This weeks Interview is with the lovely Berni from Berni Benton Glass Art in the heart of Wales.
We love your beautiful creations but tell us a bit about the artist behind them.
I’m so excited that you love them! I’m a fifty-one year old, slightly eccentric lady who suffers from time to time with anxiety. It’s the latter that prompted me to take a look at my life and follow a different path. I live in a beautiful, tiny town of 800 people bang smack in the middle of Wales. Its called Llanwrtyd Wells and seems to attract the weird and wonderful. I fit in perfectly!
I have a studio in our home which is also a small bed and breakfast (Cerdyn Villa) and from here I fiddle around with art…. my passion over the last year or two alongside my stained glass, is acrylic painting and creating ‘space-scapes’ inspired by images from the Hubble telescope.
Other than dabbling in paint and running our B&B I garden for elderly neighbours, work a few shifts in the local caffi, blog, and commentate at some of our unusual events (You might want to look up Bog Snorkelling! )
I also (!!!) teach stained glass, make small light-catchers from my own designs and take on bigger window commissions.
Have you always been creative or did your talent evolve over time?
When I moved to Wales 14 years ago I had always had the feeling that there was some creativity at my core, but other than colour coordinating the decor in my house and keeping my garden I’d never actually explored any of my creativity. I’d not actually done anything artistic since school and even then I didn’t pursue O level (now GCSE) art. Being self employed I found I had more flexibility with my time and I joined an art class. Also, through living in a close knit community I met many creative and artistic people. One was a fused and stained glass artist. She was running some adult education courses in the local hall but didn’t have enough people to enable it to run, so I went along…. hey presto! Turns out I was pretty good at the stained glass thing.
What is it that you enjoy most about your work?
I absolutely love the freedom, flexibility and opportunity to express myself. With regard to teaching it, I love when a client leaves with a real sense of achievement and has surpassed themselves.
The best part is creating a new design and making the very first one of that design. That’s why I love the commissions… one offs that start with a few ideas from a customer that I can translate into drawings and then interpret with glass.
Have you achieved anything in your crafting life that you are particularly proud of?
I have!!! Two years ago I was invited to teach a community project which involved the creation of a window for the Year of The Welsh Legend. I was responsible for taking everyone’s ideas and coming up with a design for this massive 1.5m x 2.5 m semi circular window. I then had the honour of co-teaching 30 adults to work with stained glass and then help produce the final window, which was unveiled by Prince Charles in June 2017. Obviously I am proud of this iconic window that will be around long after I’m gone, but I am mostly proud of the community of people I have inspired and who continue to meet weekly to craft together (some still in stained glass, others in different media, but still supporting and inspiring each other.
Other than crafting what else do you like to do?
I love to paint. Acrylics are my medium of choice.
I love to garden too
…and write…I blog mostly because when the words and thoughts are in my head , they have to escape.
You can ready Berni’s Blog here http://rosetintedramblings.blog/
If you had to choose your favourite from your creations, which would it be?
My favourite creation is almost always the newest one!!! Although I think my stained glass floor lamp made from an old guitar for my son this Christmas, might just be my fave. But then again my Bluebirds of Happiness mobile is pretty special too…
What advice would you offer to someone new starting out in the craft world?
The most important thing is to enjoy what you do. Don’t worry about the quality, marketability, or what anyone else is doing, just do it because it’s good for your soul.
If you could change one thing about what you do, what would it be?
I would have a bigger studio and more hours in the day. Oops that’s two things! Ok, bigger studio, that would give me more time as I wouldn’t have to clear away between projects!
What do you think has helped your business the most?
It went from a hobby to a business when I started believing in myself. Although I still enjoy it like a hobby and obviously credit my friends with bolstering my self worth.
Has any person helped or supported you more than any other?
I know its a cliche, but it’s my Hubby. He gave me the time, confidence, space and ‘permission’ to spend time on being creative. He realised more than I did that it was beneficial to my mental well-being.
Tell us a random fact about yourself.
I am a member of the Official Monster Raving Loony Party; my alter-ego is Lady Lily The Pink.
How would our readers find you?
I’m over on Facebook at @BerniGlassArt
I blog at rosetintedramblings.blog
I have an Etsy shop BerniBentonGlassArt
I also promote my art via our B&B cerdynvilla.co.uk
And tweet from @Berni_Benton
Would you like to be interviewed by Creative Crafting?
You can find out how here http://creative-crafting.com/index.php/about-us/interview-submissions/