Student sculpts fluid glass into exciting forms at Ramp Gallery

Heather Olesen sculpts exciting forms in glass at Ramp Gallery - Wintec

Curlicue I, 2019, glass, Heather Olesen -  this work is part of Heather Olesen’s Master of Arts. 

A new exhibition exploring a 15-year love affair with New Zealand glass art by Wintec Master of Arts student, Heather Olesen is an exciting experience in sculptural glass fluidity.

Transition opens on Friday 6 March at Wintec’s Ramp Gallery and draws on the idea of process and chance as a source of inspiration, revealing the artist’s investigations into fine art and craft, and her journey towards a Master of Arts.

Heather’s fluid style captures unique forms through the process of applying heat and gravity techniques to the glass medium. Here she explains the process behind the works in her new exhibition which opens with a public event at 4pm, Friday 6 March and is on show at Ramp Gallery until 13 March 2020.

How long have you been working with glass? 
My interest in kiln form glass began in 2004, after attending a Whanganui UCOL Summer Glass School. On the first day of the workshop, I found I had stumbled into a workshop full of established New Zealand glass artists. The tutor was Colin Reid, a glass master from England teaching refined methods of glass kiln casting. My previous ceramic mould making experience helped me delve into reskilling new mould making processes to kiln form glass. Continuing my development and learning to work with glass was by attending master glass workshops.

How do you use and manipulate glass in your work?  
Kiln forming is the process of shaping glass in a kiln using heat and gravity.  When the glass is heated in the kiln it becomes soft and as temperature increases, it becomes more liquid-like honey.  When gravity takes hold of the molten glass it folds and fills the space in which it is contained. The molten glass will fuse and blend with any other compatible glass and once cooled it will resume its crystalline structure as an amorphous solid.  My investigations using heat and gravity techniques allowed glass to find its own voice - manifesting differences and change to develop itself into works of art.

How did studying towards your Master of Arts help develop your art practice and processes?
I have developed a deeper theoretical understanding of art, art history and practises.  The knowledge gained aided personal development in how I evaluate and visualise my work.  Extending artistic freedom to develop work and approaches I would not have previously considered.

Any advice for students considering post-graduate study? 
A large part of post-grad study is self-development along with generous support, guidance and encouragement from your assigned tutors.  Being open to challenges and developing new levels of learning creates a pathway for future personal development and advancement after post-grad study.

Where to from here? 
Future development of works, solo shows and entry into exhibitions both nationally and internationally.

Transition, an exhibition by Heather Olesen, opens at 4.00pm Friday 6 March and is show until Friday 13 March at Ramp Gallery, Wintec School of Media Arts, Collingwood Street, Hamilton. Find out more about Transition here. 

Learn more about studying a Master of Arts at Wintec.

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