Sunday, January 29, 2017

Gals of Glazz - Kate Nixon

I wanna get back on the wagon so to kick it off, the first Gal of Glazz for 2017 (bloody hell is that date right?!) is all round super star Kate Nixon. Kate is one of those gems that just radiates good guy vibes. She is an excellent glass blower, killer assistant on a team and great sense of humour. She is also one of those people who is always willing to help out. (This gorgeous gal offered to drive my exhibition works from canberra to adelaide and delivered! Thank you Kate, I owe you somethin real good!) I have just been seeing some of the epic shots from the Aus Glass Conference pop up in my feed and there is the lady herself! So I thought that must be a sign to get this bad boy up and running again....

Gals of Glazz
Tune in for 10




1.             Who are you and what do you do?
I am a Kiwi-born, Aussie-trained blower of the glazz. Fresh outta the JamFactory Associate program in 2015, I am now living in Canberra and splitting my time between Craft ACT and the Canberra Glassworks.


2.             What do you make?
I collect, covet and make objects. My work is about the way in which our private identities are expressed through the things we collect and the material mass we will eventually leave behind.  I like to transform kitsch shells, old wallpaper and gaudy flowers into precious decorations, adorning large urns and sparkling mosaics, as homage to the mundane accumulations of our lives.




3.             Why do you make?
As we all know, the world needs more stuff. Especially glass stuff. I’m just doing my bit.


4.             What’s you colour palette?
1970’s – think mission brown, orange, avocado and lime



5.             What’s your proudest achievement?
Making it through the JamFactory Associate Program – marriage intact!


6.             Hot or Cold?
Definitely hot



7.             What’s your dream project?
A large, well-funded public mosaic project would be awesome. Or global flea market reviewer, perhaps?


8.             What’s your influences?
I’m heavily influenced by the aesthetics of the 1970’s, kitsch and folk art. I started listing my glass heroes but the list got too long – they know who they are!




9.             What’s coming up for you? Or what are you looking forward to?
I just returned from a four-month residency at Berlin Glas. I am now looking forward to the husband-imposed travel ban being lifted in 2018. Oh, and I am looking forward to the Ausglass Conference in Canberra in January and catching up with all my interstate glass buddies!




10.         If you could only eat 3 foods for the rest of your life what would they be?
Assuming wine is not covered by these restrictions; cheese, bread and eggs (pronounced iggs)


Saturday, January 28, 2017

2016 - I did some stuffs

I really like to read over my old posts when I'm not feeling it. I like to remember the things I have done and feel good about it not just like, add it to the pile and forget about it, more celebrate it. Now is one of those times. Summer is and always has been, a total struggle for me. It's like I just fall into a dark well and really struggle to pull myself out some days. It's like the small dark cloud sits heavily on my shoulders and I really struggle to see the light. Dramatic right? It's the truth. Studios pretty much shut down and there isn't any glass blowing to be had. I should be happy, who the fuck wants to blow glass in thirty plus degree weather? I just worry about where the next job is coming from and I can't ever really relax. It is the same every year. I work myself into the ground then the downtime is excruciating. I just read last years wrap up and it says the same thing... burn out. I don't know I feel like this time is something more but I'm still trying to pull myself out of this hole so I thought now is the best time to recap my year that was.

To start off I am going to remind myself that this is going into the third year (I'm at two and a half) that I have supported myself full time as a glass blower. No part time job, this is the real deal. 100% income coming from glass. Incredible! I'm not sure when I am going to realise tis is more than a fad, I always think well if it gets really bad I can fall back on a retail gig again or a pub job. Maybe I need to start telling myself that this is the real deal. Believe it.



I feel like 2016 really kicked off with our trip to Japan with these two goons. We travelled in March to see the cherry blossom and it was more than I could have ever wished for! I would travel to Japan every year if I could. I love it so much.



Also whilst we were in Japan I got my first real big order for the year come in. An order for x200 lights from Jardan. Huge sigh of relief! I remember feeling so ridiculously happy! Here I was travelling in Japan, gorging myself on ramen and having generally THE best time with my husband and mates, when I get a really big, fuck off order to keep me alive and working for the next few months. Life is good!


So this was the year I really solidified having and managing a team of glass blowers work for me. I've never really done anything like this before but I knew that it was the way forward for me and my practice and I feel very fucking proud to say I pulled it off. Not once but twice this year!! Thats right, my little team made me x400 lights this year. What the actual fuck?! I am amazed. I'm a fucking boss! Being the boss is no easy thing. Managing people, and managing them remotely (my team is in Adelaide) is hard. I feel like I learnt a lot of lessons. Being the boss is stressful. I had to learn which battles to pick, which to let go, I had to juggle money constantly, I had to schedule the sessions and book them in an already pumping studio, I had to organise shipping and packing materials, I had to chase bills. Being the boss is not all champagne and cigars let me tell you. But do you know what the biggest take away here is?, not one of those x400 lights got sent back. Not one single light. Me and my team handed over x400 winners. Incredible. I am so thankful to have one of my dearest friends as my second in command in Adelaide, Dani. Not only is she my mate she really made sure those jobs stayed on track. Not only did she make the lights, she dealt with all the drama of the studio and kept me in check. Thank you Dan, you are an incredibly talented glass blower and an absolute boss of a woman, I am lucky to have you as my bud. (dani puts up with all my freak outs and always puts my mind to rest over any worries I have AND deals with everyone else we have working. She is amazing!)


So on to the next achievement, along with making lights in large scale production teams I worked solidly on my solo show, "I Dream A Greenhouse", on show in gallery 2 at the JamFactory.


As you can see, I forked out some serious dough to get some bad ass shots of the work taken because at the end of the day, the photos can be all you have left of a show. I worked my little guts out for this show. It was my first solo show since 2010. I have mixed feelings about it... On one hand I am extremely proud of the works I made and the vision I had for the show and how I turned that vision into a reality. On the other hand I tried hard not to feel the disappointment that comes with a show that did not sell really well. Honestly? My little heart broke a little. I worked so hard and spent so much money on that show, everything was self funded, that it was crushing to not have many sales. Did I price too high? Is the work no good? Do people not like my stuff? Why am I doing this? 







(I also want to add as a side note, I also, just before my exhibition, hosted and planned a ridiculous block party for my friends, like RIGHT before! Who does that?! A roaming party where each house has a cocktail and a dish, ridiculously fun, ridiculously boozy, ridiculous timing!!!)


I also thought at the time of my show, I could weasel in a couple of production sessions.... BIG mistake, HUGE! What a flippin idiot...


I was also in another show this year. This time in Canberra, with an awesome girl gang. My main squeeze, Danielle Rickaby, and jewellers and all round awesome makers, Lauren Simeoni and Mel Young. The show was called "Grow your own" and it was a lot of fun. Dan and I road tripped up with a ute packed to the brim with glass and props. Again, mixed feeling as no sales this time...again my heart it crumbles again... But you know what, the show looked fucking awesome and I got to hang out with one of my best buds for like a week. We got to play jungle mini golf in the dark how often do you get to do that?! 






(The mini golf...not the show..!)


I was also apart of another show in Canberrs, Fresh Glass. This one paired up a glassy with a florist. Super cool.

This one was a big one for me. I got asked to speak at Craft Vics "Craft and Design as Professional Practice". I was both honored and shit scared at the same time! My talk was SO different to everyone elses!! Ha! Mine was like a straight up and down bullet point do and don'ts!! I was so nervous I felt like I spoke at a hundred miles a minute and kind of like a pre pubescent boy with a voice that could crack at any minute. But, apparently I did good! People loved it! I got so much lovely feed back from it, it made me feel amazing. I said stuff like, believe your own hype, instagram is not real life, give props where props are due, that kind of stuff. I think what I learnt though was we are all the same. we all feel like we are frauds at some time and we are all just bumbling through this making our own rules. Girl boss 101. (Thats the name of my next speech for sure...)


I was also asked to speak on a panel of makers for Life Instyle.






This year I also worked on a really nice colab with Ivy Muse to make some super sweet glass planters with brass stands. I also made the lights for their flag ship store. Very exciting to make work for such lovely people. I loved this colab. They had thought of everything down to the packaging and promo. 


I def feel like I blew glass pretty solidly this year. Laurel and I usually worked once a week at Maureens, sometimes more. November and December were so busy for me. I had sessions booked up the wazoo, if you know what I mean. I had massive orders for Christmas WITH restocks. For Modern Times I think I delivered a drop of like 36 bonsais and maybe 30 had sold in a WEEK!! Nuts!


I was also asked to be apart of a very cool show at The Johnstone Collection. TJC is a heritage listed building that lets artists in to reinterpret the room. I guess one of my goals with my solo show was the hope that someone may see it and ask me to be apart of another show. Voila! 



 I got an install team AND a sandwich. The best.


I helped this goon on jobs and dressed the same.


I had a Snap Chat channel interview me, hahahaha! (They actually made a really sweet little video)


More product...


Enjoyed a brief period in an upstairs studio move...


I think I did pretty good. what started off as a year with just one solo show booked, turned out to be pretty full. 4 shows in fact, 3 of those interstate, x400 lights, multiple product runs for stockists and a huge finish to the year. I don't know what this year is going to do but I hope it's a good one, I really do. I have one major show booked in for October and I am very pleased to say this one is funded!! Thank you Australia Council!! I'm hoping this year is big and I dream of having my own hot studio but all that seems so very far away at the moment. I got me the Summer blues, but I hope it passes soon.

I'm a good guy at stuff.















Monday, September 19, 2016

Gals of Glazz - Jess Dare!!

Hoooweeeee!! Have I got a doosy for all you gals of glazz lovers out there! It is my ultimate pleasure to feature this very talented lady and fellow glassy; Jess Dare. Yeeeeewww!! Jess is super rad. She is one of those people I only really met properly last year, but one of those good eggs that you just go, man, why has it taken me so long to get to you?!

After approaching Jess after her fantastic flame working demo at Ausglass last year we kind of just sparked up a convo which turned into a frienship and somehow this grew legs and RAN. I am VERY excited to tell you that Jess and I will be exhibiting in 2017 at the Muesum of Economic Botany in the Adelaide Botanic Gardens. It is also to my sheer delight that I can tell you this exhibition was successful in it's application for funding through Australia Council. What the Fuck?! Sorry for the potty mouth, but I am just so beside myself with excitement and anticipation for this incredible opportunity that it is blowing my tiny mind. Not only a killer show lined up but real, live FUNDING to make it happen. Amazing.

Anyways, back to Jess, Jess makes truely beautiful, detailed works in both glass and metal. I hope you will enjoy her interview as much as I did (who knew about her aversion to purple?!), and the soup dumplings?, right there with you sista.

Here we go, tune in for ten and get to know the powerhouse that is Jess Dare....



Gals of Glazz
Tune in for 10

1.             Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Jess Dare, I graduated with a bachelor of Visual Arts in Jewellery from the Adelaide Centre for the Arts TAFE SA in 2006. I am now a jeweller, a flameworker and a partner of Gray Street Workshop (established in 1985).

Since 2005 I has been practicing lampworking or flameworking as it is also known, having been taught by local and international glass artists. Glass forms an integral part of my practice, I am fascinated by its rich colours, its malleability when molten, and its fragility and durability when cold.
I love the flexibility and freedom of being able to move between glass and metal freely and being able to combine these two materials. This allows me to choose the material that best expresses the concept I am working on.
My work has  allowed me to indulge in my love of travel and now forms a large part of my practice, with an Asialink residency in 2014 to Bangkok, Thailand and travel to Cambodia and Vietnam looking at floral culture and I’ve just returned from a residency in Shanghai, China.




2.             What do you make?
I make contemporary jewellery and small non-wearable objects relating to nature and memory. As a jeweller I have always been drawn to the miniature, it’s how I view the world, in small minute details.  For me, this intimate scale draws people into my sense of wonder. I also use this scale to accentuate the sense of intrigue and awe that I get from the natural world.
I have always made work about memory and in a way my fear of forgetting, I hold people and memories dear. Over the past few years I have been making delicate glass plants expressing the ephemeral nature of memory through the fragility of glass and nature itself.

Whenever I see a striking flower I feel an overwhelming desire to preserve it. But flowers are living things too – they blossom and then perish and are a constant reminder of the transience of life itself. The sharpness of memories are rounded off by time; the colours fade and details are lost. This idea of deterioration is most evident when trying to capture, preserve, study and admire a fleeting moment of a flower in full bloom.
My work over the past few years speaks of my fascination with this universal human need to hold on to and preserve memories and moments in time.



3.             Why do you make?

Because I absolutely love it, it’s who I am!!! My partner thinks I have makers OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder), I can’t help but make, my hands are rarely still.

I make to help process the things I see and experience.  The glass plants developed after the passing of my dear Grandfather, Dean Hosking in 2011.

My Grandfather was an incredibly passionate gardener. After he passed away everyone in our family became passionately obsessed with their gardens, it was as if my family was returning to the earth to be close to him. My work has become my garden.

I spend a lot of time in gardens, growing plants, taking photos, observing and my design bench is surrounded by photos, plastic plants, dried flowers and pictures, so all the information is around me and in my mind. I create from my memory of plants, I do not try to replicate nature instead my view of nature, with small abstractions.



4.             What’s you colour palette?
Every colour under the sun (except purple, I don’t like purple)! I was initially attracted to glass for the plethora of colours available, to me it was a way of including colour with my metal work in a durable material that was different to traditional materials like gem stones etc.

Having said that over the past couple of year I have been using a lot of white.  I often use white, bleached of colour to suggest transience in the way flowers wither, loose colour and die, I use clear glass for this same reason.



5.             What’s your proudest achievement?
In 2013 I met with Robert Bell, the curator of Decorative Arts from the National Gallery of Australia at a preview of my first solo exhibition (The Nature of Memory) and after spending some time with him and discussing the work, he held up one of my Xylem neckpieces and he said “This belongs with us”. I didn’t play it cool at all and I giggled like a school girl, but it’s a moment that I will remember forever.

6.             Hot or Cold?
Hot, Hot, Hot! There is something truly magical about turning a solid into a liquid over a torch, manipulating it with some simple tools and gentle hand movements and then it cooling back into a solid, it is like magic and that wonder is never lost on me.



7.             What’s your dream project?
To work with the Blaschka collection of flowers at Harvard.

8.             What’s your influences?
Nature. The things I see and experience, my memories, my family, my mentors Catherine Truman and Sue Lorraine and my glass idols the Leopold and Rudolf Blaschka.



9.             What’s coming up for you? Or what are you looking forward to?
I have been very fortunate over the last 18 months to have done residencies in both Thailand and China and have been developing work in response to these experiences thanks to the Australia Council for the Arts and am planning a solo exhibition next year to consolidate these ideas into a major collection of work.

Some more travel on the cards: I have a touring exhibition next year going to New Zealand and Thailand so I will be heading over with the show to do some talks and workshops and dive into some more phuang malai (flower garlands) whilst I am in Thailand. A little side trip to Indonesia to soak up some floral culture and at the insistence of my partner to have a bloody holiday. And next year my work will also be shown in Germany, Finland, and China.

And an exciting collaboration in 2017 with a very special Glass Gal….




10.         If you could only eat 3 foods for the rest of your life what would they be?
This is by far and away the hardest question you’ve asked… only 3!!! I love food, I love cooking and I love exploring street food in Asia. My partner Marcus and I often have no idea what we are ordering when we are travelling but go where the locals go, point, gesture for 2 and hope for the best, we have discovered incredible food this way. But my all time favourites would have to be Xiao long Bao, Pho Bo and Bun Cha!

Xiao long bao (Shanghai soup dumplings) I could eat these everyday for the rest of my life quite happily. Dip in vinegar, soy and sometimes finely sliced ginger, then poke a small hole in the delicate skin to release the broth, drink the broth and then gobble up the dumpling!

Pho Bo (Vietnamese Beef Soup) Clear meaty broth, delicate rice noodles, fresh herbs, tender beef – yep a well rounded meal! I have sat on many a tiny plastic chair on the streets of Vietnam tucking into bowls of this deliciousness.


Bun Cha a dish hailing from Hanoi and makes my mouth water just thinking about it. In Vietnam you are served a plate of rice noodles, fresh lettuce and herbs, a cold bowl of broth (which is perfectly sweet and sour) with grilled pork (2 types of grilled fatty pork - juicy patty and crispy charred slices of pork belly), this dish is often accompanied by fried spring rolls…. Nom nom nom




Thank you so much Jess, please check out more of Jess's stuff here