Author's Posts

Ngwenya Glass’ 30th Anniversary International Workshop
3-7 April 2017

One of my highlight of 2017 is to have been part of Ngwenya Glass’ renowned workshop again. The last time I was in the the Kingdom of Swaziland to make glass was 2010, for the VuvuAfrica project to celebrate South Africa’s Soccer World Cup and previous workshops.

This year the stage was set with seven master blowers on the factory floor. Peter Bremers directed and coordinated the invited participants, designers, artists and allocating master blowers in a positively productive chaotic dance on the floor of the Ngwenya Glass factory.

Internationally acclaimed master glass blowers joining Ngwenya Glass’ masters Sibusiso Mhlanga and James Magagula on the floor:
Davide Salvadore (Murano, Italy)
Tim Shaw (Adelaide, Australia)
Richard Price (Amsterdam, Netherlands)
Marco Lopulalan (Leerdam, Netherlands)
James Devereux (Wiltshire, UK)

A big thank you goes out to Chas Prettejohn for the generous hospitality and opening the factory to a week of creativity. Ngwenya Glass is an example of where creativity and highly skilled professionals can meet to expand horizons on the possibilities glass can offer in a sustainable and African way.

It was a busy exciting week meeting up with old friends and making new ones whilst solving creative challenges on the fly.

Till the next time… 😉


Additional links to videos:
Welcome Committee
Ngwenya Glass Workshop 2017 – Day One
Ngwenya Glass Workshop 2017 – Day Two
Ngwenya Glass Workshop 2017 – Day Three
Ngwenya Glass Workshop 2017 – Day Four

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This collective memory is mainly made up of zeros and ones, little switches and electrical mini-currents which are pretty much intangible, impossible to perceive without an intermediary device such as an LED screen which converts these abstract blips into pixels, letters and images of cute kittens.

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Making art has always been a journey for me. Although sketches are made, plans scribbled on paper and maps drawn up with inklings of the destination, it is the problem solving and decisions taken on the way that give meaning to my endeavor.

Then the destination is reached…
This is the moment where the sculpture starts to converse on its own, the birth of an idea in a universal language.

Current sculptures and series’ such as Rock View, Silverstone, Grids, Guardians, etc. are all attempts at understanding and exploring the idea of “being human”.

I love imagination and finding the familiar in odd places. As a youngster I used to look up at the clouds and see all kinds of different things in them. What really amazed me was when your gaze left the clouds and returned a few seconds later how much of the previous illusion has changed, that the old man’s face now resembles a grinning crocodile…

Taking stock on my current trajectory I’m noticing myself still exploring these imaginative avenues. Is this not a truly human trait? The pure arrogance! To identify yourself in the detritus of the universe? Even on Mars we have found faces resembling our human identity and given nebulas names such as “Crab” and “Horse Head”. Are these not the places where we identify our gods, within the planets, the sun and the moon?

This must be a sign that we are conscious beings, that we have an imagination and are different to the “other animals” on this pale blue dot. Is this not the fertile ground which birthed our spiritual sensibilities?

Could this trait also be responsible for the basic narrative we call art? Seeing a likeliness of ourselves in a large rock or a tree must have given rise to spirituality, to religion. We are not separate but part of the larger picture. We are part of the universe!

Perception! The pinprick hole of our pupil sucks up all this electromagnetic radiation of the “visible” spectrum. These illusive particles and waves radiate from everything around us. How can this tiny hole in our eye reveal so much if only a tiny fragment of this radiated energy stimulates our perceptive nerves?

There is so much visual information and each individual has their own perspective. My sculptures are an attempt to discern this diversity of views. I am searching for a way to articulate through experience and immediacy that moment which gave rise to the origins of the inquisitive and conscious woman, child and man.

The lens metaphor has and still is the main prerogative to explore this notion of immediacy and individual perspectives of whom we are and our affinity to the world around us.

My sculptural exploits are reaching back to the dawn of man and how this narrative still affects us today, our human nature… with a glassy twist. 

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Blow Your Sculpture will open officially at the Pretoria Art Museum on the 12th of November 2016.

Please join us for refreshments, great sculptural lighting and to meet the artists.

Saturday, 12 November 2016 10:30 for 11:00 at the Pretoria Art Museum.

bys-invite-1-bParticipating Artists:
Dr. Ingram Anderson
Lothar Böttcher
Guy du Toit
Peter du Toit
Mike Hyam
Martli Jansen van Rensburg
Mignon Mayhew
Maxi Pretorius
Liesl Roos
Retief van Wyk

and special guest Emil Kováč

The exhibition will run till the end of 2016.

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