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Meeting Bruce at a gallery in Holland for the first time in 1986 was the beginning of a long friendship. This American painter lived in Paris at the time and he not only became a dear friend but also a sparring partner in many discussions about art in general and our own work in particular. He now lives in New York again but still holds his apartment in Paris as well, keeping strong ties with Europe and European culture. As a result of this friendship and appreciation for each others work we found a way of collaborating, co-creating unusual art in which we brought together our ideas and skills and inspired one another. Obviously we enjoyed teaming up very much as till today we already created close to a hundred pieces. Have a look at his website to enjoy his wonderful paintings and see his latest work, also check out this short movie.
Go to Bruce Thurman website>
In 1989, I first visited Neil Wilkin in his studio and saw the master at work. It blew me away to see how controlled he worked and I spend the next 3 weeks trying to assist with questionable success. Two years later Neil and I started working on a body of work that formed my first solo show with art in glass. In developing a working relationship we also became dear friends and I am in great appreciation and gratitude to Neil and the members of our team that worked with us over the following years. Although we stopped working together in 2004 the development of the double graal technique was essential for my career and helped me tremendously in understanding to some extend the possibilities of glass and crystal as a medium. The members of our team all went their own way but I feel eternally connected to them. Neil himself started to focus more on his own designs and is now lamp-working mixed with glassblowing skills, achieving fabulous results - see the man at work.
Go to Neil Wilkin website >
A former student, then my assistant for many years and now a successful artist in his own right, I still call on my friend Michael to help me finishing models in my studio and solve technical problems. He has also done a lot of experimental castings for me in his workshop in Düsseldorf with some stunning results.Despite a recent setback, a destructive fire in his studio, Michael is becoming one of Germany`s most important artists working in glass. Inspired by the underwater world, his colorful work has found many followers and collectors. We often exhibit in the same galleries and our highlight so far was a well received show at the Ernsting Museum, Alter Hof Herding.
Go to Michael Behrens website>
In 2009 I was invited as a volunteer for PUM, a Dutch aid organization, by Cathy and Chas Prettejohn to visit their glass factory in Ngwenya, Swaziland. Using glass made from recycled bottles in ovens fired with refined oil from a fast food restaurant chain, Ngwenya Glass is a fine example of 'green' production, employing many local people and supporting local economy. That first year we created new designs including a range of tableware. In order to get more local artists and designers involved in creating designs for the factory, we decided to have an annual workshop were masterblowers from all over the world would join Ngwenya masterblowers Sibusiso Mhlanga, James Magagula and their crew as well as African artists, designers and students to co-create. Some well known colleagues like JanErik Ritzman from Sweden, Tim Shaw from Australia, Richard Price and Marco Lopulalan from the Netherlands, David Reade from South Africa, Richard Jolley from the USA, and Maestro Davide Salvadore from Murano, Italy, brought their skills, knowledge and ideas to Swaziland and got wonderful memories and new friends in return. Needless to say that I myself became very attached to Ngwenya and it`s people and that my partner Janet and I love to visit the Prettejohn`s and all our other friends at Ngwenya. Read their interesting story on their website.
Go to Ngwenya Glass website>
Lhotsky studio, the owner Zdenek Lhotsky and his phenomenal crew have proven to be the best in the field when it comes to cast glass. Zdenek’s lifelong experience in working with cast glass techniques collaborating with many well-known artists, like the famous artist couple Libensky Brychtova, made him the internationally recognized authority on cast glass. Zdenek Lhotsky is also a successful artist in his own right, working in many different media. Visit his website https://www.zdenek-lhotsky.com/en/
My first visit to Lhotsky Studio in Pelechov, Czech Republic was quite a revelation. Till then working in blown glass, I was used to mix colors or have colors overlaid on top of each other. In our first conversation I was told that that was not possible in cast glass. As always, the proof is in the pudding. Years later we managed to create work in combined colors.
Another breakthrough in collaborating with Rudolf Banas, glass producer and alchemist, and Zdenek Lhotsky, was the development of glass that could be used for outdoor sculptures. It took several years and many trials to develop a low-expansion glass. This collaboration turned into a successful venture when Mr. Banas was able to create a range of colors on my request. What is specifically interesting, is that this glass when heated up goes through the process of vitrification. This is a change in the structure of the glass surface of the individual parts that are put in the mold; a crystallization that shows up as a vail-like change in color. Although this change takes place, the glass does end up homogenous after the casting cycle is completed.
Working since 2001 on many projects together, we have developed a dear friendship and I always highly value his professional advice. Besides Zdenek and all of his wonderful crew, there is one master in particular whom I own much respect and gratitude, Robert Husek. Robert has been of great help cutting and polishing my sculptures, as he seems to understand non-verbally my ideas about quality, structure, and expression. His inventiveness has been indispensable in installing any large commissions like the Bunnies, Lyrical, and Aura.
Please visit Lhotsky Studio