Meet the Maker: Lucy Laslett
Lucy Laslett creates flower preservation designs inspired by the Northumberland countryside
Tell us about your business. As a glass and flower preservation artist I use stained glass techniques to create unique pieces filled with nature. I’m probably best known for my candle holders and little hanging diamonds, but I also specialise in commissioned pieces where I preserve flowers from the important moments in people’s lives.
How did you get into design? I have no formal training, but from a young age I have always loved crafting and creating things. I did textiles and art at A-level and decided not to go to university, but instead focus on practicing all kinds of different crafts in my spare time in the hope of one day starting my own business and selling my creations. I tried stained glass for the first time in 2019 and have learnt everything I know from the internet, YouTube and a lot of practice.
Where do you get your inspiration from? I love nature and walking in a beautiful landscape, and looking out for new flowers growing around me. I love watching the seasons change too and spotting the first snowdrop of the year, or the first daffodil of spring. I also love watching other artists work online, although I try not to follow too many people in my own field so that my style continues to feel authentically me, but there are so many amazing ceramicists, painters, and other creators that inspire me every single day.
Talk us through your artistic process. There are seven main processes to making one of my designs. First, picking the flowers and pressing them using one of my many flower presses. All flowers dry at different rates but I usually leave mine for four to six weeks. I then cut the glass shapes that I need for that particular design, and start arranging the flowers. I move the flowers around until I’m happy with how they are arranged and then use tiny spots of glue to keep them in place. This is by far the most time-consuming part for me, but it’s also my favourite part of the process – I see it as painting, but with flowers. Next, I use copper foil, which is like copper Sellotape, to hold the glass together and then I solder the edges. The final part is to thoroughly clean, patina and polish each item. Patina is a chemical that changes the colour of the solder, so everything I make can be finished with black, silver or copper edges.
What are you currently working on? I’m working on an A3 wall hanging using a client’s wedding flowers, and I will also be adding more hanging diamonds to my online shop this month. This means that my main job will be cutting out about 100 glass diamond shapes.
Do you have a favourite piece you’ve created? My favourite piece to date is probably an extra-large diamond filled with beautiful September wedding flowers. The colours of the bouquet were gorgeous and I love the way all the textures came together.
You offer special preservation of flowers, tell us more. I do! After your wedding day brides can post their bouquet and I will turn their flowers into a special keepsake for them. I press the flowers and once they’ve dried, I send a photo so we can discuss how they would like them displayed. So far, I’ve turned wedding bouquets into candle holders, trinket dishes, small hanging diamonds, large hanging diamonds, A3 frames, square frames, and a few more things.
What’s the best thing about what you do? Definitely being able to express myself creatively through my work, as well as the freedom you get from being your own boss. It can be overwhelming sometimes, and imposter syndrome is a hard thing to kick, but on the good days I get to walk into my studio and just make beautiful things.
One bit of advice you would give your younger self?
Get your timings right and understand how long each design takes you to make. In the beginning I was just making non-stop and I would look at a pile of 20 candle holders that needed polishing and think to myself ‘that will take about an hour’, but it wasn’t until I started timing myself that I realised these things took much longer.
Where do you see yourself in five years? So much can happen in five years, but I have a whole book of ideas that I’ve barely touched, so hopefully I’ll find the time to experiment with some of those. Having my own studio, with lots of natural light would be nice too.