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This month we are celebrating with Sam, one of our resident neon glass benders, as she has been working with us at Neon Creations now for 10 years! Working in a predominantly male based industry, Sam has gone from strength to strength creating neon art creations she can truly be proud of. Recently she was featured in the Sunday Telegraph, showcasing some of her fabulous work. As you can see below.
Since Sam spends most of her working days behind the scenes, this month we thought we would shine the spotlight on her and give her the chance to speak more about her time at Neon Creations and working with neon art. So, if you’ve ever been curious about working with neon or becoming a neon glass bender, Sam may just have some great info for you!
Q: How did you first discover neon glass bending?
A: I first discovered Neon when my mum brought home the newspaper with Neon Creations Job Advertisement in it. When I had decided to apply for the job, I did some research into Neon and Neon Creations.
Q: What attracted you to this career path?
A: I don’t think anything really attracted me to become a glass bender, I didn’t set out to become one, I just sort of fell into it. I applied for the job as my current job contract was ending, it was only after working for Neon Creations for a little while and learning and understanding about neon that I decided this was for me.
Q:How did you learn the skill of neon glass bending and how long did this take?
A: I was employed as Tony’s apprentice, the idea was to train me as a glass bender. I have done some research online and I have also picked up some skills from Terry, my colleague, but most of my skills and knowledge have come from Tony. I would say it took me around four years before I made my first job for a customer. I would like to mention I started off part time and had other responsibilities, so I did not spend those four years glued to the bench. If I wanted to bend glass, I had to make time up elsewhere.
Q: What does an average working day at Neon Creations look like to you?
A: My typical day at Neon Creations? No two days are the same, I do everything from bending glass, to assembly of the signs and wrapping and dispatch. I have more of a weekly routine, Monday and Tuesday is usually spent on the bench, bending some signs that are due to be delivered that week. Wednesday and Thursday are usually painting and assembly of the signs. There is usually lots of coffee involved. Fridays are fun days, me and Tony usually have some projects going on that are our art pieces, so Fridays can be anything from me and Tony putting our heads together to create some new and interesting ideas, glass bending, or trying out something weird and wonderful such as acrylic pouring or wood working. We also offer local installation of some signs so I usually assist Tony with this, which I really enjoy as it gets me out of the workshop and I get to see Customers reactions to our work.
Q: Are there any pieces you have created over the last 10 years you are particularly proud of?
A: One of the first pieces I made was a blue shark, I am quite proud of this as I made it while Tony was on holiday and I didn’t have any help on this. It is still hung up in the workshop. There are a few art piece’s in the workshop that are a result of my ideas which I am also quite proud of.
Q: What do you enjoy most about your career?
A: I enjoy the diversity of my work probably more than anything. Every single day, minute and hour is different and this is something I thrive off. I also enjoy working to the wire, we don’t like to have lots of glass laying around in the workshop, so this means that we are typically working up to the minute before the courier arrives. I get a real buzz on a Thursday when the courier is due.
Q: After 10 years with Neon Creations, what do you love most about the company?
A: I love Neon Creations being such a small family run company, we all know each other very well after 10 Years, and we all get along brilliantly. We are often having a laugh and banter with each other which makes the working day go quickly. I also love hearing customer feedback about our work, which makes the late nights and stressful days worth it and gives me a real sense of pride.
Q: As a female in a male dominated industry, what would you say to other young girls considering a career path similar to your own?
A: I would tell them it's going to be a long hard slog, but in the end it is worth it. They need to put the time in and continue to push themselves every single day to better themselves. There’s no point sitting back and saying that will do, you should want to be better than your competitors, but more importantly you should want to be better than you were the day before.
Q:What is one fact about neon glass bending others may not know?
A: My mind was blown when I first learned all neon sections are 100% air tight. I did not realise this but was so shocked when I found out. When I join an electrode to glass, the seal has to be airtight, and even to this day, when I realise I make glass airtight with a hand lamp and by blowing into it, I am shook. Like, I did this!
Q: What other skills would you say are required to be a successful neon glass bender?
A: To be a glass bender is not an easy task. In my opinion you have to be methodical, have a good eye for detail and be completely nuts. Blood, sweat and tears have made me into the glass bender I am today, and every single mistake and burn has taught me something. You need to be determined and patient, but also not settle for anything but the best. Resilience is a very good attribute in those first few years of starting. I think you need a creative streak and be passionate about what you do to enable you to stand out from the crowd.
Our expert team, featuring the talented Sam, can create a neon art creation you can be proud to hang in any domestic or commercial space. Simply get in touch with us and we will begin the design process with you. No task is too big or small for us here at Neon Creations!