Sunday, 31 January 2010

A New Home for my Glass

At long last I have created the space to house and work on my collection. A new studio addition to my home provides space for the glass collection, and also makes my house more toddler - friendly, so it should be possible for those grandsons to visit. And it means I can show my collection to glass enthusiasts who may care to call.

In moving the glass into its new home (a work in progress - the new shelving hasn't arrived yet), I have rediscovered some old friends, as well as getting a few surprises at pieces I had forgotten. The plan is that this will also result in more blogging, with these newly found old pieces to write about. I have better facilities for photography, too, so hopefully that will improve as well.

So here as a teaser is a fairly remarkable piece, made in Taranaki in the 1980s. I'll tell you more about it in a future blog.

Friday, 15 January 2010

Rob Hooper was an early NZ Glass Artist

Rob Hooper was working as a technician for the Govett Brewster Art Gallery in New Plymouth in 1973 when he met Tony Kuepfer, who had recently arrived from the US. Over the next year Rob assisted Tony in the building of Tony's concrete block glass studio next to the church in Inglewood, which opened in 1974. Rob spent a year blowing glass with Tony, then went travelling and visiting glass studios in Europe. When he returned in 1976, Rob worked with Tony and John Parkin at Inglewood for a few months, then set up his own studio in the Waikato - John Parkin came to work there too for a period. In 1980, Rob Hooper moved to Henderson in Auckland and established a studio there. He entered pieces in the 1984 and 1985 Philips Studio Glass Award exhibitions at Auckland Museum.

I have not seen any glass signed by Rob Hooper, so all the pieces in my collection have been attributed to him, sometimes with confirmation by Rob himself. The vase above with cane inclusions is 15 cm high. It was offered for sale on TradeMe by a trader who said she had bought it from a woman who purchased it directly from Rob Hooper when he was involved with the artisan group at Albany in the 1970s (though she may have meant 1980s). The mug at right (9.5cm high) was part of a group of ruby glass, which I bought thinking this might be by Tony Kuepfer. When it arrived it clearly isn't Tony's work, but comparison with another piece in my collection suggested it might be by Rob Hooper.

In response to an email enquiry Rob has confirmed this, saying: 'Yes, both these pieces are mine. The copper red was particularly unpredicatbale in the mixed container glass batch I used to make'.

Saturday, 9 January 2010

Mel Simpson Discovery

It's always nice to discover something new about a piece in my collection. I have been doing some historical research in connection with a forthcoming book to be published by the NZ Society of Artists in Glass. I was examining (not for the first time by any means) the catalogue for the 1985 Philips Studio Glass Exhibition, held at Auckland Museum. To my delight, I realised that the catalogue image shown of a piece by Mel Simpson very closely resembles, or indeed may be exactly, a piece of Mel's now in my collection. I bought it on TradeMe in December 2006, but I hadn't noticed the comparison until now.

It is 27cm in diameter and 13 cm high. On the base it is engraved 'Simpson NZ 85', and also has a white paper adhesive label printed in black 'Hand made in NZ by MEL SIMPSON'.

It's not entirely clear from the catalogue which piece this is, but it is most likely no. 39 'blue fluted bowl', for which the price was $85. I would have happily paid that for it but of course, I didn't! Mel exhibited six pieces in the 1985 Philips Studio Glass Award Exhibition, three plates, a vase, a fluted bowl and a piece, presumably sculptural titled 'Relationship Series No. 2'.

Friday, 8 January 2010

Beautiful Early Hoglund Bottle

Ola and Marie Hoglund came to New Zealand in 1982, initially to work at Hokitika Glass, before setting up their own studio in Nelson in 1984. They have used their considerable skills, both in glass-making and in marketing, to establish a significant position for themselves in New Zealand glass.

They have always clearly marked their pieces, often with an applied label as well as an engraved signature. This makes their glass easily recognisable, and attractive to collectors who may not recognise unsigned pieces by other early NZ glass artists.

I have several early pieces of their work, the oldest a rather thick and heavy cylindrical vase signed 'Ola Hoglund 1984', and with a printed paper label, black on white, 'Handmade by Ola Hoglund New Zealand'. It's 23.5 cm in height.

I was very pleased recently to add another large and early piece, bought at auction on TradeMe. It also has a printed paper label, this time black with white text 'Handmade by Ola & Marie Hoglund New Zealand', and is signed on the base 'Ola & Marie Hoglund 1986 NZ'. It has a 'post technique' neck, and is 24.5cm high.