I've had this idea for months, maybe even years now about raising funds to open a small hot glass studio of my own to make the glass.
I suppose up until now most people will have assumed I already have a workshop of my own.
But alas I do not.
The truth is, if this campaign does not work then I have to stop making glass.
(Shaping the hot glass)
Since 1998 it has been my dream to build my own hot glass studio, but I honestly never really saw this as a possibility until now.
Now I have a reason, a concept, vision and drive to make this work..
What I don't have right now is the funds.
Living in Northern Ireland means I have little if any access to the facilities I need to make the glass.
Up until now I have been renting a space from an amazing glass maker, which I knew at some stage would come to an end.
Well its come to an end..
So here I am about to launch this big crowdfunding campaign and ask folks to donate money to help me make in the region of £12K to build my own space..
So, why should you help me?
Firstly I want to continue making bespoke glass using human milk. I want to do this for a few reasons and they don't actually involve financial gain.
1. I am a qualified Advanced Cuidiu (Irish Childbirth Trust) Breastfeeding Counsellor, which means I support new mothers every day. I do this voluntarily and I love it. I can fully empathise with their trauma and pain when first trying to feed their infant and my role is to offer them informed, non judgemental support. I've just been nominated as 'Breastfeeding Volunteer of the Year' through Friends of Breastfeeding.. So I must be doing a good job in my role.
(Receiving my Cuidiu Breastfeeding Counsellor badge after 2 years of training)
2. I am a single mother.. OK, this does not give me the right to ask you to donate. But it is true and I raise my two young children with little support and have done for a few years now, which means I am usually juggling several jobs at once and as I am a bit of mother-holic (who isn't like) and workaholic I manage to get through it and end the day on a high.
(Me and the kiddos)
3. I absolutely LOVE making glass.. I mean from the top of my head through my whole being to the tips of my toes I feel euphoric when I am by the furnace.. I am driven to keep creating new ideas in glass. Challenging the norms.. I may not be the best glassblower in the world, but i'm original, I know that..
(Making hot glass, picture: Stephen McCauley)
4. I want to change the world... On this I am not kidding. I absolutely believe what I do can send out a very strong and positive message to the world about breastfeeding. Using my art to raise awareness around what we know to be a powerful medicine. Conversations that would otherwise never arise in day to day life will.. Even if the comments are negative about the work.. The conversation is still stirring and if I can send out even a small message to the world about this, then I will. I promise you that.
(Above picture taken at the Breast Wing of the City Hospital, Belfast featuring hand blown human milk infused glass breasts displayed on the wall, with student doctors using art as therapy training. Being inspired)
So there you are.. My reasons...
I am asking you to come with me on this journey. Be part of it in some small way..
What your money will do:
* provide a furnace built and shipped from England, which costs around £7K
* provide a glory hole costing around £2K
* provide a Kiln to anneal the glass costing around £2K
*provide a bench that I can work at, blow pipes and tools too costing around £2K
When this studio is up and running you are all welcome to come along and watch us work. I even hope to run some small classes in glassblowing down the line.. There are so many exciting ideas and I really do want to share them with you all.
So in a few days I will launch this campaign.
I will ask you to donate money to this.
You will have an option to buy a product that I will complete for you when the studio is up and running, or simply offer up money because you believe in me and what I am doing..
I am scared shitless... I really am..
But life is just to short not to try, as my beautiful friend Emma 'Dizzy' McLaughlin taught me.
(Large human milk infused glass breasts at London Glassblowing Gallery in May 2019)
Awesome Helen! Go baby go! You’re amazing! If anyone can get there it’s you! Can’t wait to donate xx