Friday, November 04, 2011

Featured Artisan: Kelly Lowe Glass

Hello! Today's featured Artisan is Kelly of Kelly Lowe Glass.

First off, tell us a little about yourself!
 
Well, my name is Kelly Lowe, and I’m a full time professional glassblower out of my single artist studio, which I’ve imaginatively named “Kelly Lowe Glass”. I know, I know, I could’ve went for something a little more esoteric or interesting, but I thought this name would very simply describe what I do… and if you’re wondering how THAT panned out, well, you can talk to my disappointed would-be customers over the years who have phoned to see if I can fix their windshield. I guess if I were writing a book on business, I could probably use that as an anecdote or something on “communicating effectively”, but I’m still happy with the name since it’s mine... it’s my business, and I’m proud of it.

I’m primarily a local artist, working for businesses and individuals around Hamilton, Ontario, making awards, fine art, ornaments and pretty much anything else, it’s possible to make by slogging hot molten glass around my workshop. I don’t use molds, so everything is fully handmade – usually blown or sculpted – which is important to me, and to my customers. 

There’s a certain special feeling I think, buying from an artisan who is either handmade or local, in that you know your purchase keeps a unique spark alive in the world rather than everything being generic and mass produced. I’m very grateful to my customers for keeping my spark alive, since I get to do what I love full time, but I’m also grateful to anyone who chooses to buy non-generic.
 
Oh yeah, I’m also in my early thirties, have black hair and my favorite color is blue. I play way too much Plants vs. Zombies, am a lifelong vegetarian, and a lackluster dancer at best.

How did you start creating your artwork, and how long have you been doing it? 
I started by going to school for it. Yeah, there was a glassblowing program – I remember meeting other students in the cafeteria and them laughing and saying stuff like: “yeah right, and I’m in the basket weaving program” before they realized I was serious. It was a great time, and I learned a lot. So that was three years, after which I apprenticed under/assisted some very talented artists throughout the Southern Ontario region. 

Basically, anyone who would let me work around glass and who I could learn from while earning a living, I was there. Finally, I had the opportunity to strike out for myself, which I did – excited yet terrified, I’ll confess. There’s no safety net under artists if we fall, and I’d put all my eggs in this basket – and was amazed when things went really well, and continues to do so. We’re all our own harshest critic, I know, and on bad days I’m still confused as to how this has all worked out. But I’m also confident in my work: I believe that if I give it my all, the customer is going to be very happy with the result. I think we have to think that way, as artists, or we won’t last very long before doubt drags us down.
For the second part of the question: I’ve been a full time glassblower for 13 years, including my time at school. 

Where do you get your inspiration from?
I know it’ll probably sound trite to say “everywhere”, but it’s the truth. I like to hike in the woods around Hamilton, and nothing is a greater inspiration than nature. 
My family, for sure: they all see the world so differently that talking to them I’m constantly having to tie my mind in knots, in a good way, realizing that: “oh, that’s a different viewpoint… and totally valid.” They’re unique, strong people, who leave such a mark on me that I can’t help but bring that influence to my art. My boyfriend, who is a photographer, makes me want to try to see the world differently: we’ll be somewhere and out will come his camera and he’ll take a shot – and I won’t have a clue what he saw until I see the picture on his screen, and even then I often scratch my head and wonder if we were in the same place. Actually let me just say “people” influence me. How can they not? They’re the most impactful things we encounter in our day to day lives, and they each leave such a mark.

But inspiration can also come from negative places too, of course. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a suffering artist by any means – I’m quite happy, honestly. But some of my work was my way of dealing with something negative in my life. My Kritters (http://www.kellyloweglass.com/Glass/Kritters/) for example were my own response to something really hurtful that happened to me. 

Well, Porkutort was, the rest have been pure joy to make since they make me laugh so hard. Today Porkutort is nothing but a positive thing as well, and that’s the great thing about focusing negatives into your art: what you make will eventually seem so much more important than whatever negative is happening to you right then. Troubles have a way of passing, work you’re happy with and proud of stays with you.
Is there anything else you would like to share?
  Haha... is there any more space? I think I’ll just finish this off with a thank you to Anna for featuring me. If there’s one way independent artists are going to continue making our work available to the world, it’s going to be through exposure and the support of each other. Thank you, and good luck with your jewelry!
 
Extras:
 
Kelly Lowe Glass Website/Online Portfolio: http://www.kellyloweglass.com
 
 
 


Thank for the lovely interview Kelly!




 

Reactions:

5 Comments:

That vase is so cool. Looks magical and almost like it's floating. I'm off to check out her shop. What a talent, so honest as well.

Lovely work! That Porkatort is fantastic :)

Thanks for your comments everyone. I agree Kelly's work is amazing. I am so in love with that vase. :)

What talent! Beautiful and interesting work. :)

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