The kind of pieces that you can’t take your gaze off, Amanda Dziedzic has mastered the art of glass with her one of a kind glass sculptures.
We caught up with the brilliant artist to discuss her craft and the intriguing process of having her glass sculptures take shape.
Tell us about the journey that led you to glassblowing.
Originally I’m from Adelaide and I had watched the glass blowers at the JamFactory since I was a kid. I thought they were the coolest of the cool. I started glass blowing as an elective as part of my Visual Arts degree at the University of South Australia, way back when there was an Underdale campus…maybe 1999!! (That’s a long time ago!) From here the spark was ignited with an excellent lecturer, Gab Bisetto but due to timetabling issues I wouldn’t touch the material again until 2005 when I decided to study glass full time as a Fine Arts degree at Monash University. After three years here I was then accepted into JamFactory Contemporary Craft and Design’s two year associate program in Adelaide. This was where I really learned to blow glass via production glass blowing. It was the hardest most rewarding thing I have ever done and I loved every minute of it. I got to blow glass seven days a week if I wanted to and I got exposed to so many incredible glass artists and this really is where my love of glass grew.
Can you tell us a little bit about the process of creating one of your glass sculptures? How long does this process take?
I like to blow glass in a team. It is one of my favourite things about glass blowing, it really is a team sport and I rely heavily on skilled assistants to make my work. First I select the colours I want to work in. This is super fun for me and I LOVE creating colour combinations. I cut concentrated colour bar into small pieces. This then gets heated up un a kiln. I pick this up on a blow pipe, heat the colour evenly then puff a little starter bubble into the colour. From here it gets dipped into the furnace of clear molten glass anywhere from one to three times, depending on how large the piece will be. I manipulate the glass into the shape I want using a combination of wooden blocks, a wet newspaper pad and a steel marver. My assistant will help me to heat and cut a jack line in so as we can transfer the piece to another metal rod so I can then work on the top of the piece. After it is finished it goes into an annealing oven to cool down very slowly, usually overnight, so it does not crack. By this time my assistant usually has the next piece started and I am ready to go again. Working like this, I might make a piece in anywhere between 30 – 45minutes. With a third assistant we can work faster and almost double our output.
How has these period of uncertainty influenced your creativity? Where are you drawing inspiration from?
This has been a very difficult time for me. It is hard to spark creativity and joy when you are facing uncertainty and sadness. I think what I have learnt though, is to celebrate the small. Find the joy in the everyday. For me this comes from my two year old, he is a constant source of both hilarity and frustration (two year olds are crazy!) we bake together, garden or even watch cartoons together. I also find solace in my studio. It is my ultimate happy place. I’m surrounded by all the things I love; colour, greenery and glass. I go back to basics and I start to draw again and the ideas start to flow again, slowly but surely. That way once restrictions are lifted and I can blow glass freely again, I will be ready! I already have so many new ideas that I want to make. I’m excited to make again, I can’t wait to get my hands moving on the glass again. My biggest inspiration will always come from nature and this time it is coming from my backyard, I can’t wait to show you.