Janet, an exponent of warm and cold glass working techniques, is the Featured Craft Artist at The Gallery in Mogo for the remainder of September and October.
Janet creates her glass pieces in a kiln heated up to almost 800C in her home studio and workshop in Batemans Bay. At a slightly lower temperature, gravity will slump the semi-molten glass over a mould; while at the higher temperature glass pieces can be fused together to create brilliant, multi coloured pieces.
She says, “I love working with the rich, fluid nature of glass, capturing it’s free flowing nature, at a moment in time”.
A practical person, Janet emphasises both functionality and geometric design, which is apparent in the cool, clean forms and purity of colour of the small bowls, larger platters, clock faces, jewellery and accessories which make up most of her collection.
But sometimes the imaginative side of her creative process takes over.
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In a recent exhibition she presented illuminated ‘aquarium’ pieces emulating the forms of plant and animal life found on local underwater reefs and the seabed—including seaweeds, algae, shells, starfish, and sea urchins.
Originally from the South Coast, Janet had the advantage of artistic parents. Her father is a potter and her mother a dressmaker and designer. Janet says, “ As a child I used to love watching glass blowers in the shopping malls making those miniature animals and I was always into art, playing with paint—I tried pottery with my dad and sketching. He was incredible and could turn his hand at any craft or art technique that attracted him.”
Janet didn't initially start glass work, she went into finance—and she was good at it, being appointed the first female manager of a Canberra bank.
But her love of the medium was rekindled when she came upon the stall of glass artist and teacher, Judy Witherdin, whilst walking through a local Canberra handcrafted art market. Later, with her father she joined a kiln-making workshop and made the kiln she still uses.
She says ” I originally used to give my glass pieces away, but friends suggested I sell them so I started to go to markets myself”. Janet and husband Steve moved to Batemans Bay two years ago and she is busier than ever, working from home in the recruitment industry as she awaits to see what masterpiece or creative disaster emerges from a cooling kiln.
She says, “I love the moment you lift the lid of the kiln, to see what’s transpired during the firing, it’s a bit like baking—lots of trial and error – you really get to know your kiln.”
More of Janet's outstanding creations can be seen in The Gallery, Mogo which is a co-operative venture of CABBI, a society open to local arts and crafts practitioners. People interested in finding out more about CABBI should drop in to The Gallery or phone 02 4474 2243.