Dr Jessamy Kelly is a lecturer in Glass and a practising glass artist, she is also the Director of Postgraduate Studies in the School of Design. She provides teaching at a postgraduate level; delivering lectures, seminars and workshops that contextualise the field of contemporary glass within artistic practice as well as an elective called the Business of Craft. She specialises in glass blowing, kiln forming and glass casting; which she presents through studio-based teaching.
Additionally, she has interdisciplinary experience, in the areas of ceramics and glass product design skills. She aims to assist her students in developing innovative and experimental studies in the field. Jessamy studied Glass and Ceramics at the University of Sunderland and went on to complete her Masters in Glass at ECA. She completed her practice-based PhD at the University of Sunderland in 2009. Her doctoral research was an investigation into the hot state combination of Glass and Ceramics. Her research interests are in materiality, material connections and the concept of imitation. Through her research and creative practice she examines the qualities of glass as a medium and its ability to imitate or be mixed with other materials.
Research outputs include articles in leading refereed journals such as the Glass Art Society Journal, the curation of the Transition: ECA Glass Alumni exhibition, and the co-organisation of the Luddite Convention North Lands Glass Conference. She has also worked collaboratively on a number of interdisciplinary research projects and as a design facilitator and co-curator for museum-led design projects and exhibitions. Her work has been exhibited widely throughout the UK as well as internationally in France, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands and in the United States.
Jessamy is interested in the scientific, historical and contemporary context that inspires and guides her process and practice. In the 17th century, European glass-makers expanded the production of ‘milk glass’ or ‘porcelain glass’ to imitate Chinese porcelain, as glass was a far cheaper material to produce. The creation of white glass objects that directly imitate porcelain is a fascinating historical precedence, which continues to inspire the use of white opaline glass in her work. For Jessamy, the nature of glass to imitate is part of the material’s natural allure, as it makes the viewer question the exact nature and composition of the material presented; challenging us to reassess and under- stand its innate beauty. She is currently working on a new body of work that responds to this historical precedence.
Trial & Error
Jessamy is intrigued by the relationship that exists between ceramics and glass; and the combined history that these two mediums share. As boundaries merge between these mediums new creative possibilities open up. It is apparent that the Studio Glass Movement developed partly from studio ceramics and the established knowledge instilled within the field. Many of these developments took place within educational institutions supported by an environment of learning. Jessamy believes that the opportunity to carry out postgraduate research with specialist technical support and facilities; make it possible for leading edge research to be fully realised. This type of study is only possible within postgraduate education. Research journeys are not easy through her teaching Jessamy hopes to encourage further creativity and promote knowledge transfer within and beyond the field of glass. She is building a cohort of research students that will continue to extend her doctoral research in this field.
Glass & Ceramics
Jessamy Kelly has always been interested in the combination of glass and ceramics, as an undergraduate student, she was told that glass and ceramics could not be combined in a hot state and that she should not waste her time trying to make them mix. Glass expands and ceramics shrink when you heat them they are not compatible; it just would not work. This problem was how her first research question was formulated: how can these two difficult materials be combined in a hot state? Jessamy’s doctoral research managed to answer this question and turn the first statement on its head - glass and ceramics can indeed be combined in a hot state. This was however not an easy journey, it was one which required perseverance as many of her early tests did indeed crack and were incompatible and at first it did appear as if she was wasting her time. Through this journey Jessamy’s teaching style has developed and her teaching is based on the premise of ‘trial and error’ and experiential learning. She encourages her students to experiment, to make mistakes and to not always to stick to the rules. She teaches that through technical understanding and appreciation of the medium new innovations and advancements can occur.