Jo Crompton is a Christchurch artist who enjoys creating things in a range of media. She is especially interested in the way colours can evoke feelings and memories of places and events. Jo’s work with copper foiled stained glass is a playful attempt to capture the effect of the sun bouncing off ocean waves, flowers waving in the wind, and leaves fluttering in the breeze!
She is also interested in making use of materials that are left over from other purposes, and recycling where possible. With that in mind a large proportion of the glass she uses is offcuts from a lead lighting workshop, and the copper wire is from a scrap metal merchant.
What do you make?
I make copperfoiled glass lightcatchers in lots of shapes and sizes, cute businesscard holders, and other ideas as inspiration takes me! I am also making sterling silver and copper jewellery.
Your favourite materials, tools and processes?
My favourite tool is my Dremel drill an associated bits and pieces. All those different drill bits and polishers! The drill press part is fabulous! It is useful in so many areas of work, both glass and metal, and also for drilling holes for the binding when I make my home-made workbooks!
I love coloured glass as a material. It glows and the textured pieces reflect the light with such beauty. I love how small pieces of intense colour can catch your attention and lift you out of your ordinary surroundings for a few moments. My favourite processes are the creative start to something new, a torrent of scribbly drawings and lots of,”What if I do this, what happens then?” questions. And then the final polish and hanging up of a piece in the window after all the “doing” of making.
Working with silver and copper has another set of skills and techniques, but there are areas that cross over with working with glass too. Incorporating gemstones in my jewellery adds a dimension of colour quite like the accents of coloured glass in my lightcatchers too. I enjoy that I can work with finer details and shapes in metal and the use of more precious metals.
What inspires you?
Colour, texture, light, nature, the sea, gypsy folksy music where you can hear something of the people playing – the squeak of their fingers on a string or the intake of breath as they perform – lots of how-to books, the Fauves, Impressionists and Expressionists! Everywhere I look there is something new to think about!
Is there a philosophy behind your work?
The ideas behind my work are to create something that brings a little beauty into your life, or something that makes you smile. I enjoy being able to use simple materials, embellishing their surfaces and combining shape, colour, and texture to make something evocative. I also like to make use of recycled materials where possible, and plan to include more found materials and objects as I develop my designs further.
Describe your workspace: Busy, chaotic, too small, a place where magic happens.
Five words that describe your mind: Busy, alert, colourful, playful, open.
What are you currently listening to?
Radio New Zealand, no adverts, and I turn it off if the interviews get annoying!
Recommend an album: Sarah Brown
Your favourite childhood book?
I read everything as a child, anything I could lay my hands on, so there are many favourites. I think Winnie the Pooh when I was younger, Just So Stories by Rudyard Kipling, and I discovered The Lord of the Rings when I was 13. They are all still part of our bookshelf and get revisited now and then!
What are you reading now? Three Pretty Widows by Barbara Else
Do you have any pets?
We have a one toothed, bung-eyed, tortoiseshell cat who has made us her retirement plan.
If you were a crayon, what colour would you be? Some days purple, some days orange!
You can see Jo’s glass and jewellery in her Felt shop, Wishing Tree, and she’ll be at Riccarton Market every second week leading up to Christmas: 8 & 22 November and 6 & 20 December, as well as The Night Market at Our City O-Tautahi on Thursday 3 December. Head along, say hi and check out her beautiful creations!