Jackie Henshall (BA Fine Art, Central College of Art and Design, London) exhibited initially as a painter in East Anglia, spending many days under her fisherman’s umbrella painting the salt marshes of Suffolk and Norfolk. After moving to Wales (1999) she established SMALL BEAUTIES a successful design business working out from a renovated woollen mill in Carmarthenshire. There she produced a unique range of giclee prints, greeting cards and papercraft which were distributed through the Uk, Germany, Holland, Denmark, Australia and New Zealand. She has has one man shows at Aberglasney, The National Botanic Gardens of Wales and Waunifor and her designs have been featured in several books. In 2010 she set up a glass studio in the mill and has since then focused on exploring this new media with much excitement and delight.
For Jackie, changing from painting to fused glass has been like learning a new language, a language that includes circles and curved spaces, insides in relation to outsides, transmitted light as well as reflected light, and of course the mysterious language of temperature. Best of all has been the intensity of process, to be able to work on 3 or 4 layers at the same time, only combining them at the end for the firing transformation and then the surprise on opening up the kiln.
Her work itself has many starting places, a sketch, a photograph, a poem, a curiosity, a walk up the hill, as multiple as her everyday experiences. “What I try to do is secure a process that is new, open and revelatory. So although I may do a series of pieces exploring an experience, I try to start fresh with each piece. I believe the process is the most important thing, and if I can ensure it is fresh and alive, there is a better chance that the final piece will have that something extra.”
Her other great interest is language, and she can not resist including words inside many of her designs as part of the creation story of a piece, often almost hidden, as another layer of meaning.