Saturday, 24 November 2007

Beer bottle glass was used in these ash trays

The late James Mack, former Director of the Dowse Art Museum in Lower Hutt, wrote that his father worked the night shift at the AHI Glass factory in Penrose, and as a 10 year old James was fascinated to see the workers 'pluck red hot beer bottles from the production line and fashion them into things fantastical.  Their best efforts were swan ashtrays, sensitively conceived but crudely rendered'.

Most of these ash trays are brown, but there are clear and green ones, using milk and wine bottle glass. 'Kia ora' (or sometimes 'Kai ora' if they got the spelling wrong) is a common motto - this recent acquisition has 'Happy Days' and the date 1966. Dates are not common, but all the dated ones I have seen are 1966.
These epergne style ash trays are the most elaborate I have seen. They have no motto or date.

Tuesday, 13 November 2007

Tony Kuepfer tortoiseshell glass from TradeMe

My latest TradeMe acquisition is the beautiful bowl on the right. I have two other pieces like it, in the same very distinctive 'tortoiseshell' pattern. It is not signed, but has Tony's distinctive cross-pontil mark. The others I bought several years apart at a second hand shop and a street fair. The bottle is clearly signed AWK '90, giving me a good date for the other two, since they are so similar. Tony was working at Whanganui at that time. It's nice to be able to assign some certainty to unsigned pieces.

Monday, 5 November 2007

Giovanni glass on TradeMe

Giovanni (Italian for John) was the name used by John Leggott and John Croucher for their Auckland partnership in glass between 1991 and 1995. Inspired by the glass of the Italian masters, they produced some remarkable and very distinctive pieces. I bought several at the time, but I have added second hand pieces from internet auction site TradeMe, including these two recent acquisitions. I suspect I paid less than the original price - NZ glass is generally not investment art - yet! At 46 and 47 cm tall, these are substantial pieces, in the truly glowing colours that the Johns made their hallmark. Nowadays, of course, they supply these colours to others, as the makers of Gaffer Glass, which they export from Auckland to glassies throughout New Zealand and world wide.

Thursday, 1 November 2007

Mike Crawford's Amazing Glass Gourds

A quick trip to Auckland yesterday enabled me to catch the last day of Mike Crawford's show hue at Masterworks - see

I bought a gourd from Mike's first show at Masterworks last year - they are amazing. Mine is the red one in this Mastwerworks exhibition image.

This time, as well as whole gourds he has also produced some 'cut' and 'carved' ones, reflecting even more strongly the links between his art and the Māori decorative use of gourds (hue in Māori), which were also functional objects, of course. It'll be interesting to see where he takes this fascination with gourds next.