Behind the scenes with Deborah Moses glass artist at her Silver Zebra studio in Wimboldsley
PUBLISHED: 00:00 10 July 2014
Deborah Moses from Wimboldsley is a glass artist whose work is prized by interior designers and wealthy clients like Robbie Williams
Deborah Moses is one of the UK’s leading glass artists. Her hand-crafted fused glass sculptures are recognised nationally and internationally and her high-profile clients have included Robbie Williams.
She is in such demand that she recently had to turn down an invitation to a London party from the world-famous photographer Terry O’Neill, who is a fan of her work. But Deborah’s roots are firmly in Cheshire.
Her Silver Zebra studio is based at the family’s home near the village of Wimboldsley, between Middlewich and Sandbach.
And they have an unbreakable bond with glass which goes back generations
‘My father worked for Pilkingtons as a production manager and then opened his own business manufacturing double glazing units and also creating stained glass in another part of his factory. He also repaired church windows.
‘Unfortunately, he had to take early retirement after he had an accident but he still helps me and gives me advice. He loves to see the direction I am going in. He calls me his apprentice.’
Now 48, Deborah changed career in 2002 after many years working as a classically-trained chef.
‘I started out at a hotel in the Lake District which was a favourite with celebrities who wanted to get away from it all. Our regulars included Cynthia Lennon and Paul McGann, who came in while he was making The Monocled Mutineer in the 1980s. It is also particularly memorable because I met my husband Stephen there!
‘I loved to cook and enjoyed doing it for many years but eventually the anti-social hours got to me. I had a young family to bring up and thought it was time to change direction.
‘I never thought I would work with glass full-time but I wanted art to be a bigger part of my life and thought what medium I want to work in. Glass seemed the obvious choice.
‘I dabbled for a couple of years to the point where people started to recognise my work. I did a two-day training course in Bristol and I went full-time in 2004.
‘Because I haven’t come to this the traditional way I work a bit outside the box and people see my work as innovative. I’m inspired by lots of things like the sights and sounds of the seasons of the year and I love looking at ice and rock formations.’
Since 2004, Deborah has been delivering courses to students and loves sharing techniques in glass design. Her pupils come from all over the UK and as far afield as France, South Africa and New Zealand.
‘I’m passionate about it. I love opening other people’s eyes to the possibilities. I also always provide a two-course lunch because I still love cooking.’
Recent commissions include a glass wall for a private hospital in Cheadle and doors and panels for a restaurant in Newcastle. She is also working on glass sculptures for the Gleneagles Golf Course and with interior designers in Dubai, providing bespoke wall panels for wealthy clients.
One of her most unusual commissions was on a much more modest scale - a wedding cake façade with ice, crystals, and silver hearts with male and female figures on top of the cake.
Deborah also works in sterling silver and her online store is a showcase for smaller items like jewellery and vases.
‘For any artist it takes a few years to build up your name and portfolio and now I get to meet a lot of interesting people and it’s opened a lot of doors. In 2012, Soccer Aid asked if I would produce their Man of Match award which went to Robbie Williams. You get to network a lot and that’s how I met Terry O’Neill.’
The Silver Zebra tag originates from her love of 70’s music – in particular a song by Marc Bolan called ‘Deborah’ .
‘I remember coming home from school and watching a show called “Marc” where he sang it. David Bowie was also on it and bizarrely, years later I met him after taking part in a Chris Tarrant radio phone-in programme where he was the special guest. I’m a big fan.’
Now busier than ever, Deborah works at least 40 hours a week – non-stop if it is a special commission
‘I’m very lucky. I have built up a really good business. It’s taken me a while to get there but it brings in a good income
‘However, when I look back at what I have done, making my name as an artist is more important to me than money in the bank. I work very hard at it and it’s nice to think I am keeping the glass tradition going in the family.
For more information about Deborah’ Moses’ work visit www.the silverzebra.co.uk