Noreen Todd is a studio glass-maker make unique glassart.
She loves to pass on her expertise to would-be and fledgling glass-makers, and to this end has introduced a range of introductory courses in glass making at her studio, Bal Maiden Studio Glass. She has worked and trained with some of the most widely respected glass makers in the UK and abroad. At the age of 62, Noreen is a relative newcomer to the world of glass making, having taken this up as a hobby 10 years ago as a foil against her hectic professional life as a Chartered Accountant. She has now opened her own glass studio and gallery in Cornwall and is extremely active in kiln-formed glass making. Noreen is now introducing hot-worked glass and glass-blowing into her studio.
Noreen puts creativity before the need to be commercial which is why her highly affordable and unique work is full of surprises and unpredictability.
As a child, Noreen went to school in the North-East and later in Hertfordshire. Her aptitude for art was recognised at an early age. However, as a teenager she experienced parental and teacher pressure which persuaded her that Art was not a viable way to make a living. As a consequence Noreen turned to accountancy. She trained to be a Chartered Accountant in London and then St. Albans. She later specialised in taxation and small businesses. Even later, she specialised in American taxation, and spent a year in Toronto before returning to the UK to set up and run her own accountancy firm.
Noreen and her husband Roger have two children, David (a successful personal trainer in London) and Samantha (too busy running around after Noreen’s 2 month old, 2yr old and 4yr old grandsons, Harrison, Rory and Riley, to contemplate doing much with her accountancy training at the present time).
During Noreen’s ‘mid-life crisis’ she turned back to art. She was persuaded to apply for an Art Foundation course by her part-time tutor, and enrolled at the University of Hertfordshire. She followed this with a degree in Contemporary Crafts at University College, Falmouth, graduating in 2007. Noreen later studied at the International Glass Centre in Brierley Hill, where she was introduced to glass blowing and instantly became bewitched by the medium’s immediacy and spontaneity.
‘Glass is a seductive and versatile material to work with’ comments Noreen ‘and I am fascinated by its magical qualities of translucency, transparency and reflection. My pieces appeal to a wide audience. They are designed to be lived with and enjoyed, and these qualities create a sense of mystery within the art work as the light is seemingly simultaneously gathered up and emitted in ever changing patterns’.
Noreen is inspired by whatever is around her, both organic and man-made. She is equally at home making moulds from weeds and other organic materials as she is using polystyrene, bubble-wrap and kitchen foil (to name but a few) . She also regularly creates conceptual pieces which reflect her specific concerns over women’s’ issues.
Noreen still has so much that she wants to do. ‘There is always so much more to learn and so many new ideas, techniques and other challenges to master. I will shortly be moving into my new studio and introducing hot-working to compliment my kiln-worked and cold-worked glass’.
‘The adventure is only just beginning’.