Monique Low's Profile

About

My love of nature was sparked at an early age, ironically, not by nature itself, but by a book that was popular at the time, called ‘The Diary of an Edwardian Lady’. It was the posthumous publication of the nature notes of Edith Holden who died in 1920 and featured her musings and more importantly, her lovely drawings of the natural world around her. Quite how I ended up with this book, as a six year old, I’m not sure, but it instilled in me a love of nature and the inspiration to start drawing it. Flowers, in particular, were a favourite of mine, not just because they are, of course, beautiful, but because they have the decency not to move when you are trying to draw them!

In a lot of my work, there is a bit of a vintage theme which I can’t really put down to anything in particular, other than a wish to recreate pieces that people will want to treasure. So much of what we buy now is…

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  • Female
  • Born on October 15
  • Joined October 9, 2012

Favorite materials

Glass, glass paint, fine bone china

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ToastedGlass
Toasted Glass

About

My love of nature was sparked at an early age, ironically, not by nature itself, but by a book that was popular at the time, called ‘The Diary of an Edwardian Lady’. It was the posthumous publication of the nature notes of Edith Holden who died in 1920 and featured her musings and more importantly, her lovely drawings of the natural world around her. Quite how I ended up with this book, as a six year old, I’m not sure, but it instilled in me a love of nature and the inspiration to start drawing it. Flowers, in particular, were a favourite of mine, not just because they are, of course, beautiful, but because they have the decency not to move when you are trying to draw them!

In a lot of my work, there is a bit of a vintage theme which I can’t really put down to anything in particular, other than a wish to recreate pieces that people will want to treasure. So much of what we buy now is ‘throwaway’, but this would have been unthinkable fifty years ago. As we progress towards an age where anything can be reproduced on a digital printer, it’s natural that there should be some reaction against it. Being brought up in Glasgow, Charles Rennie Mackintosh, who designed the Glasgow School of Art was a big influence and similarly, I had a great love of artists of the era, such as Klimt, Gaudi and Mucha which might go some way to explain my style.

Some of the pieces I create are very intricate and time consuming, such as the Peacocks and the Lace design. I have a terrible habit of creating complex designs that I love without factoring in the feasibility of painting them over and over again - the Lace design on a pair of champagne flutes takes a couple of hours, just for the painting!

I start the painting process with a blank piece of glass or china - I try to source reasonably priced pieces with simple, elegant shapes. I then mix the colours to get the shades I need - I use a range of glass paints that can be heated in a conventional oven to permanently fix the colour - and begin by outlining the design. The outliner I use is a little like a tiny tube of toothpaste and needs a steady hand to keep the lines even. When the outliner has air dried, I fill in the colours that I specially mixed. This needs to dry for about half a day and is then fired on using a conventional oven. Finally, when the piece has cooled, it is hand washed and polished with a soft cloth before it gets carefully packaged for posting. Packaging is extremely important when sending glass through the post and cannot be scrimped on. After spending so much time creating something, it would be crazy to send it without proper care.

I originally began by painting on glass, but less than a year ago, decided to move into china ware as well. This was in part, due to my association with the Secret Tea Society, of which I am a member. I discovered the Society through twitter and loved the idea of meeting up with interesting ladies to take tea (and cake!) and spark some intelligent (well, mostly) conversation. Shortly after joining, I was honoured to create the Secret Tea Society cocktail, the Rosy Lee and then it started to be sold as a membership option. One day I finally had a eureka moment when I realised that I could of course, paint on fine china as easily as I could glass and ‘Ginpot’ was conceived. It remains the most popular of my teaset designs, largely, I think because it appeals to people’s sense of humour and also because there is a huge resurgence in the popularity of gin. I could wax lyrical for hours on my love of gin, but suffice to say that it is a recurring theme on my cocktail blog.

http://toasted-glass.blogspot.co.uk

The Toasted Glass blog began purely as a way to indulge my love of cocktail making (mixology) and simultaneously, show off the glassware. It is a great way to engage with people and hopefully encourage them to try their hand at mixing drinks at home, preferably in some lovely, hand painted glassware! The blog led to interest in my cocktail making skills and from that the Bespoke Cocktail Service was born. I have created cocktails to represent company brands, as wedding gifts and special birthdays. It’s a delight to create them, although it can be challenging sometimes and it makes a really unusual, personal and thoughtful gift.

As a one woman operation, I can feel as though I am spread a little thin and am grateful that my two boys are now old enough to be a little less reliant on their mother - I couldn’t have entertained the idea of doing this when they were really little and school holidays can be a challenge! Luckily, my husband will be able to stop working in the months leading up to Christmas, so that I can cope with the inevitable rush. Last year was pretty frantic and I was lucky to have him to look after the children and shuttle post bags full of parcels to the depot for delivery. I anticipate that this year will be even busier, but as yet I’m not planning to take on any extra help. The painting has to be done by me - I wouldn’t trust anyone else to do it, but someone to do the packing would be nice…

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