For this week’s Open Call meet glass artist Tillie Burden. Her work is edgy, tongue-in-cheek, and really cleverly executed. She’s also a perfectionist, which I think a lot of us can sympathise with!
What led you to start your own business?
I had an art education, so starting my business felt like a natural progression for me. Formalising my art into a business was a really different experience. It helped me to take myself more seriously, but I also had to learn to distance myself from my work, and not to take setbacks personally!
Now, the business side feels like a frame around my work. It forces me to focus upon my craft, and really push my potential as a designer.
I run my business out of a shared workshop space in Copenhagen, with five other glass artists. It’s been such a great way to work, as the shared space means I can split the costs of expensive equipment, and I have great colleagues and a real support network.
What has been most difficult?
Making good artwork is still always the most difficult thing for me, and that’s the way it should be. I’m a perfectionist, but I also like to always work slightly out of my comfort zone in order to develop my skills.
Blowing and sculpting glass requires years of training, so it’s taken an enormous amount of perseverance to stick with it this far! It is now so satisfying to have these skills and dexterity, and I need to be happy with every finished piece.
How do you get your work seen by customers or retailers?
Most of my exposure has come through gallery exhibitions, open call opportunities and networking. I have also recently started my online shop, which is another platform for me to reach potential customers. The online store has required different marketing tactics, and been a learning curve.
Any advice to people starting out?
Patience! Good work takes time, as does building up a business. You mustn’t give up easily. So many businesses stop before really giving it a good chance. Learn to recognize your strengths and work with them. And rather than trying to do too many things at once, concentrate on doing fewer things well.
What has been most successful about the business?
Success to me means satisfaction in what I create and the feeling that I am designing my own lifestyle, and I certainly get that from my business.
Find Tillie online at www.tillieburden.com
Think your art, furniture or design biz has got what it takes? Please send through some pictures and info to opencall@