Tolly has a degree in Textiles and is also a serious photographer. Both of these elements are clear within her Glasswork and these skills are also often an integral part of the piece. Tolly is constantly mesmerized by the sometimes overlooked details of nature which are a continual source of inspiration for her art. Her enthusiasm for the natural world stems from her family background of nature-orientated passions whilst her wider appreciation cores from extensive foreign travel, and taking part in wildlife research projects abroad.

Having worked under some of the most influential and eminent glass artists in Sweden and the U.S, this has fuelled Tolly's delight in the material itself. By using a combination of techniques she bases her work around the qualities in glass she appreciates the most – its vulnerability but also its solidity.

With this wide appreciation of what glass has to offer, Tolly’s work ranges from the popular, tiny, pate-de-verre ‘Whimsicals’ which are a fun, contemporary take on the ancient little mini glass objects found in museums, to large scale casts such as the recent 14 Galapagos Finch Beaks which she sculptured to commemorate the 150th Anniversary of The Origin of Species and which are having a significant impact on the Science and Art fields alike.

Tolly’s ‘Living Rock’ series focus on the relationship between living and non-living things, the solidity of one and the fragility of the other. As they grow and become more entwined, their boundaries merge together as one. As with her photography, where she accentuates colour or form by using comparison, this mergence of solid cast glass and fragile pate-de-verre accentuates the beauty of both and the surprise that each is composed of the same material.

“Using methods such as Pate-de–Verre I aim to extract and express the beauty of glass in its very fragile state, forming a ‘crust’ or an exoskeleton of what could be there - an artwork that has shed its skin and is left bare, exposed, raw and beautiful”





1997-99            BA Honours Textiles: Winchester School of Art / Rhode Island School of Design

1996                 Diploma in Foundation Studies: Winchester School of Art

                        A-levels: Hills Rd Sixth Form College, Cambridge



1995                Award for Extra-curricular Excellence, Hills Road Sixth Form College,


1998                1st place: Amoco Student Design Competition, (Weave) USA

                       Honourable Mention     ~              ~                 ~                 ~            

                       Honourable Mention     ~              ~                 ~                 ~       

1999                Georgina von Etzdorf Award for Innovation in Textiles

2008                South Cambs District Council Built Heritage Award scheme: 1st Place Contemporary Design sympathetic to the Historic Environment for ‘The Ark’

2008                CGS Bursary for masterclasses at The Liquid Glass Centre



Artistic Experience


997                3 weeks Personal Assistant Bertil Vallien, Kostaboda, Sweden

1998                Semester at Rhode Island School of Design, US, studying ‘liquid to Solid’ casting with Daniel Clayman

                       Casting with Rick Mills,  Pilchuck Glass School, Stanwood, U.S.

1999                Degree Show Co-ordinator, Winchester, U.K.          

                       Glass Beadmaking course, Pilkington Glass, Stourbridge ,U.K.

                       Pate-de-verre course, Corning Museum of Glass,, USA

2000                Photographic tuition, Cambridge Darkroom

2001-03           Interior Design work and sales with Natalie Clegg Design Ltd, Cambs.

                       Botanical illustration, Cambridge University short course.

                       Nikon Professional Digital SLR course, London

2003-04           Design of own Website & set up of own business -‘Tolly’s Ark’

2004                Glass Techniques course with Helen Maurer, Central St.Martins College of Art, London.

                       Assistant to Layne Rowe, glassblower,

2006                ‘Woven structures’ course with Mary Butcher, Cambridge

                       Cast Glass tuition with Lucy Swift, London.

2007                Design, photography, sales and distribution of ‘Live Art’ cards

                       Co-founded CAMBA with other artistic professionals within the Cambridge Area.

                       Design & implementation of CAMBA Website

2008                Glass Mouldmaking Masterclass with Fiaz Elson, Liquid Glass Centre, Wingfield.

                       Glass Coldworking techniques with Fiaz Elson, Liquid Glass Centre, Wingfield.

                       ‘Printing with Light’ course, London Glassblowing, Shelley James & Louis Thompson

2008-09            Rental of Large Scale photographic work to Marshalls Aerospace, Cambridge

2008                Gave talk at The Cambridgeshire Galleries

2009                Gave talk s at The Cambridge Museum of Zoology

2010                Gave slide show and talk of work at Zest Gallery, London

                       Took part in Pechakucha event, International Festival of Glass



Selected Exhibitions


1998                 Neocon ’98 Chicago, USA

1999                 Action Japan’, Nottingham Playhouse

                        Winchester School of Art

                        New Designers, London

2002-04            Darrel Nantais Gallery, Linton, Cambs. 

2003-05            Bridges of St.Ives, Cambs.

2004                 ‘Through the Lens of the Artist, 7 Contemporary Photographers’,

                 Limberhurst Arts, Cambs.

2004-05            ‘Affordable Art’, S.C.D.C., Cambourne, Cambs.

                        Aisini Gallery, St.Ives, Cambs.

                        Venue, Arts Picture House, Cambridge

                        Arthouse Gallery, Brighton,

                        Art Asset Online Gallery,

2006                 Bruno’s Brasserie, Cambridge

2007                 ‘Ray of Light’ joint exhibition with Layne Rowe, The Ark, Cambs.

                        ‘E-merge’ Solo Exhibition,The Upper Gallery, Cambridge.

2008                 Affordable Art Fair, The Café Jello Gallery @ Battersea Park, London

                        Photographic Exhibition, Williams Art, Cambridge

                        Café Jello Glass Gallery, Cambridge.

                        Angela Mellor Gallery, Ely

                        The Cambridge Galleries, Whittlesford

                        ‘Six Days’, The Shop, Cambridge

2009                 Cambridge Glass Fair

                        ‘New Beginnings ‘09’, SDC Gallery, London

                        Primavera, Cambridge

                        Zest Gallery -Work taken to SOFA, New York

                        National Glass Fair, National Motorcycle Museum, West Midlands

                        'Seeing the Light : Finch by Finch' Solo Exhibition, Museum of Zoology, Cambridge

                        Sea Pictures Gallery, Clare, Suffolk

                        Cambridge Glass Fair, Chilford Hall, Cambs

                        'Melting Point', Pyramid Gallery, York

                        'Land and Sea', Angela Mellor Gallery, Ely

                        Art London with Zest Gallery, London

                        'Genesis' '09, SDC Gallery, London

                        Cooper Gallery, Barnsley

                        The Plumbline Gallery, St.Ives, Cornwall

                        Unveiling of my Glass Beaks, Princeton University, U.S.A.

2010                 Cambridge Glass Fair

                        Sea Pictures Gallery, Clare

                        SOFA with Zest Gallery

                        Quest Gallery, Bath

                        The Buckingham Galleries, Southwold

                        The Beetroot Tree, Dunstable

                        'Atelier' Gallery, Devon

                        The London Glass Fair

                        'Natural Selection' Solo Exhibition, Zest Gallery, London

                        The Gallery at Parndon Mill

                        Cambridge Glass Fair

                        St.Davids Gallery, Wales

                        Sea Pictures Gallery, CLare

                        Piece aquired by Glasmuseet, Ebeltoft, Denmark

2011                 'Heavenly Sent', The Glass Art Gallery, London Glassblowing

                        The Cambridge Glass Fair

'                       The Affordable Art Fair, London with The Cohesion Network

                        'Spring showcase', National Glass Centre, Sunderland

                        Summer - The Victoria and Albert Museum




Selected Commissions


1997                      Glass Screen design, Nason Davis Ltd, Cambridge

2002                      Large Silk and Glass wall-hangings ‘Studio 1’ Beauty Salon

2003                      Glass Screen design, Nason Davis Japan Ltd, Tokyo

2003-04                 Collection of photographs & drawings, Bridges of St. Ives

                             Various private commissions in Oils inc. ‘Balloon Flight over Africa’, Jo’burg, S.A.

                             Photographic commission for tree-themed meeting rooms, Art Contact

                             Photography for Itchy Guide to Cambridge

2004-05                 Design and production of bespoke Wedding Stationery

                             Photographs & Brochure design, Travis Perkins Ltd.                  

2004,06                  Various private commissions in Pen & Ink & Watercolour

2005-06                 Greeting Card commissions in Pen & ink: Woodmansterne Publications

                Hotchpotch Publications

                             Various photographic commissions inc. Rider Sale Associates, Eversham

                             Venue restaurant, Cambridge

2006                      Allen & Overy Ltd, Bishops Square, London: Large Scale photographs, flora and landscapes of Italy, Spain, Holland and U.K

2005-08                 Various private photographic and glass-based commissions

2008                      Orchard St Investment Management, Cork St, London: Large scale photographs on Canvas

2008                      Glass Baby-feet commissions

2008                      Glass mascot for Antique Morgan

2009                      Large Cast Glass Petals for ISO Design orchids

                             Princeton University - 2 x Cast Glass Finch Beaks for foyer of Biology Dept to celebrate the Grant's win of the Kyoto Prize for their work on Galapagos Finches