Monday, 18 June 2012

Sketchbook Peeks - Niki Walters

Hi there, my name is Niki J Walters and I am a glass artist, amongst other things. I was always creative as a child, but it took until I was 25 to finally get myself to University and complete a Degree in Decorative Arts, where I began working with Kiln Formed Glass for the first time. I instantly worked big, developing bowls and plates, focusing in the colours and textures that I could trap within the layers. I completed my degree and continued to train to be a teacher, whilst setting up my glass studio in Derbyshire. I have not been both a full time teacher and glass artists for a year. This year I had my first trade fair at BCTF in Harrogate and as a result have work available in several galleries around the UK.

I have used sketch books since at college, some 12 years ago. I always have one with me regardless of where I go. I often go though bursts of using my sketch book. I have times where I am really inspired and will use it daily, but other times it may sit in my bag for days without seeing the light of day. I always take my sketch book with me when I travel somewhere new, as I can always guarantee that I will see something that I will doodle about at the very least to inspire me later.

I always feel pressure when starting a new sketch book. I want them to be exciting and interesting to others, but often my first page is filled with single words that for one reason or another I like or want to remember, but mean little to others. Designs and doodles are so new that I may begin working from the back to the front, so that the opening pages are full of life, ideas and are more refined.

I am inspired by so many things. Nature plays a huge part in my work. I love the way that colours and light dance around on water, and sometimes try to recreate that, which I then try to recreate in glass. I am really lucky as I live on a farm. Colours can be found everywhere from the sunset, to the pond, to the patterns found in chicken feathers.

My creative process is very free. I often decide on the colours I want to use before I decide what I want to paint, draw or create. I’m all about the colour. I often paint using ink and love the freedom, along with the fact that you have to go for it with ink. Once it’s on the page there is no going back!

I draw using ink and apply it using a stick or the wrong end of a paintbrush. I don’t know why, but I prefer it. My drawing style is a little different also as I often overlap images. I found that when I did this I would feel that the pages were full and exciting to look at. When I find a shape or style that I like, I would highlight it in someway.

My sketch books have developed over the years. Initially my sketch books show that I was desperate to be creative. Desperate to hit on something that inspired me. These days I know that I am all about texture and colour, so often pages are simply a mass of colour. I don’t necessarily feel that I need to paint something. I simply create colours and explore how they look together.

In my sketchbooks I enjoy working with ink, as it’s strong, vibrant and once it’s on there, there is no going back. Ink is translucent, so I like to build up the colours exploring what depth I can create from layering. I often use fine liners over the top of the ink paintings once dry. Often the ink painting takes on a new form, such as a sunset or sky line.

I don’t currently have a favourite sketch book, however am most fond of a small sketch book I have which is from beginning to end a mass of mixed ink paintings.

I do have one favourite page, and I don’t really know why. The ink painting is very seed like and I simply feel that the colours work really well and the image is complete and complimentary.

I'd like to thank Niki for taking part in my Sketchbook Peeks series. If you want to find out a bit more about the lady behind the blog post you can visit her own website here, you can follow her blog here and you can follow her on Twitter  @njwhouseofglass

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