BA (Hons) Glass and Ceramics 1985
French-based artist Mary Veale has worked as a self-employed artist for over 25 years. In her work she explores a variety of themes: children’s rights, identity and cultural change and moving cultures. She is also interested in landscape and climate.
“I visited Iceland in 2010 during the volcanic eruption which caused a massive stoppage of flights worldwide. The beautiful but volcanic dust that covered the landscape has been a major inspiration in my glass fusing,” she explained.
“Essentially I always like to push my chosen medium to its limits, as we were the first group to start on this experimental course in Sunderland with Goran Warff, our Swedish course leader. Experimentation was the order of the day and I have continued to explore glass.”
Originally from Waterford in Ireland, Mary moved to France in 1996 where she lives with her husband and three daughters.
She said: “I speak French fluently and French culture has been my focus both in painting and sculpture and installation works. Living outside my native Ireland much of my research is in explorations of Irish poetry and particularly the works of Seamus Heaney.”
Asked about what attracted her to the University of Sunderland Mary commented: “The course was new and therefore I thought it would be good to work with glass as I come from near Waterford where crystal is made.
“I also was attracted by Goran Warff being the course leader as I love Swedish glass and he was a designer at Kosta Boda. He was a great mentor and leader. Experimentation was encouraged and I still love to explore glass and see the limits being melted away.”
Mary’s advice to recent graduates entering the job market is to follow their dream and keep pushing the work and ideas.
She said: “The shows will follow but it is not easy in a time of economic decline as art works depend on a healthy economic climate.
“Also, do a good business course, I did a Graduates into Business course when I left Sunderland also I managed to complete a master’s degree in Fine Art at Northumbria University.”
She concluded: “My future plans would be to continue working as an artist. I would like to have a show somewhere in Ireland or in England maybe Sunderland!”