority of the week, so it was the only occupation I ever really saw in action.  I ended up working in I.T. until my health meant I couldn’t go out to work anymore.  Some might see that as a drawback but, on the contrary, it freed me from a career that I was good at but didn’t enjoy and allowed me to slowly make my way back to art.

What is the funniest thing as an artist that has ever happened to you?

This is a boring answer, I’m afraid, but I can’t think of anything…

Oh, wait!  There was the first time I tried to use small brass pieces in a lampwork bead.  I hadn’t seen any warnings that said I shouldn’t put the brass directly in the flame.  The result was a huge greeny-yellow flame that scared me so much, I actually screamed!  Thankfully, I was by myself and there was no video or audio evidence – I am so glad this was one of the days I hadn’t chosen to switch on my webcam!

And there was the time I won a lampwork competition (the prize was a rather posh new torch I’d lusted after for months) with a bead called “Two-and-a-half-hours-and-a-burnt-hand” because that’s what I’d put into making it.

What is the hardest part of being creative?

Fighting Imposter Syndrome.  I think a lot of people suffer with that, though, whether they have a creative job or not.

What advice would you give to an artist just starting out?

Just do it!  Also, “done is better than perfect” is the best piece of advice I’ve been given.  It’s stopped me from agonising over details that, ultimately, only I would notice.  Remember, your audience doesn’t know what you intended in the first place.

What subjects inspire you?

Anything and everything – I have a bit of a butterfly mind.  More recently Steampunk and vintage have inspired me a lot but other interests do creep in there.  At the moment I’m developing my “Achievement brooches” designs to reflect more of my geeky and retro computing side.

Who are the 3 greatest living artists in your opinion? (they don’t have to be famous!)

I don’t know about greatest but the first of my favourites (oh so many!) to spring to mind are:

 – Andy Goldsworthy
 – Dale Chihuly
 – Vicky Lindo & Bill Brookes (disclaimer: Bill is my cousin but I would like their work anyway!)

Who are the 3 greatest dead artists in your opinion?

(see my initial comment in the living artist category!)

 – Alexander Calder
 – Arthur Rackham
 – Chuck Jones

What is your favourite work of art you have ever produced?That’s a really difficult one to answer because there have been many pieces that, when finished, made me stand back and think “Did I really make that?”.  You need an answer though, so today I’ll say it’s this large Rainbow-Tie Dye cabochon.  The technique worked *really* well and at 4cm (just over 1½ inches) in diameter, it was the biggest cabochon I’d made up to that point (I’ve actually made bigger since!). I felt like I’d really achieved something with this piece.

Tomorrow, though, my answer might be different….

What was the last piece of art you sold?

At the time of writing, it was my Swans By Moonlight brooch.

And finally… Because this is really important….

What’s the best type of cheese?  (haha)

Too easy and I can be really specific with this one – Stilton from the Long Clawson dairy! and and

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