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  • Samantha Sweet

When Do You Have an Invention?

Updated: Dec 7, 2022

Trying something new is like spinning the one armed bandit for craft makers. New is always a gamble, with all the allure of hitting the jackpot but the strong possibility you’ll leave with empty pockets.

I treasure time spent in the search for uncharted territory. Even though my designs are often born from experimenting with new forms, but they sometimes turn out only to be new to me. Some of my earlier repeatable designs fell into that category. I’d been experimenting in the hotshop, playing with folding the glass back on itself, creating air pockets that formed concentric rings reminiscent of the rings of Saturn. The concept could be applied to many forms and I designed a range of bowls and plates, even an ash tray for The Square Restaurant in Bruton Street, London.

Ash tray and sugar bowl designed for The Square
Sugar bowl for The Square Restaurant

Images of these pieces formed part of my application to attend the renown Pilchuck Glass School in Seattle, USA. The class was amazing, but one of the most memorable parts for me was watching the fabulous Benjamin Moore making one of his signature bowls, which was remarkably similar to my Saturn design. I was not the first. I cringed thinking about the images I had put into my application for the class, my exciting new pieces now looked like copies of the tutor's work.

Blue fade Saturn bowl, repeatable design by Samantha Sweet 1997
Saturn Bowl by Samantha Sweet

Making something truly new is rare, so much has been done before wether we know about it or not. Saturn is still a design I’m proud of, fun to make and holds lots of possibilities for adaption, some of which may not have been made already. It was fun to try one on my lathe this week which I think I will incorporate into my new lighting range :)


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