Friday 5 December 2008

Introducing... Holly Grace

This week CLOG presents to you an interview with glass artist Holly Grace. Fresh from her recent Glass Landscapes exhibition at enCOUNTER (which you can view images of here), Holly is a respected artist with acres of experience and achievements behind her already - with many more to come of course!

Charming and eloquent (just like her work!) Holly is one of the loveliest people CLOG has interviewed to date. We do have quite a bit of her work in stock at the moment at COUNTER including the Landscape and Bonsai designs from her Exhibition range and Fish and Leaf forms from her Design range, so come have a look!

Looking at your CV reveals an amazing career in such a short period of time. How did you get to where you are today, and do you have any advice for emerging makers?
Basically don’t give up! And I think if you really love what you’re doing you will find a way to do it. Also never think that you know everything – I have had many good teachers in my life and I try and keep an open mind to new ways of doing things.

The other very important thing is to treat your practice as a business, that means keeping deadlines, doing your accounts, develop an understanding of the market, ask questions find out what sells what doesn’t and why. Always ask for feedback from your galleries or suppliers, they should have an understanding of their market and what will and won’t work. You also have to be true to yourself as well as I find it very difficult to make work that I don’t like or don’t feel connected to so you will have to find a balance that works for you and for the gallery.

The final bit of advice is that opportunities come and go and it’s only by doing stuff and making work that anything will happen. Many people have tried to say to me that I’m very lucky but my success has mostly come from hard work and perseverance.

About the process of creating work for Glass Landscapes
With the Landscape bottles, I make the blank form in the hot glass studio. In a four-hour session I will make a set of 4 or 5 vessels that I can use for a set. When I’m blowing the shapes I try and make them slightly different in shape but not too much as I still want them to work together as a sculpture. Once the forms are made and I’m happy that they work together as a set I then transfer photographic images of landscapes that I have taken here in Australia and overseas. These images are then sandblasted onto the glass and are finished off using a variety of polishing techniques.

It is fairly labour intensive but I enjoy both the hot glass part of the process which is both fast paced and physical and then the more slower and contemplative processes of cold-working the glass. Mistakes do happen, though there is not much you can do about it except throw it away or not make mistakes.

The achievement I am most proud of…
Wow! That’s a tough one! I think my first grant that was an Australia Council grant that allowed me to do a mentorship with Danish Glass artist Vikki Koefoed in Denmark for 6 months. I knew that it meant a big change in my life was coming and that glass was now becoming my career! It was also my first trip overseas so it was a big learning curve not just with glass but with life. Since then I travel overseas about 2 or 3 times a year and I have many good friends there.

I think the other achievement proud of is that my artwork is now supporting me financially and the turnover is consistently growing each year.

The first thing I do when I wake up…
I’m very boring, its coffee, check my emails and go for a run!

...and the last thing before bed.
Again very boring, herbal tea and check my emails! But no run!

My favourite thing so far…
Anything new is my favourite thing! Other than that it’s the one that got away and died a sudden death on the studio floor!

And finally, the best piece of advice someone ever told you was…
"Keep turning" – the very first thing you learn with glass blowing!

Bonsai Series 2, 2007

The inimitable Holly Grace.

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