Posted 11 months ago
As I've mentioned on other posts I have been trying to pick up pieces of contemporary Australian glass. I was most pleased to get a vase by an Australian glass legend, and a biggie too at the Salvos across the way (three blocks from here) – so close that it’s not surprisingly a regular haunt; mind you, Vinnies is even closer! It really is a large vase and is really heavy. It is one of my favourite vases for a good bunch of flowers. I have met Brian Hirst on many an occasion. Besides his work as a glass artist here in Sydney he is also an avid collector of glass and I often find him at some markets I frequent early on Saturday mornings. His work is normally stamped within the pontil with his initials, much in the same way as a piece of ceramic might be stamped by a potter. But this piece has his signature and a date as well.
I spoke to him about it and he told me that he had made it as part of a small series for Space Furniture here in Sydney in 1999 – (just before the Olympic Games). It was blown by him and has gold within the glass metal itself (aventurine), but in addition he has laid multiple layers of gold leaf – that he sources from Japan – all over the outer surface of this huge vase.
H: 42 cm or 16"
W:35 cm or 14"
“Brian Hirst’s vessels are often made with reference to the degraded iridescent surfaces that characterise classical Roman glass. This work is a develop-ment of this theme and reflects a parallel interest in the subtleties of Japanese makie lacquer, through the fleeting appearance of flecked gold leaf in the vase’s inner surface, a form of decoration also seen in contemporary Japanese glass. Hirst’s articulation of gold and silver lustre surfaces and his use of the blue-green colour teal, in almost opaque glass, also alludes to the historical use of glass in jewellery, where its brilliance and fluidity were used to suggest the arcane and the exotic. Through his mastery of some of these more demanding techniques of glass, Hirst evokes its historical richness to underscore a contemporary language of form and colour.
(Makie is a Japanese lacquer decorating technique in which gold or other metallic powders are dusted onto the surface of wet lacquer.)
I love the fact that it is a great vase to display flowers. The proportions are right for a generous bouquet from the local florist or as a gift from friends on occasion. I've added a photos of a bouquet of hydrangea and peony from a friend Lois McM. Thanks Lo!
Brian Hirst is a genuinely nice man and his work can be really extraordinary. In 2008 he was added to the list of LIVING TREASURES: MASTERS OF AUSTRALIAN CRAFT.
Check out Brian’s site here:
His work can be found in major institutions here and around the word among them:
• National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, Australia
• Corning Museum of Glass, New York, USA
• Kunstmuseum, Dusseldorf, Germany
• Ebeltoft Glasmuseum, Ebeltoft, Denmark