Today I'm back with a brand new collaboration, or better yet, a fresh face to add to the Creative Youth Archive. If you're unsure of what that is, the CYA is essentially just a bunch of creative young adults who I interview and discuss their hobbies and talents with. You may remember Swedish makeup artist Tova, South African musician Reuben (who recently launched his own EP!) and Dutch illustrator Yasha.
Today we're meeting Emma, an entrepreneur, girl boss (and just general badass) from England. I had found her account via a mutual person we follow on Instagram and I started a conversation, but it wasn't until a few months later that we started talking and I discovered Emma's hobby turnedbusiness. I knew at once that I had to interview her for the Creative Youth Archive section on my blog, so of course I had to reach out to her. To my delight, she said yes! We all know how excited I get for collaborations like these and it's so wonderful to see young adults be creative and do things they love. Below is the result of my chit-chat with Emma, I hope you enjoy and if you'd like to be featured, contact email@example.com!
Who are you and where are you from?
My name is Emma Bartley, I am 23 years old and live in Liverpool city centre, England.
What is your hobby and how did you discover it?
My hobby is glass marbling, painting mixed & messy patterns on glassware, plantpots, candles etc. I was making a birthday gift for my friend Elly and was feeling a bit stuck with a lot of the things I seen in stores, so I was going to attempt to make something for her. I had just been to IKEA recently and bought some stemless wine glasses and thought I could paint them, to jazz them up a bit. So, I began traveling through Pinterest to find an easy way to paint on them. I found that nail varnish was getting used a lot so I began marbling the glasses with nail varnish and really loved the effect! I posted a picture of them on Instagram and got a load of messages asking if I sell them. I began looking into how I could actually paint them and make it durable enough to be more than a hobby.
Are your designs something you’re trying to pursue professionally?
Yes, definitely! I’ve always been interested in abstract art and found this really therapeutic and fun so I wanted to do more of it. I’m constantly looking for new paints or glazes as I haven’t seen anyone else really doing exactly what I am doing but I would love to continue it as long as possible.
How did your glassware end up in one of your favourite bars in Liverpool?
On Berry St in Liverpool, there is this beautiful little French wine bar that feels so homely and lovely. They play live music all throughout the week, have lots of plants and fairy lights about and whenever I’m there I feel a bit like I’m at home. I was posting my glassware on Instagram and received a message from Paul, the owner of Petit Cafe Du Coin, when I was first started posting pictures and he asked if I could do a set for the bar which I obviously jumped at!
Do you sell your items online? Yes, I take orders through Instagram mainly, but I am looking into setting up an account on an established website (such as Etsy) to make things run more smoothly.
What inspires you and keeps you motivated to keep designing?
Colour inspires me, I just love messy abstract art. I’ve always loved just throwing paint on a canvas and making something for my bedroom but with this it feels a lot more refined. I really love the idea of small little pieces of chaos, livening up a corner with a marbled plant-pot. Seeing my pieces in use motivates me to continue. Although it’s hard with a full time, pretty demanding job, I just remember that I always feel better after a bit of painting.
How long does one piece take to do? Can you elaborate more on the process?
It really depends on what the project is for example the glassware I made for Petite Cafe Du Coin (PCDC) took a lot longer than expected as it had to be fully glasswash safe and the paints that are made for the most pleasing marbling visually wouldn’t last. The batch of 24 took me about two months, but now that I have done all my research and know what paint and specific techniques to use for the glasswash safe paint, I am able to do 24 glasses in two weeks. The plantpots are a lot less time consuming and can take a week to make and let cure. Depending on the effect I am going for I will either hydro drip or just create a marbling bath and play with paints until I am happy with the design and colour intensity and transfer it onto the desired item.
According to your Instagram you do glassware, plant pots and candle holders but also offer custom pieces. What kind of custom pieces have you done?
Most of my items are custom pieces and mainly glassware, but other things I have created are Christmas baubles, hanging candle holders, makeup brush holders, vases and jewellery boxes. The PCDC set is definitely the biggest order I have taken so far, but other custom items are sets of marbled Prosecco glasses for housewarming gifts, plant pots that people choose their own colours and style. I prefer to do custom pieces as the items feel more personalised.
Have you ever created designs for you personally?
Yes, definitely, I have a lot of plantpots in my apartment that I have made myself, wine glasses and candle holders. Anytime I test out something new I would like to sell, I begin by making what I would want and then use that as a base point to improve.
What is your favourite design this far?
I love my Jade & Amber glassware tumbler sets but I definitely love the plantpots the most. I have over 20 plants and love anything plant related. I have found that due to plants being a bit of a trend now, most plant shops in Liverpool at least try and make as much as they can off the trend and put plantpots at ridiculous prices. To be able to make interesting plantpots at a cheap price is definitely my favourite thing.
Fancy staying up to date with Emma? Have a look at her personal Instagram here and her design Instagram here.