Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Interview Series: Hywel Harris, CorelDRAW user & Beta Tester, runs his own company, Lady Bay Art Glass, with partner Michelene Harris, in Nottingham, England

My Interview series now continue with Hywel Harris. Hywel runs his own company, Lady Bay Art Glass, with partner Michelene Harris, in Nottingham, England. I interview people I have come to know through Corel forums, and who are fellow beta testers of and fellow CorelDRAW Graphics Suite users. And some of us have met in real life.







Your Name: 
Hywel Harris

Website:
www.ladybayartglass.co.uk

Style & type of work you produce?


We design and make traditional stained glass leaded lights for doors and windows. We specialise in recreating designs for period houses from the Victorian era through to the Second World War.






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You like myself is a user of CorelDRAW Graphics Suite. What was it that made you discover, and drew you to CorelDRAW Graphics Suite?


Before I set up my company, where I worked previously, I was able to try out a number of drawing apps including Freehand, Harvard Graphics, Illustrator, and a few others. It was very obvious to me at the time that Draw was much better suited to the semi-technical type illustrations that I needed.

What year was it?

1992/3

Which Programs do you use, Corel and none-Corel programs?

I use Photoshop, ThumbsPlus, Dreamweaver (I built and manage my own website), Open Office,

Do you use any analog tools in conjuntion with your work?


Yes loads, hammers (very analogue !) glass cutters, grinders, you get the idea...

Which year was it you started your business, your work?

1993





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Would you recomend CorelDRAW Graphics Suite?


Yes I would. I find it very easy to get along with for my sort of work. It is very precise and easy to be so. For me the ability to have many levels of guidelines for setting out a design is unsurpassed, and quick and easy to setup as well. Other tools like clones are invaluable when doing a drawing that has symmetry. Other apps are much more time consuming, both because they don't have the tools or they make them difficult to use. CorelDraw is especially good at allowing the user to customise the UI so that tools are only a click away.



What, more importantly, made you begin working with the work you do today? After all you could have made a career as a hairdresser or something in that line instead, like any other human being.

I have always had an interest in old houses and have done a lot of work restoring ours. One aspect of English period building from about 1880 to 1940 was that a huge amount of decorative glass work was incorporated into the fabric of even the most modest of houses. When I was made redundant in 1993 (I used to be a mining engineer) I could see that there was no one who specialised in domestic period glass design, and in our area there are thousands of houses that have or had decorative glass when they were built. Others were able to do repairs, design ecclesiastical stained glass, but no one had a big portfolio of domestic designs. I set about photographing all the original examples for miles around and from that developed an eye for period detail and layout.


What is that you like with your work?

Creating something that will give pleasure for many decades to come.

In an interview in the Digital Artist Magazine, who interviewed me a few years back, I was asked what I would like to see in future versions of CorelDRAW Graphics Suite. Is there anything you would like to see?


For all designers who create lineart drawings as the starting point for artwork, the route to applying colour is awkward. Other apps have developed ways round this, albeit slightly clumsily, but I think the biggest single leap in functionality would be an automatic and dynamic CCCFER. (An acronym coined by artist K N Pepper a few years ago, Create Closed Curves From Enclosed Regions). In essence a tool that allows colour to be applied the the spaces between open lines or curves.

Do you drink coffee or tea in the morning?

Coffee. Tea in the afternoon.


What do you think is important to think about running your own business or in your line of work, to think about. Is it discipline or and something else?

Don't neglect the work that doesn't bring in an income directly. Like keeping a website or portfolio up to date. Making time to go and get photographs of interesting old glass. Make time to look at what other artists and craftsmen are making. Making sure you have a full knowledge of all the material types that are available, ie glass colours and textures.






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For someone just starting out, what do you think they should think about?

Ooh... difficult. Don't do it unless you really love it. You have to be prepared to work for very little when you start out and if you don't love what you do it will turn into a chore.

Is there any big change in how and what you worked with when you first started out. Have the business changed in any way?

The construction has and always will be the same traditional process, every glass piece has to be cut by hand and assembled into a lead lattice, soldered, cemented and cleaned. Modern technology has little impact on this. The ability to create very accurate designs and print them in colour on a 36” paper roll has saved many hours of work.


When I started I was using an A3 pen plotter and sticking pieces of paper together but I now have two HP Designjets which are 15 years old but still going strong. The business side of things has changed little. 

Recessions seem to have little impact and this has given me confidence to take my son on as an apprentice. He has been learning the practical side until very recently when I gave him some design projects to work in with CorelDraw, an app he has never used before, though he is very computer savvy. Within a matter of days he has grasped the basics and is able do manual traces and create illustrations from scratch.


Thank you Hywel, a pure pleasure to have you in the interview series.

Really nice to hear from someone who uses CorelDRAW for work on glass. Shows the broad user base no doubt.


Stefan Lindblad
January 2012

Copyright Hywel Harris & Stefan Lindblad

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