Recently graduated Glass Studio Associate Jaan Poldaas showcases new work in Formocentric exhibiting in the Atrium 17 March- 17 April 2011
Check out Jaan's blog! machinemadebyhand.blogspot.com/
Tell us about yourself, how did you become a glassblower?
I started in 2004, at the Alberta College of Art and Design. I was stuck on glass the very first day. First minute.
ACAD has a fierce 'visiting artists' initiative which brought plenty of outside influence to the program and promoted the exchange of ideas in an international context. During my time there, I was part of several workshops and was introduced to a thorough range of techniques and histories in glass. I suppose it was the physical challenge, the coordination and concentration that glassblowing requires which kept me engaged. In addition, and over time, I learned that I am a closet pyromaniac.
Tell us how you learnt about the Associate Program at JamFactory
Gabriella Bisetto was an artist in residence at ACAD during my final year there. She was cool, and spoke highly of the Jam. I could only assert from this that the Jam must also be cool. So, after graduating in 2007, I applied to the associate program and after a second attempt in 2008, I was in. It was tricky to get here in terms of visas and stuff but we got it all sorted out and I arrived in Jan. 2009.
What was your main objective while working at JamFactory?
I just wanted to focus on making. I studied at an institution where the conceptual and contextual aims of 'the artist' were paramount. which is not a bad thing but for me the Jamfactory has been a place to spend the time learning the material, firstly from a craft persons' perspective, and thus to be able to use glass with confidence as a visual artist. I do believe that one precedes the other. Craft and technique before artistic prowess and image. Designing products, participating in exhibitions and special projects; these are natural results of refining ones craft. My main goal is to better understand this crazy, sparkly material.
Describe your style of work and the processes and techniques involved?
In the beginning, the voices in my head demanded that I...'pay attention to profile and proportion!’ it’s as if I haven't left this type of inquiry; it captivates me to no end. I'm a shape-ist. Glass can do so many things texturally, structurally, and there are so many things in the world to emulate with glass, yet i find it more challenging and satisfying to create a perfect sphere. A sphere can be as conceptually dense or mind numbingly banal as the maker intends it to be. Either way, geometric forms are powerful tools of communication, and though they pervade every aspect of our lives it is rare that you contemplate a circle, square or triangle absolutely by itself. They are beautiful.
Anyhow, so, I use glass and I make shapes with it, right? But particularly, I have been working with a technique I call 'coils' wherein I take small globs of hot glass and build with them consecutively upon one another. It’s a cellular way of creating the vessel wall. This technique is not unlike a coiled pot technique found in ceramics. i take each 'digit' of glass and force it to serve my will. The distortion created by this technique acts as a back drop upon which i can compare and highlight other qualities of the material.
What was the best experience of your time at JamFactory so far?
My best experience was the Dante Marioni workshop at the beginning of my associate ship in 2009. To have such a world class technician come to the studio and take our attention for a week straight was a humbling and inspiring experience.
What is your experience of the glass community in Adelaide?