Glass Artist
Cockpit Arts

refresh Back to YouTube version

Sue K

00:00:04 My name’s Sue K, and at the moment I’m working with glass in a very contemporary way. So – a lot of people understand stained glass but this is something more modern, it’s called fused glass. And I work to commission, doing projects for interiors. So everything from small wall tiles, to wall panels, to door panels, to hopefully bigger pieces.

00:00:31 When I was at school I liked English, but I loved Art the best, that was my favourite subject. And I think I knew then that that was something I wanted to follow. So I did O level Art, and A level Art, and then I went to a Foundation course for a year. Wanted to do Fine Art, but everybody said you won’t earn money doing Fine Art. My father was quite a guiding influence at that time, and said you do have to think about how you’re going to feed yourself, and have a roof over your head. So he encouraged me to look at more of the commercial design, so I applied to do an Interior Design course.

00:01:15 I worked in Interior Design, for companies, for about five years and loved it. I met some fantastic people, but unfortunately it was a time when a few of us were being made redundant, because a lot of projects were being cancelled, so I was made redundant. I felt suddenly that I wasn’t part of society, and obviously not earning money. I didn’t want to sign on, I thought I’ve got to try and keep myself going, and because I liked drawing and painting, I started making Christmas Cards, and started selling them. Just as another way of trying to earn some money. So that kept me going really.

00:02:00 Contact I had from when I was working at my last design company called me up, because I’d done a little bit of freelance work for him. And he said Could you come down to the hotel, because we need some schemes doing, and I think you can help us out. So of course I said Yes OK I’ll do it! Cycled back home thinking OK, somehow I have to do this. Got two schemes together, got them on some foam board, and then couriered them up the next day, so it was with his boss on the Wednesday lunchtime in Birmingham. And they said Great, we love the work. So from that, I then got work with Holiday Inn for the next few years. So without me really planning it, id set up on my own.

00:02:52 Well at the moment with my glass work, I’d love to have a project that went into some schools and hospitals. I love seeing people’s responses when they see glass, because I think it is such a beautiful material, and if what you’re producing can make that little difference to somebody, or they just go away with a nice impression of something that they’ve seen, then it’s nice to know that you’ve been part of it.

00:03:20 I think for me it’s the people I’ve met that have been so important, and we all need those people in our lives as friends, as mentors. So yes, it’s just letting things come into your life as well, is really important. Because I think often it’s the things that you’re not worrying about that will happen, all the things you worry about often don’t happen. So I try and have that sort of philosophy a bit as well.


Sue K is a Glass Artist based at Cockpit Arts. She’s an interior designer and set up her own business almost by mistake. She’d been made redundant and was making cards to earn some money, when her ex-boss asked her to suggest designs for Holiday Inn. They loved them and she got a lot of work from them over the next few years.

More information about Glass and ceramics makers, decorators and finishers

average salary

The UK average salary is £29,813

average weekly hours

There are 37.5 hours in the average working week

46%  male 
54%  female 

The UK workforce is 47% female and 53% male

Future employment

Future employment?

? Glass and ceramics workers, form, shape, decorate, smooth and polish glassware, earthenware, refractory goods, clay bricks and other ceramic goods.
There are no formal academic entry requirements. Training is typically provided on-the-job. NVQs/ SVQs at Levels 1, 2 and 3 are available in some areas.
  • Uses hand tools and operates machinery to heat, bend, shape, press, drill and cut glass;
  • Makes artificial eyes, laminated glass sheets or blocks, glass fibre tissue, wool, filament and matting, marks optical lenses and assembles rimless spectacles;
  • Makes models and moulds from moulding clay and plaster for use in the making and casting of pottery and other ceramic goods;
  • Throws, casts and presses clay by hand or machine to form pottery, stoneware or refractory goods such as bricks, crucibles, ornaments, sanitary furnishings, saggars, cups, saucers, plates and roofing tiles;
  • Cuts and joins unfired stoneware pipes to form junctions and gullies, moulds sealing bands on clay pipes, prepares and joins porcelain or earthenware components and assists crucible makers and stone workers with their tasks;
  • Applies decorative designs and finishes to glassware, optical glass and ceramic goods by grinding, smoothing, polishing, cutting, etching, dipping, painting or transferring patterns or labels.
Employment by region
Top 10 industries for this job
Other non-metallic 1907
Construction 1760
Food & beverage services 1387
Retail trade 1138
Employment status

From personal careers advice to finding work, see our round-up of
useful websites to help you on your way

Explore more videos by: