Phillipa Headley


Originally from South Africa, Phillipa graduated from Edinburgh College of Art in July 2006 with a BA (Hons) Design & Applied Arts (First Class Degree). As part of her degree, she undertook a student exchange programme from January - June 2005 and studied at Alfred University in New York State, under Professor Steve Edwards, and Professor Dave Naito. Phillipa gained a National Diploma in Photography (equivalent to BTEC) at Port Elizabeth Technikon, South Africa in 1994. She was awarded the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Trophy Competition (Glass) in 2006, Best photograph and Overall Portfolio (Photography) (South Africa) in 1993 & 1994 and the Steytlerville Best photograph (Photography) (South Africa) again in 1994. She has worked as a glass assistant for Idagos Contemporary Glass Studio, Edinburgh from July - Sept 2005 and in May 2005 for Corning Glass Museum, New York State.

"South Africa inspires me: the farm of my childhood; the colours, forms, textures of the land; the Zulu culture, the tribal storytelling traditions that inform native crafts. The glass vessels take a traditional African form and represent the thirty one languages spoken in South Africa. The variety of colours reflects the vast and changing landscape of South Africa as a whole. South Africa is also known as the Rainbow Nation. For example the Ndebela people of the north east paint their homes in bright vibrant colours and wear colourful clothes. By contrast the San people of the north western deserts traditionally wore neutral earthy colours.While growing up I watched the women weaving baskets and mats out of grass and plastic bags and found myself fascinated by the ingenious use of waste materials. Some of my blown vessels are either cold worked or made from assorted cane giving the glass a woven basket look. South African drinking vessels are hand made either from clay or grass and are organic in shape. No one is the same as another. They are hand carved or woven and each individual craftsperson has their own unique design or pattern.It is the very tactile quality and basic honesty of a hand crafted object that holds the secret to the story of the makers' lives, their experiences and their history."