Amanda Simmons | Studio Insights | Indian Pacific Collection

04 Feb 2021

This February we are escaping the Scottish winter with our joint exhibition Two Hemispheres, featuring work from glass artist Amanda Simmons and willow artist Lise Bech. Amanda brings us a new collection transporting us to sunnier climates with her colourful designs inspired by the Southern Hemisphere.

Originally trained in Biomedical Sciences (Pharmacology) and Clinical Sciences, Amanda became interested in glass in 2002 after a stained glass course with Ray Bradley and then pursued a postgraduate in Glass and Architecture from Central St Martins College of Art and Design, London, in 2004.

Amanda Simmons | Studio Insights | Indian Pacific Collection
Amanda Simmons in her studio, 2021, photo: Kim Ayres Photography

Amanda is based in Dumfries and Galloway - her studio in chilly Scotland a far cry from the Australian sun-baked landscape that inspired her new work. To create the wonderful colour and pattern on the surface of her vessels, Amanda draws into layers of powdered glass before fusing this mark-making in place within the kiln.

I make kiln formed glass objects, playing with gravity in the kiln. Manipulating mass, heat, colour and time I aim to create complex, elusive work that has intense colour and pattern which reacts to the light it is placed in. I use opaque glass powders to construct my work because of its varying translucency as the form elongates in the kiln. I finish the kiln fired pieces using many cold working processes to shape and mark the glass including sandblasting, hand lapping and diamond point and wheel engraving.

Amanda Simmons, 2021
Amanda Simmons | Studio Insights | Indian Pacific Collection
Powdered glass
Amanda Simmons | Studio Insights | Indian Pacific Collection
Amanda's studio, Dumfries and Galloway

Much of my new work has been influenced by an epic train journey across Australia, from Perth to Sydney, travelling through vast areas of open bushland. Colour, texture, light and pattern constantly moving and viewed through a large screen. I'd watch for hours, trying to fathom this wonderfully complicated country, whilst catching glimpses of the wildlife who live there.

Amanda Simmons, 2021
Amanda Simmons | Studio Insights | Indian Pacific Collection
Amanda's research exploration
Amanda Simmons | Studio Insights | Indian Pacific Collection
The Australian landscape in a blur, viewed from the train window
Amanda Simmons | Studio Insights | Indian Pacific Collection
Remnants of wildlife

The hours and hours of mostly nothing put you in a meditative state of where you start to see everything, this mimics the feeling of how I work. Once I have the raw powders placed on the glass and I start to mark make I can spend several hours creating patterns and movement across the piece.

Amanda Simmons, 2021
Amanda Simmons | Studio Insights | Indian Pacific Collection
Amanda at work, mark-making in a powdered glass layer before kiln-firing

In the short film clip below Amanda gives a glimpse into the process of creating some of the Rawlinna, Small Vessels (Indian Pacific Collection).

The Indian Pacific Collection

The Cook, Indian Pacific Collection collection comes from experiencing the land on some scheduled stops along a stretch of land known as the Nullobor (no trees). A similar feeling to some residencies I've had in Caithness where the experience of the land and sky coming together with no interruption fills you with awe.

Amanda Simmons, 2021

Enjoy our short film below as Amanda Simmons welcomes us into her studio where we focus on pieces from her Cook, Indian Pacific Collection.

Amanda Simmons | Studio Insights | Indian Pacific Collection
Cook, Large Round Deep Tray (Indian Pacific Collection), 2020, kilnformed glass powders, sandblasted, H8 x D54 cm
Amanda Simmons | Studio Insights | Indian Pacific Collection
Cook, Large Curved Vessel (Indian Pacific Collection), 2020, kilnformed glass powders, sandblasted, H7 x W22 x L48 cm
Amanda Simmons | Studio Insights | Indian Pacific Collection
Cook, Large Curved Vessel reverse (Indian Pacific Collection), 2020, kilnformed glass powders, sandblasted, H7 x W22 x L48 cm
Amanda Simmons | Studio Insights | Indian Pacific Collection
Cook, Large Round Deep Tray (Indian Pacific Collection) detail, 2020, kilnformed glass powders, sandblasted, H8 x D54 cm
Amanda Simmons | Studio Insights | Indian Pacific Collection
Rawlinna, Large Round Deep Tray (Indian Pacific Collection), 2020, kilnformed glass powders, sandblasted, H8 x D54 cm
Amanda Simmons | Studio Insights | Indian Pacific Collection
Rawlinna, Large Round Deep Tray (Indian Pacific Collection), 2020, kilnformed glass powders, sandblasted, H8 x D54 cm

Two Hemispheres runs until the 27th of February and Amanda's full collection can be viewed online here.

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