What is the name and background behind your company?
My company is Flaming Lily Glass. I've been fascinated by glass for a long time and after experimenting with it for a number of years, I finally took the plunge and set up my own design business. The name itself comes from a trip into the bush with my mother in Botswana, where she is from. We were driving through a muted landscape of browns and yellows when we came to a clearing where a stunning red lily was in full bloom. The light made it look as if the flower was on fire and the image has never left me.
Where are you based?
Southeast London. I live in Brockley and my studio is in neighbouring Nunhead.
How long have you been in business for?
Four or five years now. In many ways it feels like I've been doing it forever (in a good way!) as I feel I’m doing what I was meant to be doing.
What do you love most about living in London?
I love the fact that the world comes to London. I find the mix of people and cultures (including British!) exciting. I had terrible wanderlust when I was younger and now that I can no longer just take off to another country for a few months here or there, I love the fact that I can still discover something or somewhere new in the city where I live.
Who or what inspires you?
This can quite a difficult question to answer as I find inspiration all over the place and it’s hard to narrow it down. First and foremost though, I’m probably inspired by colour. I’m also very drawn to Japanese art and design, patterns in architecture, 20s and 30s design, as well as old books, and sometimes even just words and phrases that resonate with me.
What advice would you give designers starting out?
It’s rather a cliché but I think the best thing you can do is stick at it and stay true to yourself. Also try not to overload yourself with information if you’re starting something completely new to you, such as running a business. That’s definitely a mistake I made: I took courses, read hundreds of blogs, listened to anyone willing to talk to me about it. I followed so much conflicting advice, without really considering whether it was good for me and my business, I ended up getting knocked off course more than once. I’m not saying you don’t need advice and information, you definitely do, but just remember it’s okay to pick and choose.
What is new for your company?
Lanterns! I've been wanting to do some for ages, light and glass are natural companions after all, and after some trial and error and a lot of experimenting with adhesives I’ve come up with a design that I’m really happy with. I’ve started making some and hope to have them for sale on my website before Christmas.