‘Flotsam and Jetsam’


Andrea Spencer’s exhibition piece, ‘Flotsam and Jetsam’, is crafted in flameworked glass, natural materials, steel pins, wood and acrylic.


Her work explores the natural world, using flameworked glass and mixed media to create artworks that express concepts related to human being and being human. Drawing inspiration from nature, she investigates natural forms which are either transformed into symbolic objects or abstracted to create artworks  containing a personal narrative.


The affinity she has with landscape and the natural world comes through a marriage between science and craft, observation, analysis and transformation. Her studio is like a wunderkammer, a cabinet of curiosities, filled with shells and seaweeds, birds skulls and bones, the carcass of a tiny song bird, flower heads, seed pods and egg cases, largely  all collected from walks along local beaches or foraged from the fields and hedgerows that border her home. These natural references become a point of departure. Andrea proceeds by manipulating and transforming the molten glass, sculpting, creating, assembling and arranging  the forms as they materialise from the flame. Ultimately she strive to display a feeling, emotion or physical condition. 


Using both traditional and innovative techniques of flameworking glass, her works possess qualities that reflect the intricacies of the natural world and contain elements which highlight its beauty and transience. Maintaining an emphasis on the unique properties of glass, she exploit the qualities of transparency, fragility and fluidity intrinsic to the material. Andrea employs techniques to encapsulate or contain and protect, alongside elements to define, brace, bridge and support.


By creating pieces which disclose the fragile, complex and complicated systems and structures underpinning many life forms, she aspires to illuminate humans’ mutuality with the earth and observe the edges where human nature and the natural world fuse.


An object that is drawn from the natural world, transformed by a process that evokes both science and craft, becomes a metaphor that carries a multitude of interpretations.


Dimensions:690 W x 600 H x 150 D

Artist Bio

Andrea Spencer maintains a studio in rural Ballintoy on the North Antrim Coast. A large part of her practise includes flame worked glass and mixed media to create ephemeral installations and delicate sculptural objects. Her work is inspired by nature, drawing on natural forms and structures to create pieces which correlate with aspects of the human condition. 

In contrast to her gallery and exhibition work she has also completed many large scale architectural commissions for a variety of public buildings, including healthcare settings, schools and public gardens. 

Her work is held in significant collections and was recently commissioned by the National Museums Ireland to create a piece for the Natural History Museum, Dublin. Andrea was recipient of the Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust Award 2022 and has received numerous awards from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland. She teaches at glass schools and private studios though out the UK, Europe and the USA and has recently begun offering workshops from her own full featured flame working and kiln forming studio.