Shelley James on maths, music and the magic of glass

05.02.20. Makerversity, London

Shelley James is a globally renowned glass artist with a fascinating tale to tell. She was ensconced in the corporate branding world – working for the likes of Imagination and Landor – before an injury to her head, sustained in a bicycle accident, completely changed her life and perspective. After a six-year (yes, six-year) period of convalescence, she decided to leave the business world behind and study printmaking. However, after a trip to the National Glass Centre in Sunderland, she became smitten with the material and has set out to push its possibilities ever since.

Always looking to collaborate with new people from different disciplines, she has worked with surgeons at Bristol Eye Hospital, physicists at Imperial College, contemporary musicians and even Sir Roger Penrose, a mathematician and philosopher of science famed for (among other things) his research with Stephen Hawking. And she has managed all this despite only scraping an O Level in Maths.

Shelley also happens to be wonderfully articulate, which is handy for a podcast like this…

Find out more about Shelley James

Detail of Elemental Symmetries, which was part of her installation at Jerwood Makers Open in 2014.

Another image from Elemental Symmetries.

Part of a glass-hacking experiment in Boda Glasbruk. All images courtesy of the artist.