One of the best things about the glass program at the Canberra School of Art when I was there (and still now I believe) were the many students and visiting artists from other places. In fact I’d say, at times, there may have been more than half the students from other countries. This is always an awesome thing, different cultures, different perspectives, different ideas about art among other things. I learned tons from my fellow students there. Also occasionally you get someone who’s massive laugh is SO contagious, you can’t help but be happy to be in the same workspace as them. Alexandra Chambers is originally from Colorado, but has been in Australia quite a while now. She is a talented glass artist who makes work that has a wonderful nostalgic quality, lots of times to do with music (which I love!) and she can belt out a tune over the top of the roar of the furnace- which is also talent.
Tell people a little about yourself. Where were you born/grow up, did you study?
I was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA, and grew up in Littleton, Colorado. I went to Pilchuck Glass School near Seattle a couple of times, meeting some nice Aussies who encouraged me to come and study at the Canberra School of Art, which I did in 1999.
What do you do now, is it what would you like to be doing?
I’m currently working out of the Canberra Glassworks, to make my artwork, when I’m not juggling my time between the family.
What does a typical day for you involve? Or a typical week? Is typical even a word for you?
I work 2 days a week at a cafe, waiting tables, and the rest of the week I’m looking after my kids, and doing activities at home, lamp-working in my shed, sewing, cooking, and chopping firewood..
What mediums do you like to work with?
Glass is my main focus in my sculptural work, with other elements, such as found objects, wood, & metal.
I also like sewing and crochet, knitting, & doing nanna crafts
Where do you work?
I have my lamp-working torch set up in the shed, so I work out there. If I’m doing residencies, those studio spaces are my working space and I use the Canberra Glassworks as my facility for making components. I need a bright area to do stipple engraving, that is not in the house! I’m still looking for that space that can be covered in fine glass dust.
Who or what inspires you most – at the moment?
My surrounds of everyday inspire me! The popular culture we’re immersed in, the technology and the everyday things we use and sometimes take for granted.
Beautiful old antiques also inspire me, everything was made much more carefully and thoughtfully so long ago.
I love music. I can’t imagine my life without it. Music is my past, present and future. Music connects me.
As far as specific artists/designers: Chris Gilmour, Wolfgang Laib, Joe Colombo, Katherine Grey, Karen Willenbrink-Johnsen, Carlo Scarpa, Ross Richmond, Mel George.
Do you have a favourite blog and/or book to recommend?
I actually hardly ever read blogs, but I like:
Best thing you’ve ever made?
At the risk of sounding like a sap, my 2 children, Oliver & Milla are the best things I’ve ever made
What is the coolest thing to do in your town?
I live rural, and the coolest thing to do is either sit on the veranda and take up the view, take a nice walk by the river, or head down to the local RSL club for a beer.
And one awesome place to eat there?
Is there something you’re bad at?
Making decisions sometimes, I’m way too indecisive. And spelling. I’m crap at spelling.
Did you ever want to be rich or famous? What drives you?
I used to want to be a famous actress, or singer. That was before I found happiness in making art and being content with what I have. I would much rather be broke and love what I do every day, then to have loads of money with no true happiness. I feel so fortunate in where I am now, and I try to live by the philosophy of Baba Ram Dass: “Remember Be Here Now”.
Thanks to Alex. I’ll be over to your house for a meal soon, I love rural! I’m constantly impressed with the balance Mum’s achieve with work and creativity and family! It’s a beautiful, busy thing. Check out more of Alex’s work here and if you’d like to try her Mama’s peanut brittle, go here!