The Eden Valley has developed a wonderfully energetic and diverse art scene. Our artist of the month, Niki Walker is now adding more momentum to that scene as she takes up residence in Kirkby Stephen, or more specifically Skywalk House (a building that is already synonymous with producing lovely things *wink wink*). Niki recently moved from Derbyshire with her family. Having visited Cumbria many times and falling in love with the county, she is now fulfilling her Cumbrian dream.
Niki is an experienced fused glass artist but she won’t always be on her own in the studio. Her new venture, The Makers’ Den opens up the space for classes and workshops on a wide range of art and crafty activities. We’ll cover the Makers’ Den a bit more later in the blog but let’s start with Niki and her background as an artist.
Niki’s journey to becoming a fused glass artist
Niki studied applied art at college. Like many artists, a few years of doing something ‘sensible’ followed as she worked as a retail fashion buyer and then as a para-legal.
That big artistic beacon was calling though and at 25, Niki went to University to study decorative art, believing she wanted to be a ceramicist. This changed after Niki completed an exchange placement at the Product Design School in Nybro, Sweden, where she learnt glass blowing. After this placement, the glass blowing techniques learnt in Sweden evolved into a love for making fused glass.
Fused glass is the process of using layers of glass, encapsulating colours and textures between clear glass to create beautiful products. Niki’s work often focuses on texture and the illusion that a piece looks rough but is actually perfectly smooth to the touch.
Niki’s sells her glass in local galleries, including Treeby & Bolton in Keswick and the Old Courthouse Gallery in Ambleside. She also attends art and craft events as a stallholder. Cumbria has a good range of these types of events, but a couple worth looking up are Art On The Prom, Grange and The Winter Drove in Penrith.
A brand new space delivering art courses
The Makers’ Den is now open and utilises Niki’s fantastic studio space, tucked away at the back of Skywalk House. With big windows and views over neighbouring fields, it’s so serene, it could be a yoga space. There’s a great range of courses on offer to suit all artistic desires, run by experienced artists to help you create at least one wonderful piece. Japanese apron making kicks things off, followed by ‘Become a medieval artist’. Niki’s will, of course, be doing a fused glass-making course and there’ll even be craft workshops to keep your ‘Mini Makers’ occupied – perfect for the school hols! Plus loads more.
Check out what’s on at the Makers’ Den by following the Facebook page or via an Eventbrite page, where you can book too. If you do make it to Skywalk House for one of the courses, you might bump into a deranged printer wondering how he’s going to find the time to write the next blog (we’re in the studio downstairs!). Seriously though, feel free to call into Cerberus and say hello. We make nice things too!