After approaching Jess after her fantastic flame working demo at Ausglass last year we kind of just sparked up a convo which turned into a frienship and somehow this grew legs and RAN. I am VERY excited to tell you that Jess and I will be exhibiting in 2017 at the Muesum of Economic Botany in the Adelaide Botanic Gardens. It is also to my sheer delight that I can tell you this exhibition was successful in it's application for funding through Australia Council. What the Fuck?! Sorry for the potty mouth, but I am just so beside myself with excitement and anticipation for this incredible opportunity that it is blowing my tiny mind. Not only a killer show lined up but real, live FUNDING to make it happen. Amazing.
Anyways, back to Jess, Jess makes truely beautiful, detailed works in both glass and metal. I hope you will enjoy her interview as much as I did (who knew about her aversion to purple?!), and the soup dumplings?, right there with you sista.
Here we go, tune in for ten and get to know the powerhouse that is Jess Dare....
Gals of Glazz
Tune in for 10
1. Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Jess Dare, I graduated with a bachelor of Visual Arts in Jewellery from the Adelaide Centre for the Arts TAFE SA in 2006. I am now a jeweller, a flameworker and a partner of Gray Street Workshop (established in 1985).
Since 2005 I has been practicing lampworking or flameworking as it is also known, having been taught by local and international glass artists. Glass forms an integral part of my practice, I am fascinated by its rich colours, its malleability when molten, and its fragility and durability when cold.
I love the flexibility and freedom of being able to move between glass and metal freely and being able to combine these two materials. This allows me to choose the material that best expresses the concept I am working on.
My work has allowed me to indulge in my love of travel and now forms a large part of my practice, with an Asialink residency in 2014 to Bangkok, Thailand and travel to Cambodia and Vietnam looking at floral culture and I’ve just returned from a residency in Shanghai, China.
2. What do you make?
I make contemporary jewellery and small non-wearable objects relating to nature and memory. As a jeweller I have always been drawn to the miniature, it’s how I view the world, in small minute details. For me, this intimate scale draws people into my sense of wonder. I also use this scale to accentuate the sense of intrigue and awe that I get from the natural world.
I have always made work about memory and in a way my fear of forgetting, I hold people and memories dear. Over the past few years I have been making delicate glass plants expressing the ephemeral nature of memory through the fragility of glass and nature itself.
Whenever I see a striking flower I feel an overwhelming desire to preserve it. But flowers are living things too – they blossom and then perish and are a constant reminder of the transience of life itself. The sharpness of memories are rounded off by time; the colours fade and details are lost. This idea of deterioration is most evident when trying to capture, preserve, study and admire a fleeting moment of a flower in full bloom.
My work over the past few years speaks of my fascination with this universal human need to hold on to and preserve memories and moments in time.
3. Why do you make?
Because I absolutely love it, it’s who I am!!! My partner thinks I have makers OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder), I can’t help but make, my hands are rarely still.
I make to help process the things I see and experience. The glass plants developed after the passing of my dear Grandfather, Dean Hosking in 2011.
My Grandfather was an incredibly passionate gardener. After he passed away everyone in our family became passionately obsessed with their gardens, it was as if my family was returning to the earth to be close to him. My work has become my garden.
I spend a lot of time in gardens, growing plants, taking photos, observing and my design bench is surrounded by photos, plastic plants, dried flowers and pictures, so all the information is around me and in my mind. I create from my memory of plants, I do not try to replicate nature instead my view of nature, with small abstractions.
4. What’s you colour palette?
Every colour under the sun (except purple, I don’t like purple)! I was initially attracted to glass for the plethora of colours available, to me it was a way of including colour with my metal work in a durable material that was different to traditional materials like gem stones etc.
Having said that over the past couple of year I have been using a lot of white. I often use white, bleached of colour to suggest transience in the way flowers wither, loose colour and die, I use clear glass for this same reason.
5. What’s your proudest achievement?
In 2013 I met with Robert Bell, the curator of Decorative Arts from the National Gallery of Australia at a preview of my first solo exhibition (The Nature of Memory) and after spending some time with him and discussing the work, he held up one of my Xylem neckpieces and he said “This belongs with us”. I didn’t play it cool at all and I giggled like a school girl, but it’s a moment that I will remember forever.
6. Hot or Cold?
Hot, Hot, Hot! There is something truly magical about turning a solid into a liquid over a torch, manipulating it with some simple tools and gentle hand movements and then it cooling back into a solid, it is like magic and that wonder is never lost on me.
7. What’s your dream project?
To work with the Blaschka collection of flowers at Harvard.
8. What’s your influences?
Nature. The things I see and experience, my memories, my family, my mentors Catherine Truman and Sue Lorraine and my glass idols the Leopold and Rudolf Blaschka.
9. What’s coming up for you? Or what are you looking forward to?
I have been very fortunate over the last 18 months to have done residencies in both Thailand and China and have been developing work in response to these experiences thanks to the Australia Council for the Arts and am planning a solo exhibition next year to consolidate these ideas into a major collection of work.
Some more travel on the cards: I have a touring exhibition next year going to New Zealand and Thailand so I will be heading over with the show to do some talks and workshops and dive into some more phuang malai (flower garlands) whilst I am in Thailand. A little side trip to Indonesia to soak up some floral culture and at the insistence of my partner to have a bloody holiday. And next year my work will also be shown in Germany, Finland, and China.
And an exciting collaboration in 2017 with a very special Glass Gal….
10. If you could only eat 3 foods for the rest of your life what would they be?
This is by far and away the hardest question you’ve asked… only 3!!! I love food, I love cooking and I love exploring street food in Asia. My partner Marcus and I often have no idea what we are ordering when we are travelling but go where the locals go, point, gesture for 2 and hope for the best, we have discovered incredible food this way. But my all time favourites would have to be Xiao long Bao, Pho Bo and Bun Cha!
Xiao long bao (Shanghai soup dumplings) I could eat these everyday for the rest of my life quite happily. Dip in vinegar, soy and sometimes finely sliced ginger, then poke a small hole in the delicate skin to release the broth, drink the broth and then gobble up the dumpling!
Pho Bo (Vietnamese Beef Soup) Clear meaty broth, delicate rice noodles, fresh herbs, tender beef – yep a well rounded meal! I have sat on many a tiny plastic chair on the streets of Vietnam tucking into bowls of this deliciousness.
Bun Cha a dish hailing from Hanoi and makes my mouth water just thinking about it. In Vietnam you are served a plate of rice noodles, fresh lettuce and herbs, a cold bowl of broth (which is perfectly sweet and sour) with grilled pork (2 types of grilled fatty pork - juicy patty and crispy charred slices of pork belly), this dish is often accompanied by fried spring rolls…. Nom nom nom
Thank you so much Jess, please check out more of Jess's stuff here