“I am always exploring new ideas often using traditional techniques.”
Chris Brown is Glasswoman, well known for her beautiful piece of stained glass titled – ‘Plank Attack’ on Worthing Pier.
“It commemorates the sinking of the Ice Prince and the wood that washed ashore in January 2008. This is my first public art and I feel very honoured to have my work on permanent display in my home town.”
Chris is currently exhibiting alongside other local artists in the Worthing Museum as part of the Rough with the Smooth exhibition.
Chris also teaches at Northbrook College and works on restorations. We started this interview back in July with Chris, she has had a busy year with teaching and a house move, and is now settled in her new studio in Ferring.
Do you have positive/negative memories of art when you were at school?
I liked art at school but it was not ‘taught’ you could either do it or not. My work was border line I would say.
My whole schooling was quite negative, my heart and soul was not at school.
When I was 48 (not long ago) I was diagnosed as being dyslexic so it makes more sense now! I graduated as a tutor this year, fantastic! I was given an outstanding achievement award!
What would your school report have said about your art?
Stop day dreaming!
Did you go on to further education in art or are you self-taught?
I did Adult and Community learning, starting with evening classes in cake decoration for 3 years, then much later nearly 4 in stained glass then 2 years in creative painting. I now regularly go on courses all over the country collecting new skills in glasswork. I am on a course right now in Essex and can’t wait to put it into my work…watch this space next year I should have some new creations.
I did not study art full time and have been given different views, some have said that I should take a degree in art and others have told me not to as my style would change. Maybe when I retire for pleasure?
What or who has inspired you over the years?
My Nan wanted to fly on Concord but died before she did. So if you fancy doing something, only you can make it happen, no one else.
Every now and then I think…I’m sure I could do that. Naivety is a great thing, how many times have I heard ‘if I knew what was involved first I would not have done it…’ best not to know just have ago if you fancy it. I wanted a stained glass window and front door but could not afford to pay anyone so, off I went to learn how to do it…look where it has got me, hooked!
What Artists do you admire?
I like Barbara Hepworth’s hospital paintings they are fantastic. I like and maybe don’t like John Pipers windows, the emotion they create is very clever. Chagal’s windows are not really my cup of tea but they are incredible, I really admire his age when he was creating. It was not until 1956, when he was nearly 70 years of age, that he designed windows for the church at Assy, his first major project. What an inspiration!
I really like medieval art.
What is your favourite piece of work (your own and someone else)?
I like St Margaret’s Chapel in London, next door to Westminster Abbey. I won’t say why but just walk around and boy what a contrast in windows! It’s free to get in.
What have you sacrificed for your art?
Time, time, ummm more time! I missed my sisters wedding reception this year because I was teaching, it was booked and just had to go ahead! But I was one of her bridesmaids in a beautiful candlelight service.
What’s the best bit of advice that has been given to you?
Be true to yourself. If you’re not it just creeps up on you anyway so you may as well accept it in the first place.
What advice would you give to an aspiring artist/craftsperson?
Do what makes you happy. If someone wants you to do something that’s not you, politely decline. Its OK to say ‘no’. If its not your thing it, wont be your best work anyway and feeling pressured does not let creative juices flow.
How do you start a piece of work?
By thinking…and thinking, and drawing, sorry doodling, then doodling, then rubbing out and doodling some more. I need space to dream..
When is it finished?
When I safely hand it over, once started it feels precious, like a new born baby. Not until its safely in its new owners hands can I relax.
Do you have a lucky or favourite something that you use that has been with you forever?
Nope, I’m not superstitious.
Are you living your dream through your art or do you have one – what do you strive for?
I’m starting to. I love teaching and meeting like minded people. Without my art work my life would be sad. I would like it to be full time, I am getting there, a step at a time.
Is there anything you avoid with your art?
When being commissioned I need to be given some artistic license. If the customer is too prescriptive I feel suffocated. If you like my work and wish me to make for you I need to be allowed to do that, we will work together but I need a little freedom.
I try not to take on too much but anyone who knows me will say ‘you do too much’ then I think… but what could I stop? I thrive on being busy. As long as I have thinking time I’m fine. My head is full of projects and ideas but I could do with far more time to get it all out. Time again!
Fascinating Chris…Thank you so very much. I think we have photographed you now on 4 different occasions, each one has been an absolute pleasure. We love your work….
To see what Chris is up to visit :