2018 – The Year That Was

Sitting here in our library room on December 31st, I am contemplating the year that was. 2018 has probably been one of my most productive years to date, but also dismal in many ways.

Let me attempt to compile a list of triumphs…


Most of the older corporate clients have gone dormant. Since 2008 the orders for trophies and corporate gifts (which have always been a solid income to supplement other ventures) have dried up. Large corporates, for whom I did work, have cut expenditure, probably due the economic climate and some due to corporate buyouts and restructuring.

Without bread and butter jobs such as these immense pressure – survival pressure – ensues. To counter the lack of commissioned jobs I stayed busy in the studio.

What did I do?

My company website, obsidianglass.co.za, has become dormant. Over the past five years or so I have concentrated on rebranding my business as Lothar Böttcher. Obsidian Glass is the company through which I conduct transactions etc. but Lothar Böttcher is the brand I have been developing. To some success…

Who are my clients?

Smelt Glass Studio has been a great support. Run by Martli Jansen van Rensburg and Mike Hyam, this hot glass studio has established itself as a shining light within South Africa’s glass community.

Both Martli and Mike have developed their own brands of glass and nurture young artists emerging from the TUT Glass Department. This relationship is set to grow due to substantial changes within the TUT structures and renewed involvement by the SA glass community at large.

The future looks brighter!

Then there are repairs – crystal glasses, sculpture, Swarovski works, etc. These jobs are not constant but keep the tinder dry.

The largest segment are galleries. Studio production and sculptural work was prolific this year. Venturing along several avenues in my art-making has kept me sane and productive. I guess I was forced, in a way, to reinvent myself, to find that inner voice of creativity and make, make, make.

Looking back, I must confess that this year has been one of growth. My work has evolved from concepts and loose configurations into confident strong narratives.

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Technique has become incidental. Do you think of walking? Each step; each cut has become part of discovering that which lays hidden inside – inside the glass and inside myself.

A big contributing factor to my growth has been the calibre of galleries in which my work is presented. The year kicked off with a show – Contemporary Abstract – at Gallery 2 which was curated by Derek Zietsman.

Shortly thereafter I was called by Circa on Jellicoe to participate in the group show In The Forests of the Night.

Then there was the glass exhibition which I curated at the Association of Arts, Pretoria. No grand sales at this show though… but we made inroads promoting glass, especially for our dedicated community here in Pretoria.

The best news was from Corning. I was notified that my piece, Pocketlens, was selected to be part of the exhibition New Glass Now which will open in May at the Corning Museum of Glass. This, I must admit, is the cherry on top for the years unrelenting efforts.

The clock has struck twelve with a new dawn emerging over the horizon. It’s only the first week and I am running like crazy, all over the show, getting bits and pieces into place for that which is coming, all that super great awesomeness of life, love and work!

Wishing everyone a Super 2019, filled with joy, health and productivity!! 

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