Tagged: Australian glass artists

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?


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.

Jonathan Baskett

caterpillar bowls

Jonathan Baskett is a busy travelling glass artist who I’ve known for a long time.  He’s one of the first glass artists I met who was confidently interested in production glass.  Over the years he has developed a huge range of glass lines working often with factories and studios around the world to get the products up an running.  The clean, beautiful forms often have simple lines and sometimes they stack or fit together in groups of bright colours which is personally what I would fill my house with if Ange would let me.  He was visiting artist while I was at University and went on to support me when I needed a studio space, which we shared for a number of years.  He’s boisterous and fun and now lives with his lovely wife in Mexico city – here’s a little more about my friend Jonny B.

sugar shaker for fink!

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

I grew up in the outer suburbs of Canberra, Australia. It was a quite orderly existence I have some very fond memories of the time however I couldn’t wait to get moving and see the world.

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

I work with glass I love the material, it has many possibilities.

I have been very fortunate over the years to travel the world with this material recently to Mexico City as head of research end development at Nouvel studio. This was a fantastic time and I learnt a lot, about a lot but specifically semi automatic and full automatic hot glass and cold glass processing. It was fun time working on perfume and liquor bottles, glass jewelry production and unique work.

Hot shop at Nouvel Bebol development at Nouvel

In early 2011 I moved to N.Y. to assist the start up and operation of Niche modern’s hot glass studio, this then merged into a design associate position with a lot of back of house work I learnt a lot about the operation and maintenance of a hot glass shop as well as all aspects of the lighting industry – all important for the next move…

arial view of Niche modern hot shop and surrounds Beacon in winter

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

There isn’t a typical day as such and I like it that way I work erratic hours. I love to have my work in progress around me so I can constantly pick it up analyze and review. When working for others I try to be as lineal in my thought patterns as possible often it works, sometimes it doesn’t.

What mediums do you like to work with?

In N.Y. I became very interested in perfume. My mother in law is a perfumer and helped me understand the complexities of the science. There currently doesn’t seem to be much awareness about scent as an art form but it is definitely a growing movement with modern perfumers moving in all directions.

I am also very interested in lighting and look forward to exploring this further.

Lighting protos NY

Where do you work?

Wherever I can!

In Australia I was very lucky to have my own small studio space this allowed me to work on larger and longer projects. When I moved to the factory in Mexico there wasn’t really a designated space for me at the work place. This forced me to re-consider my work practice including more online documentation and improving my “administration skills”.

In NY I lived the dream a work/live loft with a huge open space affording lots of natural light. It was an organic space constantly morphing for individual projects for lighting, tableware and perfume creation. My wife is a dancer and she would move the space around completely using it to practice choreography routines. It had a great kitchen and at night we used an old packing table to eat off. It was warm in winter and cool in summer I’m really going to miss that place !

dinner/drawing/packing table

Who or what inspires you most – at the moment?

I love Mexico City it’s a huge thriving cosmopolitan metropolis steeped in history but constantly changing and evolving, what makes the city beautiful is it’s soul and big heart. I like to get out and walk the streets to experience the city. There are some great artists, designers and architects doing some great stuff here. Mexicans are very generous with their culture and food and keen to share it with the world. You are never too far away from food in this gastronomical jewel if you are not eating you are either talking or thinking about it!

Central Mexico City looking out towards the volcanoes

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

Facebook (no joking)!

My life seems to be filled more and more with technical jargon – furnace manuals, lighting specifications, perfume formulas leaving little time for any pleasurable reading.

Last winter however I read a book called: Emotional branding by Marc Gobe. Sounds like a dry read but the content was great talking about reaching people by creating an emotional connection with our products instead of the ubiquitous.

Best thing you’ve ever made?

A living from my hands.

What is the coolest thing to do in your town?

To start the weekend I like to go to the Lucha Libre wrestling a short walk away from where I live it’s colourful, loud and surreal. Afterwards grab a bite and something to drink, discuss emphatically the game and see the night off at La Covodonga a Spanish bar/ cantina.

lucha libre

I like to visit the markets to buy my food fresh – and there are many in Mexico city from the flower market Jamaica to the more European San Juan specializing in exotic meats (including kangaroo) Asian produce and fantastic delicatessens with a wide array of European cheeses and meats.

Sunday morning (conditions permitting) is a trip to the Lagunilla flea market, which has been operating continually since the Aztecs.

Another interesting excursion is to take a tour on a Mexican style gondolier on the Xochimilco canals, a legacy of the extensive canal system created by the Aztec empire. No need to bring anything with you vendors on boats will side up to you offering anything from quesadillas, tacos, drinks or even live music last time we had a boat load of enthusiastic mariachis play requests for us.

Mexico city is vast there is a lot to do, it’s pretty high up in the sky (2,240 metres/ 7,350 ft) so don’t rush around it catches up with you. Take your time, talk to people, eat and relax for such a large city it’s surprisingly humble and peaceful.

And one awesome place to eat there?

My mother in laws house of course ! There’s always something on the boil and many many salsas to explore including the traditional habanero, de arbol, serranos and of course chipotles to the more essoteric vanilla, peanuts and sesame seed.

Seriously Mexico City offers the full gamut of cuisine from all over the world of all qualities, for me the best food is on the streets and at the markets is honest, creative and very good value – foods stalls offer everything from tacos, quesadillas tostadas, soups, tamales, ceviche, freshly squeezed fruit juice et al.

If I had to name one favourite place (and that is hard) it would have to be our local taqueria El Faraón (Oaxaca 93 Roma, Mexico City), great tacos fresh, clean, great servings and 4 amazing salsas.

Is there something you’re bad at?

Lots – time management, decision-making and dancing (something I will need to work on)

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

Wherever I travel I always enjoy finding local artists, designers, workshops, arteliers, studios and boutique stores selling the locally created it’s what makes travel fun.

I’ve always sought an audience for what I do as a maker I think that’s normal, fame would be great if it doesn’t compromise the integrity of my work – here’s the dilemma. I believe an artist or company looses something if it becomes too big and therefore famous – it enters the mainstream and while financial reward is almost certainly achieved the very quality that made the organization what it is somehow is lost in the process as the products loose their flair and become available to all. While there are certainly companies that can mange both fame and integrity the numbers are few.

There is a book I read recently called Deluxe: How luxury lost its luster by Dana Thomas which puts this very issue into perspective, as small designer/maker labels grow into international brands run by multibillion dollar global corporations.  The handcrafted element of the business ceases to exist instead concentrating on profit generation at whatever cost – that’s not my idea of fame.


More than any other post – Jonny’s has made me so hungry I’m off to search for anything that looks half as good here in Montreal!  Thank’s for your time Jonny, we can’t wait to visit Mexico city!

Scott Chaseling

Chandelier for Bildwerk (you know how I love a chandelier!)

Happily, today I am featuring Scott Chaseling on my blog.  The first of my Q & A’s! Actually it is special that I feature Scott first, because more than almost any teacher I had at Art School (15 years ago now) he made the most resounding impact on me. Perhaps it was just right place, right time, who knows?  But when I began University I was a wee 17 years old, with not much of a clue about what it meant to be an artist.  I was fortunate enough to be at the Canberra School of Art with a number of incredible teachers and mentors and classmates. I leant a lot from Scott – firstly – how to blow glass!  Also about the ‘preciousness’ of glass (and glass artists), about constantly be interested in new ways to make things.  But I think possibly the best thing I learned from Scott, was about integrity.

He was recently in Frauenau, Bavaria for a 6 week residence at the Eisch Glashutte, with an exhibnition at the end.  Take a look at his tumbler for some beautiful images and a good look at lots of the work processes he uses.

Heart(h) 2012

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

Born in the country music capital of Australia: Tamworth, I got out of there real quick and have been on the road since.

I studied art in Sth Australia, then glass at the Jam Factory Craft and Design Center and the Canberra School of Art.

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

I try to live a life of a professional artist. While it requires some sacrifices I could not imagine doing anything else.

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

There is no order to my day, week or year. It oscillates between being self directed and being given wake up orders.

An example would be my recent ten weeks in Bavaria Germany. There was not one day off and it covered an artist in residency culminating in a solo exhibition, teaching a 17 day course at a summer academy whilst designing and constructing a large outdoor sculpture.

What mediums do you like to work with?

I love to draw with charcoal and graphite.

When making sculptures the dominant material is glass as it’s what I know best. This is often used with found or sourced mixed media.

Where do you work?

Where ever I am, I have learnt to adapt to the situation I am in and create accordingly. I also believe that as an artist you are constantly working just through the process of thinking about it.

Who or what inspires you most – at the moment?

I love visiting the commercial art galleries in big cities. I can easily spend every hour seeing new art work. I want to be challenged.

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

On my laptop is a bookmark list of around 40 contemporary art blogs though I dont have a fave.

TV Dinner, 2012

Best thing you’ve ever made?

Pretentiously I’d say the next piece.

What is the coolest thing to do in your town?

Make art

And one awesome place to eat there?

With friends.

Is there something you’re bad at?

Apart from filling out questionnaires, what I fail at most would be keeping in contact with all the people I’ve met on my travels.

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

I feel as an artist I search for an audience, so fame would be a part of that. Though rich and famous brings to mind celebratory status and I wish none of that as I feel it takes more energy to maintain that position than it does to make art.

All of that which is behind me. (detail) 2011

I’d like to thank Scott for those things he taught me a long time ago and for continuing to support me by being a part of this blog.  I look forward to seeing what he makes next.

(all images are from Scott’s blog)