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One to Watch: Alice McKenzie

Alice McKenzie studied 3D Design at the Manchester School of Art. At New Designers Part 2 in 2019 the sunshine hit her collection of fluid organic shaped glass vessels the effect of their glowing colours stopped the judges in their tracks. Find out what inspires Alice and makes her a sure fire one to watch for the future.

Name of your lecturer – course tutor?

Mark Mcleish, Geoffrey Mann.

How important is colour in your work?

I probably spend the most time on a project thinking about what colour I want to use. It’s an exciting and crucial part of my work. Colour and glass are a great combination of elements to work with as the type and amount of light that bounces and transmits through the glass can affect how the colour changes. I usually decide on a hue based on relativeness to the concept behind the collection, and then once I have figured out the forms and techniques, I will practice in a range of tints, shades and tones.

Tell us about your creative process?

I’m inspired by different types of floral design, mainly Ikebana, thinking about balance and composition, in both line and colour, throughout each project. I’m drawn to colour patterns that are found in nature, using monochromatic colour schemes within a piece or collection. In a couple of my projects, I aimed to create objects that help us celebrate individuality in single stem flowers and so I was generally thinking of colours that would complement the green stems and then also reflect or contrast the seasonally coloured flowers I was using.

Creative journey or destination?

Personally, I think both are equally important and exciting as each other. The journey is where you get to experiment and be creative, you can never know where you’ll end up. But I think when working with glass, each stage reveals a completely new side of the object and for me once it’s all polished and in context, I can really appreciate what it is that I have created.

Creative high point?

The degree show was a great chance to see what I’ve been building up to during university and how I have progressed within my creative practice over the last few years. It signified the end of my degree but also the start of some exciting new opportunities.

Creative low point?

I started my university journey on a Fine Art course and after completing a year I decided it wasn’t the path for me. I think deciding to leave and choosing a different course really challenged me within my creative practice.

Where do you want to be in 3 years’ time?

So much can change within 3 years, but I loved to continue designing and making in glass, definitely exploring colour in more depth and understanding how I can develop my creative practice in other interest areas.

Is there one person during your studies/life who has really made a difference to you? – Maybe in terms of encouraging you when you were at a low point, pushing you in different directions unlocking your potential etc.

Dan Nuttall, glass technician at Manchester School of Art. He’s been there through blood, sweat and tears (literally) for the last 3 years and always made me see my passion within glass. There were definitely multiple times where I felt like I wanted to give up working with glass, but he encouraged me to keep at it and be realistic, it’s a craft that take a lot of practice and patience but it’s definitely worth it. Not to mention the uncountable demonstrations I’ve asked from him, which without them I’d have no clue what I was doing.

What is your favourite colour?

I’m so indecisive I find it so hard to pick favourites! Although I don’t tend to use blue within my work, I’ll go with my favourite colour being sky blue due to its connotations of bright, clear summer days.

Contact details


Instagram: @_alicemckenzie

Website details:

Image credits: Alice Mckenzie


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