'The pandemic has bought my glass making to a halt'.
We catch up with UK glass designer and multimedia craftsman Jahday Ford, who we have featured as part in our Crafting Futures programme, to find out how he’s keeping creative amid the challenges that Covid-19 has brought.
Tell us about your work and practice.
A lot of my work surrounds a combination of various materials that are compatible with glass. I create work that’s very bespoke and I create different aspects of design and craft. I like to create contemporary versions of glass rather than traditional.
How has Covid-19 affected your daily routine and work?
The pandemic has pretty much brought my glass making to a halt, but I’ve tried to be a bit more intuitive and constructive.
I’ve been drawing, creating prototypes and concepts – just to keep my ideas fresh for when life gets back to normal.
Beyond thinking about work, I’m trying to keep as fit as possible, playing a lot of sports and football. I’ve tried not to let the situation get me down, and to be as productive as possible during this really uncertain time.
I think the most challenging aspect is your mental stability – making sure that you don’t become down on yourself or let the situation affect the way you engage with other people, and the things you have a passion for.
I know that people are in various situations. I’m lucky to be able to do the best I can, rather than worry about my living situation and money. I’ve got a stable footing to help fund my arts for when things get back to normal.
The most surprising thing for me, is the way we’re able to still engage with each other. The way everyone’s come together – more so than in normal life – where a lot of people struggled to find time to connect.
I’m from Bermuda and I’ve lived in the UK for nine years. I’d say the two economies have been greatly affected, but it’s really good to see people standing together back home in Bermuda and people trying their best in the UK.
What innovative ways have you seen artists and arts organisations adapt the way they work to cope with the pandemic in your country?
There’s innovation in the artistic ways people have been adapting online. Whether that’s instructional videos or concepts behind making, especially with ceramics, which is easier than glass.
I hope to get funding soon so I could make my own work through self-supply.
What one piece of advice would you give other artists in a difficult and uncertain time?
Apply for online initiatives as much as you can, stay involved in outreach programmes and look for open calls. Make sure that you’re ready to get back up and running if things get better later this year.
Can you recommend three artists from your country that we should check out?
When everything returns to normal, what will be the first cultural experience you’ll see out?
The first cultural experience I will have is in Colombia. I’m going to fly straight there once everything is sorted and get as big a cultural shock as I can!
Jahday Ford is a recent graduate from The Manchester School of Art specialising in hot glass and mould design. He brings together traditional glassblowing with digital design and has his award-winning project 'Breathe' has been exhibiting in galleries around the UK.
Want to know more about Jahday?
You can see Jahday at work in our Crafting Futures film series ‘Why I Make’, which celebrates craft and shares maker's stories from around the globe. Watch Jahday’s film here. And find out more about the film series here.
Crafting Futures is our global programme, building a positive future by unlocking craft’s unique potential to inspire people around the globe. The programme celebrates the value of craft in our history, culture and world today.
Worried about Covid-19 and your practice? We've pulled together the latest advice, funding, resources, and tips from across the sector for staying creative.