Our 3rd and final “The Art of Handmade” event of the year morphed our showroom into a professional glassblower’ atelier. Following the sounds of Africa and the appetising Italian pasta-making kitchen, the 3rd in the series was all about glass.
Here’s a blow-by-blow account…
INVITATION – we kept our selected guests in suspense and did not share with them what the event was going to be. However, as usual, we sent subtle ‘grainy’ clues… this time our guests received a small brown box layered with baking paper, filled with sand. Rolled up in the box was a note inviting them to the event, suggesting there’d be a lot of hot air on the night – and loads of fun.
GLASS ARTISTS – we invited some of the best and high-profile glass artists from all over Australia to this event to introduce us to their art, and then to guide us through the unique experience of actually creating our own piece.
GLASS PRODUCTS – many of LightCo’s brands use glass to create their products. They use different techniques such as glass moulding, glass blowing and even some digital printing on glass. The Art of Handmade experience was specifically about the art of mouth-blown glass. To experience the heat and sweat up close working alongside masters (and a mistress!) with this ancient creative and mystical material. It was a first for all of us!
ON ARRIVAL – guests were tempted by a Vietnamese grazing table to fit with the theme. See-through rice paper rolls and glass noodles all served on clear dishes. Drinks were served in a glass (manufactured by Zafferano, one of our brands). The front of the showroom was transformed into a dining area. The chairs were clear to follow our theme and the table decoration all made of glass.
THE EVENT – to this point our guests didn’t know what the evening was about! We then welcomed them into the main area of the showroom that had been completely transformed into a glass artists’ studio! It was only then that they saw the ‘famous five’ glass artists working with their torches, each at their fully equipped workbench. Gas and oxygen lines were there for all to see as well as the kilns.
Mark Elliott, a leading Sydney based flame-work glass artist, together with Peter Minson, a renowned glass artist, explained the night’s activities.
Starting with a brief history of glass being widely used from the Stone Age through to current times, and acknowledging that although massive changes and developments in science and technology have brought previously unimaginable things to today’s world.
There is still something magical and human about working with such a natural material like glass that has stayed more or less the same for tens of thousands of years. Glass can be liquid one minute, solid the next and it can break – and it has always been like that!
THE ACTIVITY – guests started with a globe-shaped glass on a glass rod. Mark and Peter demonstrated 3 techniques, blowing into the glass, adding glass details and using metal tongs to create impressions on the glass. Each of the 5 artists worked with one
guest at a time, whilst everyone else was watching from the sidelines planning their own unique design. When each creation was finished, it was lovingly picked up by special hands in special gloves and placed in the kiln to anneal – allowing it to cool slowly and remove internal stresses. (In layman’s words, to ‘set’!)
ART DISPLAY AREA – each of the artists brought with them some of their best glasswork which was displayed in the showroom. There were also videos showcasing some amazing glass art-making and glass lighting being manufactured from some of our brands.
DINNER – after each guest (now a glass artist!) completed their glass creation, dinner was served at the front of the showroom which had been converted to a restaurant. The artists joined us for dinner.
GIVEAWAYS – whilst enjoying dessert, the glass creations completed their time in the kilns and were ready to be packed. Each piece was fitted to a specially made LightCo base to become a beautiful unique little handmade table lamp to take home or proudly display at the office.
THE END – it was a wonderful finish to an amazing evening. Thank you to all who experienced it with us. It was great to have you here.