Saturday, 30 June 2007

Emma Camden at Avid

On a visit to Wellington this week, I was pleased to be able to see the last few days of Emma Camden's exhibition ...something remaining... at Avid (see Emma's major works are her explorations of architectural forms, and there are three magnificent examples in this show. But she also expresses aspects of her life and daily experiences through smaller glass pieces, of which I now have a couple. I was pleased to be able to acquire one of the "Charms" in this show, pieces based on the elements of a charm bracelet that belonged to Emma's mother.

This is the one I bought, 'Fading memory', in a pale yellow cast glass

Saturday, 2 June 2007

Tony Kuepfer's Tall Bottles

Tall bottles with thin necks are a distinctive part of the glass art of Tony Kuepfer. My first purchase of a piece of NZ glass secondhand was a tall bottle labelled as being by Tony Kuepfer. I had never seen anything like it before. But then I began to see others, until I had quite a few – thirty at last count. Tony says he might have made about 250, so I haven’t quite cornered the market, yet. Because they are so distinctive, I can now spot them a mile away. Tony made these over much of the time he was at Inglewood, at least between 1979 and 1986.

When the 25 year old American glassblower arrived with his Kiwi wife in 1973, there was no tradition of studio hot glass in New Zealand. They went to Taranaki in March 1974 - some friends had mentioned the old church at Inglewood – and set up a studio, gallery and residence. Tony made his first hot glass in NZ in 1975.

At Inglewood, he taught others, laying the foundation for New Zealand's hot glass movement. His studio continued at Inglewood for nearly 15 years, and provided many New Zealanders with their first chance to buy studio glass and to see it being made. Tony was a true pioneer, who inspired, taught and stimulated many later glass artists, and who first began educating New Zealanders to buy glass as art. His influence continued through his teaching in Whanganui, and through his ongoing involvement in glass. Tony still makes glass occasionally. He plans to build a kiln and get started again soon. Maybe there’ll be more tall bottles.

I have been pleased to lend some of my Kuepfer tall bottles for exhibitions at Te Papa (2004-5), Objectspace (2006) and The New Dowse 2007. You may have seen them there.