Oriel Hicks trained for five years at Reigate School of Art in Surrey, specialising in traditional stained glass techniques, mosaic design and glass fibre relief panels. She has since made many full scale, traditional leaded light windows, several of which can be seen around the islands. Her windows can be seen in many of the local churches in Scilly: four in Bryher, two in St Agnes and one in each of the Anglican, Catholic and Methodist churches on St Mary’s. Oriel also designed and made two windows in the sanctuary at Little Harbour, the Children’s Hospice in St. Austell in Cornwall and two church windows in the Cornish village of Ladock.
She has occupied her studio at Porthmellon on St. Mary’s since 1991, making smaller scale art glass for galleries and visitors to Scilly. Over twenty years ago, she began experimenting with fused glass. This is the process of melting coloured, sheet glass to make bowls, panels, sculptures and many smaller items. As this technology was not available in her student years, much of her work in this area is self-taught. She is constantly experimenting and pushing the boundaries of the material and this has enabled her art to retain great individuality. Oriel’s work retains a simplicity of design which belies the work involved. She uses vivid, coloured glass, whilst still optimising natural light where required.
Oriel takes inspiration from her Scillonian surroundings, whether it is the ever changing colour of the sea, the local flora and fauna or simply the clarity of the light. Her palette is restricted by the glass, but her own imagination makes up for this in no small way. Her work develops in a creative curve, where one idea evolves and transforms into the next. Glass, and all its diverse possibilities fuel her endless enthusiasm.