Sunday, January 29, 2017

Gals of Glazz - Kate Nixon

I wanna get back on the wagon so to kick it off, the first Gal of Glazz for 2017 (bloody hell is that date right?!) is all round super star Kate Nixon. Kate is one of those gems that just radiates good guy vibes. She is an excellent glass blower, killer assistant on a team and great sense of humour. She is also one of those people who is always willing to help out. (This gorgeous gal offered to drive my exhibition works from canberra to adelaide and delivered! Thank you Kate, I owe you somethin real good!) I have just been seeing some of the epic shots from the Aus Glass Conference pop up in my feed and there is the lady herself! So I thought that must be a sign to get this bad boy up and running again....

Gals of Glazz
Tune in for 10

1.             Who are you and what do you do?
I am a Kiwi-born, Aussie-trained blower of the glazz. Fresh outta the JamFactory Associate program in 2015, I am now living in Canberra and splitting my time between Craft ACT and the Canberra Glassworks.

2.             What do you make?
I collect, covet and make objects. My work is about the way in which our private identities are expressed through the things we collect and the material mass we will eventually leave behind.  I like to transform kitsch shells, old wallpaper and gaudy flowers into precious decorations, adorning large urns and sparkling mosaics, as homage to the mundane accumulations of our lives.

3.             Why do you make?
As we all know, the world needs more stuff. Especially glass stuff. I’m just doing my bit.

4.             What’s you colour palette?
1970’s – think mission brown, orange, avocado and lime

5.             What’s your proudest achievement?
Making it through the JamFactory Associate Program – marriage intact!

6.             Hot or Cold?
Definitely hot

7.             What’s your dream project?
A large, well-funded public mosaic project would be awesome. Or global flea market reviewer, perhaps?

8.             What’s your influences?
I’m heavily influenced by the aesthetics of the 1970’s, kitsch and folk art. I started listing my glass heroes but the list got too long – they know who they are!

9.             What’s coming up for you? Or what are you looking forward to?
I just returned from a four-month residency at Berlin Glas. I am now looking forward to the husband-imposed travel ban being lifted in 2018. Oh, and I am looking forward to the Ausglass Conference in Canberra in January and catching up with all my interstate glass buddies!

10.         If you could only eat 3 foods for the rest of your life what would they be?
Assuming wine is not covered by these restrictions; cheese, bread and eggs (pronounced iggs)

Saturday, January 28, 2017

2016 - I did some stuffs

I really like to read over my old posts when I'm not feeling it. I like to remember the things I have done and feel good about it not just like, add it to the pile and forget about it, more celebrate it. Now is one of those times. Summer is and always has been, a total struggle for me. It's like I just fall into a dark well and really struggle to pull myself out some days. It's like the small dark cloud sits heavily on my shoulders and I really struggle to see the light. Dramatic right? It's the truth. Studios pretty much shut down and there isn't any glass blowing to be had. I should be happy, who the fuck wants to blow glass in thirty plus degree weather? I just worry about where the next job is coming from and I can't ever really relax. It is the same every year. I work myself into the ground then the downtime is excruciating. I just read last years wrap up and it says the same thing... burn out. I don't know I feel like this time is something more but I'm still trying to pull myself out of this hole so I thought now is the best time to recap my year that was.

To start off I am going to remind myself that this is going into the third year (I'm at two and a half) that I have supported myself full time as a glass blower. No part time job, this is the real deal. 100% income coming from glass. Incredible! I'm not sure when I am going to realise tis is more than a fad, I always think well if it gets really bad I can fall back on a retail gig again or a pub job. Maybe I need to start telling myself that this is the real deal. Believe it.

I feel like 2016 really kicked off with our trip to Japan with these two goons. We travelled in March to see the cherry blossom and it was more than I could have ever wished for! I would travel to Japan every year if I could. I love it so much.

Also whilst we were in Japan I got my first real big order for the year come in. An order for x200 lights from Jardan. Huge sigh of relief! I remember feeling so ridiculously happy! Here I was travelling in Japan, gorging myself on ramen and having generally THE best time with my husband and mates, when I get a really big, fuck off order to keep me alive and working for the next few months. Life is good!

So this was the year I really solidified having and managing a team of glass blowers work for me. I've never really done anything like this before but I knew that it was the way forward for me and my practice and I feel very fucking proud to say I pulled it off. Not once but twice this year!! Thats right, my little team made me x400 lights this year. What the actual fuck?! I am amazed. I'm a fucking boss! Being the boss is no easy thing. Managing people, and managing them remotely (my team is in Adelaide) is hard. I feel like I learnt a lot of lessons. Being the boss is stressful. I had to learn which battles to pick, which to let go, I had to juggle money constantly, I had to schedule the sessions and book them in an already pumping studio, I had to organise shipping and packing materials, I had to chase bills. Being the boss is not all champagne and cigars let me tell you. But do you know what the biggest take away here is?, not one of those x400 lights got sent back. Not one single light. Me and my team handed over x400 winners. Incredible. I am so thankful to have one of my dearest friends as my second in command in Adelaide, Dani. Not only is she my mate she really made sure those jobs stayed on track. Not only did she make the lights, she dealt with all the drama of the studio and kept me in check. Thank you Dan, you are an incredibly talented glass blower and an absolute boss of a woman, I am lucky to have you as my bud. (dani puts up with all my freak outs and always puts my mind to rest over any worries I have AND deals with everyone else we have working. She is amazing!)

So on to the next achievement, along with making lights in large scale production teams I worked solidly on my solo show, "I Dream A Greenhouse", on show in gallery 2 at the JamFactory.

As you can see, I forked out some serious dough to get some bad ass shots of the work taken because at the end of the day, the photos can be all you have left of a show. I worked my little guts out for this show. It was my first solo show since 2010. I have mixed feelings about it... On one hand I am extremely proud of the works I made and the vision I had for the show and how I turned that vision into a reality. On the other hand I tried hard not to feel the disappointment that comes with a show that did not sell really well. Honestly? My little heart broke a little. I worked so hard and spent so much money on that show, everything was self funded, that it was crushing to not have many sales. Did I price too high? Is the work no good? Do people not like my stuff? Why am I doing this? 

(I also want to add as a side note, I also, just before my exhibition, hosted and planned a ridiculous block party for my friends, like RIGHT before! Who does that?! A roaming party where each house has a cocktail and a dish, ridiculously fun, ridiculously boozy, ridiculous timing!!!)

I also thought at the time of my show, I could weasel in a couple of production sessions.... BIG mistake, HUGE! What a flippin idiot...

I was also in another show this year. This time in Canberra, with an awesome girl gang. My main squeeze, Danielle Rickaby, and jewellers and all round awesome makers, Lauren Simeoni and Mel Young. The show was called "Grow your own" and it was a lot of fun. Dan and I road tripped up with a ute packed to the brim with glass and props. Again, mixed feeling as no sales this time...again my heart it crumbles again... But you know what, the show looked fucking awesome and I got to hang out with one of my best buds for like a week. We got to play jungle mini golf in the dark how often do you get to do that?! 

(The mini golf...not the show..!)

I was also apart of another show in Canberrs, Fresh Glass. This one paired up a glassy with a florist. Super cool.

This one was a big one for me. I got asked to speak at Craft Vics "Craft and Design as Professional Practice". I was both honored and shit scared at the same time! My talk was SO different to everyone elses!! Ha! Mine was like a straight up and down bullet point do and don'ts!! I was so nervous I felt like I spoke at a hundred miles a minute and kind of like a pre pubescent boy with a voice that could crack at any minute. But, apparently I did good! People loved it! I got so much lovely feed back from it, it made me feel amazing. I said stuff like, believe your own hype, instagram is not real life, give props where props are due, that kind of stuff. I think what I learnt though was we are all the same. we all feel like we are frauds at some time and we are all just bumbling through this making our own rules. Girl boss 101. (Thats the name of my next speech for sure...)

I was also asked to speak on a panel of makers for Life Instyle.

This year I also worked on a really nice colab with Ivy Muse to make some super sweet glass planters with brass stands. I also made the lights for their flag ship store. Very exciting to make work for such lovely people. I loved this colab. They had thought of everything down to the packaging and promo. 

I def feel like I blew glass pretty solidly this year. Laurel and I usually worked once a week at Maureens, sometimes more. November and December were so busy for me. I had sessions booked up the wazoo, if you know what I mean. I had massive orders for Christmas WITH restocks. For Modern Times I think I delivered a drop of like 36 bonsais and maybe 30 had sold in a WEEK!! Nuts!

I was also asked to be apart of a very cool show at The Johnstone Collection. TJC is a heritage listed building that lets artists in to reinterpret the room. I guess one of my goals with my solo show was the hope that someone may see it and ask me to be apart of another show. Voila! 

 I got an install team AND a sandwich. The best.

I helped this goon on jobs and dressed the same.

I had a Snap Chat channel interview me, hahahaha! (They actually made a really sweet little video)

More product...

Enjoyed a brief period in an upstairs studio move...

I think I did pretty good. what started off as a year with just one solo show booked, turned out to be pretty full. 4 shows in fact, 3 of those interstate, x400 lights, multiple product runs for stockists and a huge finish to the year. I don't know what this year is going to do but I hope it's a good one, I really do. I have one major show booked in for October and I am very pleased to say this one is funded!! Thank you Australia Council!! I'm hoping this year is big and I dream of having my own hot studio but all that seems so very far away at the moment. I got me the Summer blues, but I hope it passes soon.

I'm a good guy at stuff.