For my first interview of the year, I’d like to introduce you to a talented glass blower who, I will admit, I’ve been stalking for a little while now! I kept ‘bumping’ into her in cyberspace last year and then was fortunate enough to see some of her beautiful pieces at The Design Files Open House in Sydney last December. And so I badgered her for some of her time!
Amanda Dziedzic lives and breathes glass. She stumbled upon the art form of glass blowing while doing her Bachelor of Visual Arts and was hooked. It has since taken her to various places around the world and has nurtured a very healthy relationship with vegetables! She brings a certain quirkiness and originality to her works and has an amazing use of colour ( just look at her pieces in the Yumemiru collection below). Come and meet Amanda …
Please introduce yourself – tell me your background, what you studied, where you’ve worked and how have you ended up where you are today.
I am Amanda Dziedzic and I am a glass artist living and working in Melbourne. I’m from Adelaide originally and studied a Bachelor of Visual Arts. I first tried my hand at glass blowing as an elective and just loved it. When I later moved to Melbourne I decided to study full time at Monash University and complete a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Glass. Then I was lucky enough to be accepted into an amazing program in Adelaide at JamFactory Contemporary Craft and Design where I spent a long and gruelling two years as an associate designer in glass. Even though it was demanding and tested all of my being, I loved every minute of it.
Now you’ll find me back in Melbourne – so yep, I’ve jumped around quite a bit. I’ve also travelled to Japan for a research residency, completed a glass residency in Scotland, did a studio placement in the UK and taken a class in the States.
Why glass blowing and why plants and vegetables?
For me glass blowing is like no other art form, in that it is so physically demanding. You have to have your wits about you every step of the way. It’s also a very fluid way of working. Perhaps what I like best is that feeling of real accomplishment at the end of the day. I made this with my bare hands! I also love that glass blowing is a real team effort. I blow glass with at least one other assistant, two if I am lucky.
Plants to me are the most well thought-out design. Not only are they beautiful aesthetically but they’re the crème de la crème in functionality. For me, there are no patterns more beautiful than the ones you will find in nature.
Tell me more about the creative process you go through to produce your work?
I spend a lot of time drawing and sketching my ideas because time on the glass is so precious (i.e. expensive). I then like to prototype an idea in clear glass, usually for at least a couple of sessions before I move into colour and then into full-on production if I feel it is successful.
On your blog you say you ‘constantly dream of Japan’. Please explain …
Simple: everything. Everything about Japan appeals to me: the aesthetic, the look and feel of the place, the constant dualities present in everyday life, the old and new ways of life somehow harmonious with each other. Japan is a place that is so advanced in so many ways yet pays homage to an ancient and honoured history. I got to live there for just a month and get a tiny look into their way of life. I just loved it. I think the Japanese have an excellent appreciation of nature – just look at how they celebrate the cherry blossom. For me inspiration must come as a whole. That means, sight, smells, tastes, experiences. For me, Japan is that inspiration.
Tell me about some of the challenges, if any, you’ve faced in getting to where you are today.
There are always challenges! Most of these seem to be placed around money unfortunately. Like most artists I seem to work another pay-the-rent job to try and survive. This can be both rewarding and frustrating. Glass blowing is an extremely expensive art form. Sometimes it can be difficult for the buyer to understand why a piece costs what it does. I really do dream of blowing glass full-time. I would love to employ a small team to take on larger jobs. Nothing would make me happier.
What are you working on at the moment and/or what can we expect to see from you in the near future?
At the moment I have a list as long as my arm for things to work on this year! Currently my new studio in Brunswick is taking up most of my time. There has been a lot of blood, sweat and tears in setting this bad boy up and finally it is taking shape. I’m pretty interested in moving into lighting this year. I also have some new product ideas and hoping to expand on some old ones.
Have you ever had a ‘who’d have thought?’ moment?
Sometimes my whole life seems like a ‘who’d have thought’ moment! I can remember at university writing myself this ridiculous, pie-in-the-sky kind of list of things I wanted to achieve and now thinking back, I think I’ve achieved most of those things. I’m a big believer in putting it out there. If you don’t ask, you don’t get kind of thing. I think to myself all the time: ‘who’d have thought little ole me would be doing this’? Getting a scholarship to take a class a Pilchuck in Seattle was a pretty big deal for me. As was getting interviewed by The Design Files and then being such a major part of the Design Files Open House.
Thanks so much, Amanda, for giving us an insight into the world of a passionate glass blower! I can’t wait to see your glass lights!