Now in its second season, Netflix series Blown Away has put glass-blowing back on the map. It’s not hard to see why. The nail-biting Canadian reality show pits gifted artisans against each other, in their quest to make beautiful glass objects under stressful workshop conditions and a limited time frame.
Over on our shores, Singapore has its own coterie of glassblowers. Among them is the Australia-born glass artist B. Jane Cowie who has been residing here for almost 18 years.
After majoring in Glass and Sculpture at Australia’s Sydney College of the Arts, Cowie visited many glassmaking studios in Europe – where she saw the creation of hot glass in action for the first time.
She returned to Australia and trained in hot glassmaking, before setting up her own studio in Adelaide Hills. In 2003, Cowie moved to Singapore to teach in an art school, and subsequently set up Art Glass Solutions in 2008. Today, she conducts regular hot-glass blowing workshops at Art Glass Katong.
Award-winning glass artist, B. Jane Cowie, at work.
Boasting a whimsical-meets-surrealist aesthetic that’s informed by nature. Cowie’s works certainly stand out for looking like something out of a Loewe catalogue; they’re certainly statement-making and a clever combination of colour and form.
Take, for example, Enchanting, the first major installation Cowie completed in Singapore in 2008. The work comprises large, organic, pastel flowers supported on metal stems, hand-blown and hot-sculpted by Cowie and an accompanying team from Canberra Glassworks.
Enchanting (2008) was the first major installation that Cowie completed in Singapore.
More recently (as though echoing the practice of reusing materials from past collections), Profusion of Blooms is a fascinating exhibition with artworks made by re-melting and recycling Cowie’s past studio objects, to create items like florets, wine glasses and vases.
Ahead, we speak to the gifted artisan about her craft, her inspiration, process and what participants can expect from her workshops.