Wednesday, December 10, 2014

2014; The year I turned pro

It's happening.....Day two in and I'm feelin it....I don't know what to do with myself and I'm feelin the guilts! I am so terrible at not having a million things on at once. I knew this time was coming (thanks to all my careful planning) but I just have not adjusted yet. Seein as the studio shuts over December and Jan it's pretty much an enforced holiday. I just gotta figure out how to enjoy it I guess. I'm gonna do my yearly wrap up/count back/I'm a good guy at stuff list for 2014 to see if I can remind myself that I earnt my holiday. Here goes...

The last part of this year has been pretty incredible. I went from having a 'quiet' year with not much on, no residencies no real exhibitions planned to BAM, working full time for myself. AS A GLASS BLOWER!! What the?! I know right, I'm as shocked as you. In June I had a few bites on the horizon and decided to make the jump into full time self employment and say see ya to the part time retail world. (The retail world was making me a horrible dark demon who hated pretty much everyone and everything. (Oh the anger, oh the ragiest of rages!) I'm stubborn and I don't like being told what to do at the best of times let alone have ridiculous rules and protocol shoved down my throat. The company I worked for was going through some pretty big changes and I no longer felt like my individuality which they always prided themselves on having staff who could think for themselves, would rather have cookie cutter teenager robots who couldnt string two sentences together without being given the appropriate cue cards, but hey, whatevs, I had an amazing run. Oh and I also wanted to add, the location; Melbourne Central had a BIG part to play. That place is one of the seven circles of hell. Or as we like to refer to it, Melbourne Central; where souls come to be broken.)

So I quit. Weeeeeel, I kind of slunk out the back door, told them I wanted six weeks off and never came back. I know! I know! It was the cowards way out but I just didn't want to go out in a blaze of glory and I do love those gals that work there and I guess I just expected that I might have to go back one day. (I don't think I can ever go back. Too jaded, ie; pig headed.) So what did I do???? To me 2014 only really started in June (maybe I work in financial years??), so the first cab off the ranks was Life Instyle.

Oh man, good and bad. I felt like I went from one retail extreme to another. Bozos as far as the eye can see!! Four ball breaking days on the front line, good gawd never again... I did get some orders out of it and covered my costs but at what price?! The last day saw me hiding out in the employee lounge cramming burger rings in my mouth and watching jimmy fallon clips on my lap top crying hysterically...ahem.
So I got to work making my orders which is great because it meant my exit strategy to quit retail was working. I had created a source of income for myself. I also started to get some really good promo in some mags.
Then I started to get some pretty exciting emails. The first one being from the Australian juggernaut in the furniture world that is Jardan. Wow. I still pinch myself that this one really happened. Jardan approached me saying that they had seen my work at last years design files open house and yada yada yada, now I make a range of lighting AND homewares for them. I am so proud of this job and whats super fantastic about it is that it is ongoing AND has potential to really blow up (HAHAHHAHA, I saw what I did there, unconciously of course but just goes to show I live, eat, sleep and breathe glass blowing)

I think its fair to say that this job saw me give myself a whole new batch of grey hairs....oh man did i do some worryin, i had sleepless nights, i stressed myself silly. I feel like I have learnt something form every big job I did this year, and this job taught me to 'keep the faith'. To crush that little voice that says "you are a fraud, why are you doing this?" and to believe whole heartedly that you are good. Better than good even. Jardan are a dream to work with, they believe in me so why wouldn't I? 

My next big job was the dinos job. I got to make a line of work for a brand I have loved forever, Dinosaur Designs. Wow. I still pinch myself about this one. This one was sheer numbers. Man oh man did we make some numbers. I got to run a team and this job really let me work on my skills as a blower. 

This job also gave me a great opportunity to run in my brand new piece of equipment; my grinding wheel!
I just can not even fathom having to do that job without my own wheel. One of the best things I have ever bought. (Also one of the most expensive things i have ever bought. I spent so long deliberating whether I should buy it or not. I was tearing my hair out one night (as I like to do), had it on the brink of purchase, was about to back out, Brendan goes let me see and clicks "buy". What the fuck did you do?!! Agh, instant buyers remorse!!! Turns out to be the best thing ever, ha, who knew?

The next Big job of the year was my colab with Gorman. THE Gorman!!!

This was another project that saw me stress myself out beyond one point I thought I was going to have to pull the pin. I didn't think I could do it. What an idiot!! I am so proud of this project. Working with Lisa was amazing.

I pushed myself in this one and designed something I had never made before but wanted to learn, a flame worked swizzle stick. The launch was so much fun and looks incredible in their brand new driver lane store in the city. I'm one proud papa.

So this year has been pretty hectic. Actually the last five months have been off the hook crazy. But hey, thats the way I roll, I like crazy, I like busy, I like 5 things on the go at once. Here are some of my other achievements this year:

Exhibited in the Yerring Sculpture award with Elaine Miles.

Went to the Big Hearted Business Conference - AMAZING!

Took a pottery class with this goon.

Terrorised a small seaside town with these boobs.

Did a custom job for T2.

Drove to Adelaide solo more times than I would like to think about....

Got to meet Charli 2na!

Bought a freaking House!!!!

Made some sweet works for a Craft Vic group show.

Got a hot torch and taught myself a few things.

Worked with this goon all year.

Bought a ute!

Got on a billboard!!

More sweet promo!

Blew ALOT of glass.

So yeah. I did stuff. Turns out ALOT of stuff. So thank you if you are a new stockist, bought my work, promoted my work or maybe just gave me a hug when I was looking tired. This year was a total corker for me and saw me move into a great position for 2015. I look forward to all the new stuff on offer and I greet all opportunities with open arms. I feel very, VERY lucky to be able to do what I do. And now by counting all this back I do feel like I have earnt my summer break. A Summer for relaxin, hangin out with mates, cooking delicious things, working on new designs, lining things up for next year (stay tuned for a REALLY exciting collaboration I have in the works...!!!!!) and generally enjoying life.

Because at the end of the day I know, that I'm a good guy at stuff.

(And I make great head pieces)

Monday, December 8, 2014

Yerring Station

This is another exhibition that I was apart of this year. It's a collaborative piece for the Yerring Station Sculpture award with my friend Elaine Miles. I snapped these shots on my phone and I think they look so rad! We made this glass box that we set into the pond and flooded it with the water, our glass and plant life. The reflections are just off the hook! I could stare at them all day.

We didn't win but it was a fun project to work on and I felt that we learnt heaps from it, like ways to improve it next time. I also know that next year I will be applying for the "inside" pond....! I want to make some works that float but are tethered in place so they can't crash into the walls. The site is a winery which has the most beautiful gardens. I'm dying to go back for a fancy ass lunch there. Yesterday we went back to deinstall and the gardens had changed so much. 

Deinstall was less glamorous than the install...that is as glamorous as wading in a slimy pond can be. The algae had taken over quite a bit....ewwwww! I think next time the trick would be to flood the box with our own water that way we can control the environment. But it also was in full sun, I think thats why I would like the indoor site next time. Climate controlled could give the plants a better chance to grow. And next time if I entered such a competition I would go and check out the site beforehand. I find that I always get more inspiration from being outdoors and I should have taken advantage of that.

Monday, December 1, 2014

amanda dziedzic x gorman

I have had probably the busiest time of my LIFE in the last five months! (Is that even possible?!) It got so hairy there I thought I was going to totally flip my wig and melt into a puddle on the studio floor....My mantra became "Just concentrate on what you have to do today" which was paired very closely with "Just think, this time next week, this will be done!!" I knew I could do it, it just meant organising, planning and staying the course (no matter how stressful that might be), kind of like "If you book them, they will come".... I guess I also knew that the studios I work from kind of shut down for a couple of months so I had to make the dollars now you know? Make hay while the sun is shinning and all that jazz. So working like crazy now will ensure me with funds for the summer of AMANDA!! (So when you hear me whining that I don't have anything to do and freaking out (I'm one of those weirdos who has to be doing about five things at once and ALWAYS working to feel right) just remind me that I busted my lil keister so I can have a break in the Summer.)

This is probs one of my most exciting collaborations to date. I had the extreme pleasure of working with Mrs Gorman. THE Lisa Gorman. What the flip?! I know!! I got the opportunity to design some limited edition homewares for their brand new hometime collection. This was a colab that took place over months. At one point I really doubted that I could do it, I really pushed myself and there was a point that I actually thought I couldn't make it.....Let me just say to say that I am glad that I powered thorough is BEYOND and UNDERSTATEMENT!!! 

It was such a great experience. I can remember getting to meet Lisa and her awesome assistant Bonnie and being so nervous. (What a dork) When I got to meet them in their studios I thought my eyes were going to pop out of my little head! I was trying so hard to just concentrate on what they were saying but there were all these amazing Gorman clothes everywhere! NEW Gorman clothes!! I could barely contain myself. I got to see all the brand new summer styles before they were even released! SO, so EXCITED!!. 

So I designed these crazy pineapple carafes which I totally love. I think they fit the bill so well. The other story I went with was the lobster story. So, so cool. I made all the tumblers in a team of three which was super fun and I flameworked all the swizzle sticks. Flameworking is something I have always been interested in and I think there is great potential for my work so what I did was design something which would force me to learn. This proved to be both stroke of genius and tear our hair material. But the point is I got there and I am super stoked with the results. I think thats what I have learnt the last six months is that you gotta make these big jobs work for you. Yeah, they are a really important source of income but the value is really in what you learn from them. Each job gave me the opportunity to learn a new skill. I wanted to learn some flameworking so I designed a job that required it.

With the big dinos job I worked on I really got to work on my blowing skills and learn how to use my new cold working wheel. Win, win. One of my favourite parts of the Gorman job was.....the packaging!!! So, SO sweet! I am such a sucker for good packaging and Bonnie did an excellent job sourcing the tubes. (tubes, its the way of the future).

Did I mention how much I liked the packaging?
And a sticker with my name on it! So fance!

And heres my cute mum helping me to pack it all up! Man, oh man packing is a full time gig!! Took me hours, thank god for family the silent workforce of the artist.

You can check out the collection on line here or go and visit (buy) them in person at their amazing new store on driver lane in the city (melbs). So, SO FANCY!!