In-profile this month is our fabulous Studio Manager, Mary Preston. Mary tirelessly keeps the studio organised and everything running smoothly. She has been a rising star at the studios since joining the team as a studio technician in 2019 and is an integral part of the management team.
Hi Mary, thanks for taking a few minutes to sit down and have a chat. Are you busy today – what is it you have been working on?
Yeah, it has really picked up these last couple of months which is great to see. Hopefully with the vaccine and ‘road to normal’ now laid out we have seen the last of Covid-related disruption and it will remain this way. At the moment we have a Saudi Royal palace, a couple of super-prime residencies (one in Highgate and one in South Kensington), a decorative external glazing for a development project in Mayfair, a foreign ambassadors residence, a public artwork installation, a stained glass restoration project, and a yacht refit, and a cruise liner. I think I may have forgotten one also…
You are busy! And you have relatively recently been promoted to being the Studio Manager, congratulations! How long have you worked at Daedalian Glass Studios?
Thanks, I have been here about 2 years… I can’t believe how fast the time has gone!
Well you are obviously a very talented and creative person, what was it that you studied at University?
I studied Decorative Arts at Nottingham Trent University. In my final year I created recycled plastic street furniture which incorporated planting for greenery in grey, urban environments.
That’s an interesting project, and very on-point with the way the market is turning toward more sustainable design. Was the recycling element something that you wanted to try and continue to incorporate in your career?
It really was, when I saw the job advertised and after doing some research I saw that Daedalian used recycled glass when appropriate in their projects to minimise waste. I had also seen that they are associated with Recycling Lives so I felt this company is a good match for me. I hope to keep expanding my skill set and to incorporate the sustainable design ideas I had whilst at university.
So glass was a little bit of a side-step within the creative industries? What inspired you to turn to a career in glass making?
To be honest, glass making was something I fell into. I wanted to continue to be creative and to work with my hands rather than sitting behind a desk all day. Then an opportunity came up at Daedalian Glass Studios and I just went for it! It is such an impressive company, with an unparalleled portfolio of works, so it was a no-brainer to apply. I get to work on all these projects, with the pieces I have made being installed all over the world, and alongside such a great team of creative minds…
So, lets start the tough questions… what’s your favourite project that you’ve been involved in?
It would have to be one of the high-end Superyacht projects we completed, I really enjoyed the range of techniques we used, the challenge of the very small tolerances for each piece, and working with Sophie Mallebranche’s woven metal mesh.
Yes, that was a great project. Pity it is under an NDA so we cannot speak in more detail…. Next Question, what’s your favourite glass-working technique?
I would probably say glass lamination is my favourite technique. It’s quite satisfying work and there’s so many different interlayers you can work with; from fabrics, meshes and digital film, to wood veneers, stone veneers, and paper. The possibilities within decorative design are endless.
And what would you say is your speciality in glass?
Hand-Antiquing is definitely where my skills come out, and it is something we do a lot more of since we built the new purpose build silvering studio last year. I love the different effects and colours you can create, its quite a versatile technique.
Finally, what’s your best memory working at Daedalian?
It’s so hard to pick! Honestly it would be generally getting to know the Daedalian team, and I also love working on-site. Your team-work skills come out in full force and it’s great seeing projects come to life.