2 March 2015

Interview with Wing To of Little Wing's Corner

This month features the first interview with a non Architect. My dear friend Wing To is a trained Biochemist who works as a Clinical Researcher. In her spare time she enjoys making art work and beautiful objects. As well as creating intricate designs for her hand painted glasses, she produces unique artistic cards and banners with reused scraps of paper.
Read on to find out how this multitalented lady uses her scientific approach to perfect her artwork!

Artist- scientist Wing and a heart shaped pizza

When did you start painting glasses?
I started back at Uni and was actually inspired by someone else’s creation.  She had used glass pens to write the name of her friends onto wine glasses and then given them as gifts.  As I was a student, I thought this was an excellent way of creating gifts for people!  So I wandered into the local Oxford art shop and the rest, as they say, is history! 

How did you learn the technique? What are the main stages?
Experimentation!  I have never been that interested in taking classes – I prefer just trying stuff out and seeing if it works!  Sometimes it doesn’t but then you learn from that!  
Usually, I draw an outline of my design, place the paper behind the glass and use that as a guide. It is actually quite simple!!

Which is your favourite set so far?
My favourite set is probably the Doctor Who one I did for my sister.  Mainly because I got to draw No 11 with a Fez on his head!  (Geek Doctor Who reference – I am sorry!)

'Doctor Who' set of glasses, hand painted and designed by Wing
I also really like the henna sets – I was inspired by pictures of beautiful henna tattoos - such a simple concept but they always seem to turn out so beautiful! 

My favourite pair is the pair I gave to my friend Ladybird Lou!  I remember I loved painting the little ladybirds but had a bit of trouble trying to think what to fill it out with!  So I went a little abstract! ;)  It seemed to work!!

'Ladybird' pair of glasses, handpainted by Wing

I did also like the set I was recently commissioned for - they were for a couple who were both artists with very different painting styles - I liked trying to recreate those styles onto glass...not sure how successful it was, but it was fun to try!  :P

What other things do you like to make?
Generally things with paper!  And glue!  I’m pretty sure I’ve sniffed enough UHU to kill off a few brain cells...explains quite a bit actually!!  :P
I’m currently going through a banner phase - made using recycled card and recycled paper (if you give me pretty paper, I will keep it...!!!)

Wing makes unique banners made with recycled card and paper

What inspires your artwork?
Mmm...for the glass paintings, it depends!  At the moment, I mainly do gifts for friends so sometimes I just try to paint things I think they’ll like!  For one of my friends, her and her husband have a curious collection of inflatable things and they like dressing up parties so for their wedding glasses, I painted a collection of masks and some of their inflatable items!!  For another friend, her wedding invites featured an elephant and paisley decor so I used that as the basis for their glasses.  
Sometimes I just like painting pretty things so I’ll look at different patterns.  Or, I just do caricatures (although I do find it strange to stare at pictures of your friends!!!).  
I used to paint more abstract things, so I may go back into exploring that more.  But I will also stick to things I think are pretty!!  ;)  
So far, I’ve not yet repeated any design – I like trying out new things!

This pair of glasses was a wedding gift (Designed by Wing To)
You work full time as a Clinical Researcher. How do you find time to do artwork?
Erm, it has become a little difficult admittedly!  Trying to fit in work, rock climbing, painting and other distractions does mean that things sometimes get a little pushed on the priorities list!!!  Essentially, I paint things by “attrition”...unless I have an important commission on – in which case I make time!!

You’re trained as a biochemist.  Is there any relation between Biochemistry and your craftwork?
Oooh  I don’t really know!  I used to use painting as a way to escape science!  :P
I guess one of the main things is I like to plan my designs - I spend ages on a design before I even get anywhere near a glass!  It’s my main bottleneck factor – figuring out the design!  I’ve also got a bit of a perfectionist streak - if something does not look right, I will wash it off and try again and again until I get it how I think it should be!  And maybe I have a steady hand from all the years of pipetting!  :P  (Tip – don’t drink coffee before trying to do detailed painting!!)

Do you collect anything?
I collect...all sorts.  I have a hoarding issue that i’m slowly working on!  ;)
I have collections of pretty paper (if you have ever given me a gift in nice, thick giftwrap, I will probably have that somewhere in my collection!!!), ribbons (major weakness...but so useful!  You can never have enough ribbon IMHO!) and pretty boxes (gift style ones...).   I also keep cards and (old school) correspondence from those I love – they’re now in a big box under the bed. 

What do you do in your spare time, apart from artwork?
Rock climbing – this takes up more of my life than I care to admit!!!  And hanging out with friends.  I like baking too – I think that also stems from following protocols in the lab but with more instantaneous and satisfying (edible) outcomes!  :P   

Where can people find you and your creations?
The safest bet is at a climbing gym, but failing that, you can contact me via my Facebook page!  I do not have much in terms of stock, but I am considering taking commissions once my life has settled down a bit...!!

What are you working on at the moment?
I have two sets of overdue wedding glasses I need to deliver.  I also have two sets of glasses I’m working on, which are not really “for” anyone at the moment.  I may consider selling these rather than gifting them.  I am also working on some wedding invites ^_^

Where do you see yourself and your passion for craft in five years time?
I’m terrible at picturing myself in five years time for anything!!

I hope I am happy, still painting and making things, still climbing and still have time to spend with wonderful friends!  

You can see more of Wing's work on her facebook page:

Note for copyright: All photos in this post are property of Wing To. If you would like to use them you may contact her using her facebook page.

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