Wednesday, May 22, 2013


I made it. I made it home in one piece. One crumpled, sleep deprived piece, safe and sound. And do you know what else made it? My crate! My beloved crate of six weeks of work. Thank the big glass god in the sky!! God that was stressful. Everything about that was stressful. Building the crate, packing the work, organising the freight, them not scanning the crate when they picked it up so essentially it was "lost" for 4 days (how can you lose a 60kg fucking wooded crate?! I screamed down the phone, wailing in tears.) then to arrive like an old friend looking a little worse for wear like myself ("thas a lot of boot prints on your crate" "yeah it is, what the flip?") right on my door stop. Sigh of relief breathed. (I think i was so freaked out because they would not insure "glass art". I was thinking for breakages, I had not even considered for loss. Again, who loses a 60kg fucking crate??)

So now I'm home, battling jet lag and trying to get my life in order. I'm trying to be a little easy on myself this time. I have got two back to back sessions booked in the studio for next week that I am super pumped about. It's real nice to have bonsai orders to come back to make. And I get to work with my dear friend Andy. We havent worked together since uni! Gonna be so much fun. I just wanna say, I know there must be people out there reading, not many comments but while I was away I received the most lovely emails from people commenting on the work and wanting to place orders. Every time I got one it just made my little heart soar! Thank you so much. I really appreciate it and I am always super pumped when someone contacts me with a custom order. I am always stoked to hear from someone who likes my work.

This trip, the emails and stuff in general has just got me thinking. I am just so pumped to be living the life that I got dealt. I have done some fucking rad stuff so far and I'm not even half way!! Just imagine what else is in store for me!! I got to go to the Jam, I have travelled the world, some for glass, some for kicks, been to Japan 3 times, Turkey, London, New York and Scotland, got married to the most awesome person I know, just completed the residency of a life time, been to Pilchuck, got a super rad family behind me and this is only scratching the surface. I feel lucky thats fo sure. I also feel excited to keep this feeling and momentum going. It's easy to fall under the black clouds, start to doubt yourself and feel that green monster of envy on your back so I want to make a conscious decision to focus on the good. I want to remember that feeling that I make work that makes others smile. That I have the ability to bring joy to others. I fucking love that. Who doesnt love a glass beet??

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

First night away from the fam

So just like a lil baby bird, tonight is my first night out of the nest. My first night away from my family. The rest of the crew have one more night then they too will fly the coop. You know what? I'm really going to miss those goons. For six weeks we were a tight knit crew. We worked together, learnt together, cooked and ate together, drank cocktails together, lived together and laughed together (some more than others...thats me, until now I had not really recognised the impact of my laugh. I mean I knew it was loud but apparently it is often. Jeff told the girls they had to laugh more on their last day to fill the gaps). 

It's really just like a big experiment, throwing these four totally different individuals together and see what happens. Will they get along? Will they be at each others throats? Will they burn the hot shop down? Will they make work? In such an isolated situation I think you have no option but to form close relationships. It's funny when you start working with someone so closely and for so long, I kind of feel as though you start to take on a bit of each others traits. Or sometimes you switch who is who. For example one week I would be totally organised with a list of what I wanted to make each day and Jeff would just fly off the cuff. Then the next week it would be Jeff that was super organised and me that was all scrambly. I felt like George and Elaine switching places.

It feels strange to be apart from them. I know last week I was ready to come home but now that it is happening I am starting to miss them already. I feel pretty lucky to have met such fantastic people. My last night in Lybster was killer. We closed down the bar, drank whiskey, rocked the juke box then stayed up till dawn to watch the sun rise through Jeffs piece on the cliffs. It looked spectacular!

I feel like I want to blurt out a whole lot of things before I forget them! My memory is terrible I have numerous people to vouch for this...

I will always remember:
- our mascot, smashcot, a poor little squished mouse who you saw everyday on the way to the studio. somedays i look at him, sometimes i don't..
- the constant clicking of the millions of kilns Anna seemed to be firing at once
- sunday night bingo
- the beautiful and mesmerising sounds of trish's installation
- friday night fish and chips
- the amazing light of lybster
- patting foxy for the first time
- apple bombs
- unihorn
- watching the world of lybster roll past the studio doors like clockwork everyday
- charlton heston, the cat
- sinclair, the tescos cat
- our kitchen table being covered in a fine layer of salt at all times
- dragon mondays
- jeffs love of 'the power of love'
- our trip to the awe inspiring dunbeath castle gardens
- the first time i made a golden beet
- a lot of double parking
- my very first lucid dream
- blowing glass in the snow
- communication breakdowns with jeff; whats a pushie?
- seeing criss cross rain
- seeing snow form on the mountain tops from the bathroom window
- carving it up in wick
- shrinking all my clothes in the dryer
- subbing in for grace's pool team
- winning the bowls raffle
-having the fucking time of my life all thanks to blowing glass.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Almost there

Holy shitballs, where did the time go?? I leave on Tuesday (lucky i actually checked my ticket, i thought it was wednesday...ahem.) I just can't believe it. It really feels like I just got here yesterday. I just can't believe it. The last two days have been both ridiculously stressful and hilarious. Packing is always such a nightmare, throw some glass beetroots in and you have no idea. I decided the best way to go would be to build a crate and ship the works home. I am not a carpenter. She is one dodgy, burly looking crate but as long as she gets my wares home in one piece thats all I care about. I just couldnt get my head around building this thing, sizes, lengths, blah, blah, blah. It probably took me a good three days of worrying. Then I finally bit the bullet and sawed some shit up. I think it took me like a solid 5 hours to build all while grossly hung over I might add. At one point I had worked myself into such a state, hadnt eaten all day, almost on the verge of tears and my leg wouldnt stop shaking. Alright Amanda, you are just going to have to ask for some help. In walks the tech, (who is amazing), 3 minutes later, voila. Thanks Michael, you really saved my ass.

Then comes the nightmare that is packing. Bubble wrapping, foam cutting, box mangling. (Again all done grossly hungover, although not as bad as the crate building incident.) So heavy! Maybe 60kg?? Now comes the shipping nightmare, again probably a solid 6 days of worrying. I tell you one thing I surely have more grey hairs now after this residency... but its almost the finish line. Tomorrow I will book the freight and hopefully relax a little.

These are the more ridiculous things I have done over the weekend which resulted in said hungovers...
- played a ridiculous amount of bingo (Jeff bloody cleaned up with the killer round at the end)
- played pool on the most giant table I have ever seen, it was like the size of 4 lybster tables
- ate haggis (actually kind of delicious, thanks Bunty)
- sent myself deep into a shame spiral by learning the hard way that Michael Jackson's Wanna be startin something is a HORRIBLE karaoke song... in all fairness i didnt even sign myself up, again thanks alot Ballard..
- danced like a moron in the most hilarious club in Wick
- almost got myself (well it was my laugh apparently) into my first bar fight with some chav
- saw about 5 people fall over at said club
- felt so tired that i could see through time
- realised how much money i have spent on bingo
- made terrariums at midnight

This residency has been one of the most amazing things I have ever done. I feel so lucky to have been chosen. I also feel extremely lucky to have made such great friends with the other artists. We all get along so well for four totally different individuals, we are like a little family (you know they are family when one family member eats another family members left out breakfast...without asking...and 5 hours later...thats family). 

This residency has challenged me in so many ways. I really think it is one of the bravest things I have done and has reminded me that I can be tough when I need to. It's important to have these opportunities to get you out of your comfort zone, test you out a little bit and make you appreciate the things you have. The ups and downs have been crazy. One day awesome, one day worthless. I think lack of sleep played a factor here too. I'm pretty pumped to get back home and start making some work. I feel proud of what I have achieved in my time here and am excited to hit the ground running. 

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Vegemite supplies gettin low...

My desk is overflowing!! I looked at it today and thought to myself, maybe I shouldn't make anything else?? Just look at all those root vegetables! I find it hard to believe that we have been here for so long ( a month?) it feels like I just got here yesterday. But, I'm almost out of vegemite, down to my last berocca and almost out of melbourne breakfast; must almost be time to go home.

Last weekend we taught a sand casting workshop which was fun and chaos all at the same time. On the Saturday we took a trip to the Caithness museum which was quite beautiful and full of lots of interesting stuff. The idea was for the students to make a sand casting relating to something that caught their interest in the museum. I really liked the stuff about the botanist who was also a mad keen baker, the stuffed birds were also excellent ( my favourite was the penguin wearing the kilt in the lobby). So then on Sunday they all came to the studio and we ladled out some glass (all the glass actually). It was pretty hectic but I think everyone had a good time. 

This week I started experimenting with some beets that have a solid worked body. Am pretty pumped how they turned out. Its always a pleasant surprise when they actually look like something from my sketch book ("it's just like the picture!!" i scream everytime).

Working it solid I can get better lines in although it bumps up the weight, not so good for shipping... Even though this week got off to a slow start, I feel like it really kicked it up a notch and came through with the goods. I can honestly say every morning I have been filled with excitement to see the work come out of the box. It's agony having to wait to see if it is any good. Sometimes you think you have just made this awesome, amazing piece of work only to find the next day in the cold hard light it's actually a total dud and perhaps the ugliest thing you have ever seen. Or it can be the opposite, think it is the most hideous piece of trash that perhaps some chimp constructed, sans opposable thumbs, but then you get it out the next day and whaddya know, it's not that bad. Go figure.

There have been a few hiccups with the annealer and you come in all excited to unload only to find that it is still sitting at 500. Ugh. Its an annealer I'm not used to and if you don't kick it up it will just restart the program and go all the way up to temp again. At the best of times I am not very good with programming kilns (again think dull chimp sans opposable thumbs who just keeps mashing buttons hoping for the best) so I'm quite confident a few of these fuck ups can be attributed to me. Needless to say I think I have been relieved of my kiln checking duties....last night I didn't even have to argue who was going over to check at night, as Jeff subtly pointed out there is no use sending me as he would have to go over and fix it even if there was something wrong so he may as well go and do it. Win?

What I am really excited about is some little bottles with cute stoppers that I have been making.

Can't wait to make some more stoppers tomorrow.
So now begins the mad dash to the end. 

Anna is in there firing every kiln possible.

Trish is madly beavering away welding components for her installation.

Then theres this guy.

Perfecting the double headed beer. No thats not true. Jeff is putting together an installation piece too that is going to be super awesome. (i just didnt have a picture of it and to be fair he actually was trying to make a double headed beer glass...)

We also have a small commission to work on as a group which is going to be sweet. Remember how we went to visit that amazing garden with a castle and all that? Well the owner would like a piece for the green house. We are going to make a beautiful leaf inspired piece that will be suspended. F.U.N!!

These are the things I am looking forward to upon my return home:
Squeezin my husband real tight and gettin all up in his grill (the term 'over loving' has been bandied about before)
Puffing my cats cheeks like theres no tomorrow.
JAPANESE FOOD!!! Sushi dinner asap please!!
Breakfast with my weiner sister.
Riding my bike around the streets of Thornbury.
Meeting the new babies that have arrived.
Beers and pub dinner with my mates.
Different clothes...

For now the promise of more glass blowing and a flirtini after work will have to tide me over.
Dinners up, gotta go!