Alison Vincent gains business boost in tv programme for craftspeople
Alison Vincent, an artist in hot glass from South Buckinghamshire, was one of four glass artists featured in the new BBC tv series ‘Make it at Market’, hosted by Dom Chinea.
The programme helps aspiring artists and crafters, including glassblowers, blacksmiths, potters and woodworkers, as they team up with an expert mentor who provides guidance on how to make a successful business from their craft. Dom works alongside the business and craft experts to help the entrepreneurs on their journey.
Alison says, “The filming process and challenges were intense, coinciding with an extremely busy time of 14 concurrent exhibitions including a premium craft market, showing at three locations during Buckinghamshire’s biggest craft maker event, and new gallery openings. During this period, I also visited the GAS Tacoma 2023 global glass conference in the USA.”
“It was such a fantastic experience and I’m so lucky to have been a part of it. The ability to get specific advice from my mentor, Allister Malcolm, a top professional glass artist, was priceless. The other crafters are all very talented and supportive and Dom and the production team were so helpful and approachable.
“I was very excited to see my episode, but also quite nervous as I had no idea how it would be edited and couldn’t see it until it was on air!”
Alison is a self-taught, relative newcomer to glass. After an experience day in 2012 she was instantly hooked, but had only 100 blowing days under her belt. She’s often told that “it takes glass blowers seven years of daily practice to be considered a master!”
A passion for glassblowing
Alison explains, “My passion for hot glass and glassblowing first came from seeing a hot glass studio in action with the furnace, hot glass, adrenaline and ‘danger’! I knew I had to have a go and when I did, I was instantly addicted!
“I love making beautiful art with hot glass, although it can be difficult and frustrating at times.
“I also have a passion for wild, remote places, such as Antarctica and the Arctic, where I am lucky to have sailed and dived on several occasions.
“I blend my two passions in my glass art, where I recreate my experiences in these remote wildernesses and I hope to raise awareness of their fragile existence, so others care for them as well.”
Talent scouts for the show initially saw Alison on social media and contacted her about taking part. She had to go through a multiple-step application process. “Then it all went quiet, and I assumed I had been unlucky,” Alison states. However, three months later she was contacted to say that the show was on, and she was in it. She had just three weeks from then until the start of filming.
“I was asked to make and bring specific pieces for the first filming. I didn’t believe it when I got the call because so much time had passed. I was over the moon, but also rather nervous!”
“The whole experience of being on ‘Make it at Market’ was fantastic. It was very intense and quite stressful for me at the time, mainly because I didn’t have my own studio available and I could only hire a studio – which was four hours’ drive from home – for four days during the whole eight weeks of filming the challenges. Plus I hadn’t blown glass for seven months beforehand, so I felt very out of practice and straight into making on film! It was also happening at a very busy time for me.
“But at the same time, it was very enjoyable. I can definitely see progress from where I started. The ability to gain targeted advice from my mentor, Allister Malcolm, was priceless and I received not just one, but two, fabulous business boosts, which was amazing!
“Dom was lovely, and the whole production team was so helpful and approachable. The other makers and artists are so talented and very supportive, and I think I’ve made some friends for life.
“I feel very grateful and privileged to be part of this programme and this amazing journey.”
What doors have been opened by the show?
“It’s very early days – I’m writing this just a week after my episode was aired – but already the response has been tremendous!
“I am exhibiting in Pyramid Gallery York and Artifex Gallery, Sutton Coldfield as a result of the business boosts, and I also secured listings in two other galleries. Since the TV show, other galleries have approached me too.
“I also had the opportunity to exhibit at Olympia, London, and to have a photo shoot in the offices of a large corporate, as well as to create a short-run book in the future about my expeditions and glass blowing.
“The exposure has been amazing and I am grateful for everything!”
The series was filmed in the grounds of Stoneywell, Leicestershire, an Arts and Crafts home designed by Ernest Gimson, now owned by the National Trust.
Alison is now busy setting up a glass studio in South Buckinghamshire, which should be operational in early 2023. Before turning to glass, Alison owned and ran a consumer packaging design, development and project management consultancy for almost 20 years.
Her episode is available to watch now on iPlayer.
All four glassblowers from the series will be at Stourbridge Glass Museum, where Allister Malcolm Glass is based, for an event on 4 February 2023. It will start with a meet and greet, then an unveiling of Belinda King’s work which is being given a place in the permanent collection at the Museum. After that there will be demonstrations by each glass maker.
For anyone wanting to go along, the event is included with the usual Stourbridge Glass Museum entry fee. The meet-and-greet is at 10.30am. At 12pm is the unveiling of the work by Belinda King, and between 1pm and 4pm will be the glassblowing demonstrations.
Find out more about Stourbridge Glass Museum here.
Reserve you space to meet the artists via this link.
Main image: Alison creating her glass on location at Stoneywell, with Allister Malcolm (centre) looking on. Photo: KT Yun.