Andrew Baldwin

Andy is an Australian glass artist who lives and works in beautiful South Australia. I met him first when he came to study at the Australian National University in Canberra where I was also studying. We always got along well and discovered we’d come from similar educational backgrounds (Waldorf) which definitely helped our friendship. We worked together again when he had returned (and I had moved) to Adelaide, to attend the JamFactory as associates. He has always made both thoughtful exhibition work and production. But one of my clearest memories was how he’d sometimes make me run while I was working with him. Run so that the glass was as hot as possible to make the fine little parts necessary while goblet making. The best thing about Andy is his attitude, he always has a good one. And when you work long hours with all kinds of people you definitely appreciate a positive and enthusiastic energy. I do anyway. You can’t be down on someone who loves what they do and one thing is for certain, Andy loves glass.

Andy and I also collaborated on some work in Adelaide, exhibiting under the name WAMB we made some work that was slightly out of each others comfort zone, but really fun. It’s been probably a good 10 years since I’ve seen him, I’m looking forward to the next time we meet, but you can meet him here.

Tell people a little about yourself.  Where were you born/grow up, did you study?

Born in Stirling, Scotland. My family worked and lived in a Camphill Community for people with disabilities. When I was three we moved to Australia. I had twelve years of Waldorf education in three different states. I guess I am pretty grateful for that.

What do you do now, is it what would you like to be doing?

I make a living blowing glass. It is a very challenging lifestyle but also rewarding. Sometimes I wish I was a professional surfer… But mostly I am happy with what I do.

What does a typical day for you involve?  Or a typical week?  Is typical even a word for you?

I like running in the morning first thing. It jogs all the chatter out of my head. In a good week I run four or five times, in a bad week I don’t run. My days are very flexible but revolve around my routine of glassblowing. Sunday and Wednesdays.

What mediums do you like to work with?

I am all about glass. I think that other mediums are great, but glass got me from an early age and I’m still passionate about it.

Where do you work?

Jamfactory in Adelaide has been my work place since 2001. It is a vibrant community of creative people. So glad that place exists.

Who or what inspires you most – at the moment?

Buddhism is pretty core to my life. I like reading Buddhist literature and finding ways to put it into practice. It definitely makes life more meaningful and is also where I find the inspiration for my work.

Do you have a favourite blog and/or book to recommend?

Hmmm. Mahamudra by 9th Karmapa. It is probably the most clear and succinct guide to meditation I have read.

I also really enjoy reading Lojong texts which are often translated as mind training texts.

Best thing you’ve ever made?

A timber crate to freight my work. Very satisfying to work with another material. I like timber.

What is the coolest thing to do in your town?

Farmers’ Markets on Sunday

Surfing the mid-coast

the festivals

And one awesome place to eat there?

Wasai Japanese Kitchen, Adelaide

Is one thing you’re bad at that you wish you were better at?

Surfing

Did you ever want to be rich or famous?  What drives you?

Not interested in fame. I would like to be wealthy but choose happiness first. Or maybe I am just too comfortable to make lots of money. I am really inspired by the techniques of glassblowing; I like to push myself to make complicated things like fancy Venetian style goblets or other intricate techniques.

 

Thanks Andy! You can check out more of his past work and info on his website.

Log cabin

I finished a little log cabin quilt I started a few weeks ago. I wanted to make one simply because they’re super enjoyable to put together and I used tons of my favorite fabrics which was also fun. It’s backed in a lovely blue Japanese cotton.  I’m keeping it for the right person (no idea who!) No matter what your hobby is, it’s always great to have free and spontaneous projects, ‘just because’ isn’t it?

 

Techno

I don’t have a cell/mobile phone. I had one years ago and then I got rid of it and I thought I’d get one again, but I’m enjoying life without it too much. That being said, I do have an ipad. So I can get my fill of apps and such. The main reason I have it is because I have a little attachment so that I can swipe credit cards for work which is THE BEST.

I know it’s daggy but I really love watching quiz shows and I love doing quiz’s. When everyone was talking about Lumosity, the app to help increase brain function, I was all over it. Daily. But recently I’ve found two apps I love even more! If you like testing your brain or facts, you might like these too! The first is Elevate, it’s like Lumosity on drugs. It definitely tests me and I like to think I’m staving off going senile by at least a year or two. The second is Quizup which are hundreds of quiz options you play vs your friends or real people around the world. This also satisfies my competitive edge (when it comes to quiz’s that is) and I’ve found myself down the rabbit hole of facts more frequently than I should be admitting. (I’m best in Canada in Australian Geography and fairly high on the Downton Abbey rankings!! :) )

Brother and Sisters

I feel so happy to have them. I know it’s a lot to do with luck whether or not you get along with your siblings. Sometime you’re just such different people you really can’t be friends. I know more than 10 sets of twins! Isn’t that strange? I love hearing about their experiences as such close family members. I’d say half the sets I know really don’t get along so it’s true, it’s often luck. Only children are lucky in other ways. For me, especially in tougher times and even though I’m so far away, I’m not sure I could live without them.

This month I’m working on my baby sisters wedding quilt!! She liked her little lap quilt so much that I went with a sort of similar design, but in black, grey and white. It will be my second big queen quilt, which is nuts to quilt on a home machine, but I’m almost half-way done! Seems odd to gift a quilt in the middle of summer, but weddings need such big presents no? Quilt photo’s coming soon. Happy weekend!

Kindness

I’ve been thinking a lot about kindness lately and how it’s not often considered a particularly useful quality, especially in terms of business. It’s something I hold high on my list of life qualities and am aiming to be more so whenever possible. Perhaps it’s not considered cutthroat as an emotion and I know it can often lead to people taking advantage of it. Some people definitely mistake kindness for weakness, (that’s a direct quote from Al Capone) but I think in the right situation it can be an extremely powerful quality in business. Especially if your business involves people. Customers or employees.

If you’ve ever had someone show kindness at a moment when you really needed it, you surely know how powerful and indeed unforgettable it is. This week I’m aiming to think of 3 practical ways I can incorporate kindness into my workplace. I won’t mention how (don’t want to toot toot my own horn!) but I’ll let you know if I think it’s working! I’m guessing it’ll make me feel better than anyone, but hopefully it makes a difference or gets paid forward, even subliminally. Bon weekend : )

The Homemade Exchange

I’ve mentioned our little exhibition - the homemade exchange, before, but I wanted to share my final piece with you here. (Sorry if this is redundant for you!)

The exhibition is the result of a playful collaboration. Fifteen artists took a photograph of a domestic setting and then received one in exchange. Each has responded with an artwork, using various mediums, including drawing, textiles and film. The participants are located in Switzerland, Israel, Canada and Australia (including artists from Melbourne, Canberra, Sydney and Perth). Curated by Demelza Sherwood.

I was given this lovely image, by Emily O’brien,

and this is a little cushion I made in response, it’s called Sunday Sawtooth.

It’s inspired by the traditional quilts I love, especially the sawtooth pattern which has that nice jaggedy edge.  Emily’s image has so many beautiful vintage pieces in it, I also wanted the cushion to work well in the actual space if it ever flew over the world into her living room. I love the colours in the original photo so I ‘sawtooth pixelated’ it. Each little square is an inch and there are about 250 separate pieces in the whole thing!

The exhibition that’s part of Craft Victoria’s Craft Cubed runs until the end of the month, if you want to hear more about it, Demelza Sherwood gave a wonderful little interview here http://www.craft.org.au/news/craft-cubed-interview-the-homemade-exchange/.

Lovely Liberty

If you’re a fan of fabric like me, you’re likely also a fan of Liberty of London. It’s pretty hard to resist the gorgeous feel of Tana Lawn. If you’re on a budget though, you may just admire them from afar because these pretties are not low end.

Jacqueline Sava’s amazing Crossroads to Bachelor Hall quilt (that orange… I die)

I did cave in and decided to join Weswood Acres “Liberty club”. Once a month I get a little ‘present’ in the mail which is so much fun. Ten little fat 16ths (that’s about 13in x 9in). It’s been three months now and I have to say I already feel like I’ve got a pretty good stash built up. I’m thinking of making my parents an epic Libs Elliot quilt for their big 70ths coming up next year.

Recently Libs released one of her awesome patterns on the Liberty Lifestyle blog for free! Her quilt actually uses Liberty Lifestyle prints which are actually quilting weight cottons and a little more affordable too.  Libs Elliot is an awesome Toronto based textiles artist who uses a programming language of processing to generate quilt patterns. They’re really great and I got her Rebel quilt pattern a while ago wanting to make it asap. Too many projects too little time! My Dad did ask for something ‘chaotic’ as far as patterns go, so I think one of Libs’ quilts will be perfect!

Libs Elliot  - Rebel quilt

By the way – if you’ve wanted to try some Craftsy classes, but weren’t too sure about which courses to try, there’s a huge sale on classes right now, I highly recommend them. You can do the classes whenever you want forever!! They never expire so you can go back and retry all kinds of things. Really fun!