Author's Posts

“Kuruvinda” is the title of my latest optical sculpture. The title of a work of art is always a very personal interpretation. It gives the new born creation a name to enter this world, to communicate it’s character or an abstract message from the maker.

“Kuruvinda” is the Sanskrit name for ruby which is the colour of the laminated sheet of hand made Murano sheet glass at its base. Why Sanskrit? No particular reason other than Kuruvinda being an unusual and exotic sounding name with cryptic references to my trade, its history and tools. Corundum, another name for ruby and a naturally found mineral is extremely hard, 9 on the Mohs scale of hardness whereas diamond is ten. It is used as an abrasive as it can scratch almost any other softer mineral. I use corundum wheels to decoratively cut my glass… and it has been used as such for millennia.

But then the work also needs to speak for itself. The title is merely a facet of the whole. As an artist you need to instil your personality and confidence into the intended work. The artwork becomes an extension of you, one aspect of the journey you are on.

Once the sculpture is “on stage” for an audience to critically engage with the spectacle it embodies, the story takes form. I link my work to many references, like instruments and voices in a musical ensemble, combining glass, light, stone, steel and sometimes wood in harmony; and sometimes also in disharmony. There are hints to my intentions but I very much enjoy an ambiguous narrative. This allows the spectator to experience the work on their own terms and diversifies its existence through their interpretations.

The nuances are always so subtle that it is almost impossible for everyone to see or experience my optical anomalies exactly the same way.

My sculptures could be likened to music for the eyes.

You are invited to attend the opening and exhibition of contemporary South African Glass Art titled:


Thresholds (in)between Glass curated by Thabang Monoa at Art It Is.
Opening: 04 February 2016 18:00 by Dr. Ingram Anderson.
Participating artists: Martli Jansen van Rensburg, Retief van Wyk, Mike Hyam, Liesl Roos, Iwan van Blerk, Ryan Manuel, Greg Miller, Lothar Böttcher, Thabang Monoa, Kgotso Pati, Pfunzo Sidogi, Rina Myburgh, Marileen van Wyk, Bongani Dlamini and Chonat Getz.


Art It Is – 011 447 9176

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Air, The Aether That Sustains Us

Lothar Böttcher
Late 2015


It’s the stuff in your lungs right now. It’s the tempest sinking ships. It lifts the rainbow and the smell of freshly fried onion. It makes you dance…

Air is the substance in which we all find ourselves. We sustain our journey in life through air.

Mere ramblings of semi-poetic cliches will be uttered should I continue this path of describing our little, thin layer of life. My observations are from a small spot in this whole wide world. Actually it is called a plot, and it is in South Africa, and compared to many other places in the world, we have an abundance of space.

What lies between spaces? What lies between cities? Mountains? Rivers?

Yes, and Air.
During this week I have been following the COP21 climate meeting in Paris from very far sidelines. What I have seen so far though, is a mess. Political rhetoric, corporate vitriol and hot air utterances filled with empty promises. There is always another “goal” to score, way way down the line. Status quo with new words.

The media repots on the big wig leaders. The guys and girls who have to make it sound great. Their masters preparing speeches to recite.

Cynical… Yes! All this fucking talk up there is not enabling the changes needed down here. Window dressing and cashing in on their bonuses does not cut it!

Soon the troughs will be barren. There are dynamics at play we do not understand, never mind even try to control. The North is seeing an influx of, almost engineered precision, refugees. When was this ball kicked into play? Maybe twelve years ago?

“The haves have not accrued…”

Our power went out when the wind picked up. There are bugs crawling all over the light of the screen. It is wonderful. It is truly beautiful to see life and living happening regardless. Regardless of sentiment, religion, race or anything else but surviving. (btw: If I should fall ten times my length I’ll be shattered… these crawlers not.)

Could one call that a vulnerability? Probably gives us more incentive to push the limits. We have the ability to enhance our talents. Cars, bikes and rockets accelerate us to planets. Shoes protect my feet over stones. Songs tell stories. Theatre makes you cry.

Human kind is unique. Uniquely stupid and uniquely creative. Not even on this planet do we have anything remotely as great and brutal as us. Our species is universally unique. There will not be anything nearly as beautiful as us anywhere else!

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Lenses, almost a natural lineage of glass making when you approach your material as a cold worker, grinder and polisher. Refractive qualities of the polished surfaces bend and distort light which passes through this optical medium. These qualities are exactly what I am exploring in my current journey.

The lenses I am making are more than mere cold working processes or exercises. They are metaphors. Metaphors on the modern dilemma of information overload. Our modern anxious lifestyles of sharing kitten fotos and selfies to be consumed and liked in an instant (or not) by strangers on all continents.

My lenses differ from the battery operated ones we hold in our hands. They only need light – and a spectator – to “convert” first-hand information into unique first-hand visual experiences, transforming contiguous spaces within and beyond, distorting the finely aligned mathematical radiation of the electromagnetic waves we perceive as visible light. Maintaining an intentional “handmade-ness” I explore the optical possibilities and sculptural diversity glass has to offer and emulate the origins of my craft (from toolmaking in pre-historic times).

These maquettes are studies. Although small, the spaces they capture are limitless. My intention is to make them large, as public sculptures. Their function is to stimulate awareness of the contiguous spaces where we find ourselves. To bring us back to the here and now.

This theme of immediacy has been part of my creative vernacular for many years, due, in part, to the “window”, process and optical qualities glass offers. It is just that now, more than ever, my understanding of how huge the universe is and how inconsequential our actions are in relation to the immenseness of the cosmos.

Our insatiable appetite for knowledge and fearless endeavours to explore uncharted territory informs the flip-side of my creative coin. It is exactly this Aha! moment I am after, that instant which spurs spiritual growth and makes us human.

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Its that time of year again, you know? Its that crazy time of year again when everything is happening. The last curtain call and everyone is on stage, before the show ends and we enter 2016.

If there ever was a tumultuous year, this was the one. 2015 has seen much discontent culminating in the student marches to the (self-serving and disconnected) president at the Union Buildings, not even two weeks ago. At last, the voices of of the future of this beautiful country are being heard, not quite in harmony but at least not singing a defined political tune. Let the momentum of this bring us back to sensibility.

On a personal level there were lots of ups and downs. I don’t think I have ever been as productive as this year. Many exhibitions and sales to boot, keeping the home fires burning. Trips are planned to expand my creative reach (more to follow later). A grand show of Southern African glass will take place during Cool Capital at the Pretoria Art Association by the end of next year which Dr. Ingram Anderson and I are curating. In March a solo exhibition at Long Street Art Lovers is already stimulating my focus.
Like all journeys one has to traverse the dark valleys to get to the other side. Luckily the view from the next hillock inspires “Fortschritt”.

So, here we are. November 2015. I’ll turn 42 next week. Still feel 25 though…

One of my highlights this year was a Roger Ballen photographic workshop coordinated by the Alternative Print Workshop’s Dennis and Janus. We had a derelict building at One Fox Street, down town Johannesburg, to our disposal. “Bring props”, they said, and we did. I thoroughly enjoyed the environment of learning by doing. Roger made his rounds through the building and gave us 16 participating photographers tips, comments and compliments.
This interaction has been invaluable to my photographic “eye”. As I told Roger, we were busy taking pictures and he came around sprinkling a few grains of salt here and there, sharing his magic with us, making us look at the small things, the details.

Thank you Roger! God is indeed in the detail.

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Summer is not hiding behind the veil of Spring. It is hot and the days are dry. Today my little Sunday cycle took me to a spot I haven’t been for a long time – Roodeplaat Dam, next to the dam wall.

In my youth we took visitors from overseas to the wall, as you could actually walk on it to see the overflow gushing down into the valley below. I even recall a photo of me wearing a Spiderman T-shirt and imitating Rabobi.

I am glad to have taken the camera. I have always enjoyed taking photos and got my first real camera from my Dad, a Canon snappy x or something. It was an orange 35mm point and press gadget. My Dad had a Olympus OM1 which I used as a student for my photography. I still have that old mechanical wonder although its light sensor is broken.
This probably influenced my future choices of cameras as I am shooting with a OMD E-M5 now. Another reason is that I have really great manual lenses, 35 and 50mm, and an adapter ring to use on the new digital 4/3 format. These lenses have a nostalgic quality to them, almost like one is looking back in time through them.

Below are a few shots taken this morning. I am experimenting with Pareidolia, suggesting faces or familiar association within nature.
I’m consciously exploring the elements for this ongoing research…

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What a week! What a month!

Several exhibitions are lined up for the next few weeks.

Tomorrow evening, the 1st of October sees the opening of “Abundant Abstraction” at Art It Is. This is a new gallery just down the road from the “Gallery Strip” on Jan Smuts Ave, Rosebank.

Next week the Clover Aardklop Festival opens in Potchefstroom with two group shows which I am part of.
The first is titled: “Games People Play” curated by Yannis John Generalis, Gordon Froud and co-curator Doreen de Klerk.
The show takes place at the North-West University (NWU) Botanical Gardens and Art Gallery in Potchefstroom. The exhibition will feature artists Angus Taylor, Izanne Wiid, Jaco Sieberhagen, Sybrand Wiechers, Jan van der Merwe, Steven Bosch, Neil Nieuwoudt, Richardt Strydom, Eric Duplan, Yannis John Generalis, Belinda Leontsinis, Kevin du Plessis, Gordon Froud, St. John Fuller, Dirk Bahmann, Vusi Mxolisi Beauchamp, Lothar Böttcher and others.

The second, and notably ground breaking exhibition titled: “Betwixt & Between”, curated by Thabang Monoa, and explores contemporary Glass Art in Southern Africa. This will be the first of its kind show, on the visual arts “stage” for any of the major art festivals in South Africa.
Participating artists include: Retief van Wyk, Martli Jansen van Rensburg, Thabang Monoa, Bongani Dlamini, Liesl Roos, Rayan Manuel, yours truly and more.

Many happy tidings and hope to see you at one of these exciting shows.


Picture 1 of 3

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So many positive things have happened during the past few weeks. This uplifting wave has opened up new possibilities and opportunities.
Looking back, this year has flown past. Is this due to me getting older? I guess the days are filled with more tasks that need completion and that is exactly what I am doing – getting shit done!
Business has been slow and sales few and far between. This absence of “distractions”, such as orders, has forced me to use my skills and what is at hand. Old projects were dusted off and tackled with new vigour. Using bits and pieces literally lying around, such as rocks and steel, my creative process and the resulting narrative has become focused and confident.
It actually frightens me how these energies are flowing, almost effortlessly. Drawings are becoming real objects and real objects are reflecting my inner thoughts. Mostly positive…, considering the reality we have to deal with daily.
I guess I have always been on the “glass is half full” side, optimistic but yet realistic that any positive change and progress takes a lot of effort. You’ll only climb a mountain by taking the first step and going forward. Not all decisions will be right and some paths lead you astray. As long as you are aware of this and keep going…
And this brings me to the opening statement. The last few weeks have given me returns on my investments. My time, sweat and blood have resulted in appreciation and sales of my sculptural work.
I thank all of my family, friends, supporters and believers for nudging me up this huge rock on my journey. I hope to give you a hand along the way too so that we can keep on  celebrating life together.
Rock on!!


Go outside and see life emerging from nooks and crannies. It is almost Spring and nature is reactivating, energy’s emerging everywhere and things are blossoming…


Blossom is on show at Art It Is for “Upcycle Chic”

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Chasing the Sun, written by Richard Cohen inspired “Shine”. In his book Cohen explores the meaning and connectedness we have with our closest star. From this vantage point my vision of who we are and where we come from broadened.
Dividing night and day with sunrise and sunset as we rotate around our own axis, the sun splashes our humble existence with visible light as we labour in its heat on the surface of this planet, the only place we can call home in the known universe.
As Carl Sagan also mused, the sun and stars in general are the engines which “manufacture” all the elements within our universe through the process of fusion. Every supernova or exploding star ejects these bits and pieces that our world and everything on it are made of. What Sagan said is that the cosmos is in us, we are made of “star stuff” (
This thought echoes my mother’s words which her father told her on explaining religion: “God is in you.”
I agree, our gods are in us all…


“Shine” is available at Dimitrov Gallery, Dullstroom

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