In the crazy whirly moments before we left for our road trip / holiday last year I managed to prepare some pocket lens prototypes. They needed to come with! To be tested in new environments!

Pocket Lenses developed over years. They have become an analogue synonym of our digitally engaged society.

Lenses were a natural conclusion to the work I do. Sculpting solid (and sometimes blown) glass by grinding and polishing I invoke light to do crazy things. Light is all around us. It is the substance (or wave) that informs us of our surrounding, bouncing off everything we see.

Some light is also emitted, such as the screen you are reading this on – looking into a “window”. Looking through glass. Looking beyond the surface…

Before I get carried away by the etherial and profound lets get back to the Pocket Lenses.

One of my first iterations on the theme of looking and being seen predated smart phones. Mask and Mask Blue questioned the experience of looking through the “mask lens” and being seen looking through the “mask lens”. This was a very intentional play to engage the spectator in becoming an active part of these sculptures.

Steel handles UV-bonded on the sides of the masks encouraged the viewer to lift the sculpture off of the stand. Once the mask is held to your face to peer through your arms and elbows complete the suggested shape; to complete the sculptural concept by uniting the participant with the object and transforming these into the “full picture” – which in turn is what the surrounding spectators see and experience.

More than ten years later the world has evolved into an ever more inter-connected landscape in which individuals are peering into hand held glass lenses, looking at the world and showing the world their perspective, digitally. 

Pocket Lenses are the next generation of interactive sculptural interventions, bringing the here and now closer to your immediate experience.

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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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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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