Samantha Sweet

"making keeps me sane"

What do you make?

Functional hand-blown glass vessels decorated with traditional cutting. I started working with glass over 20 years ago, improving my making skills in small studios and then doing an MA at the RCA.

Why crystal?

Cut crystal glassware has fallen out of favour somewhat. I did a residency at Broadfield House Glass Museum and got hooked on the craftsmanship and visual impact of cutting into the glass. Now I am using these classic techniques on contemporary forms. My work’s not an everyday purchase – cut crystal never was – but it’s a functional product to enjoy and to enhance a home, restaurant or hotel. I like to think I’m preserving the threads that flow through our society – from our predecessors who used craft objects in their daily lives.

How has your work evolved?

I’ve always had a wish to make my living from craft. Going to the Royal College of Art was fundamental and stretched me beyond my beloved blowing bench. Design became more important than the making process itself. Being creative is therapy, it keeps me sane. Designing is the freedom to dream and making is physically cathartic

Where do you work?

I live in London and I love it, but space is expensive. I built my own studio and I rent equipment as I need it. This gives me the flexibility I need to balance the books.

Ambitions?

To launch a range of functional glassware and to have a new studio in North London with enough space for teaching glassblowing.

And advice?

Try to work with as many materials as you can. Don’t ignore the business side of being a craftsman or you’ll run out of money very quickly!