So, you guys n gals know how much I love glass work of all kinds. Well, this week’s Worldwide Wednesday revisits my love of this and the work of New Zealand born glass sculptor, Ben Young.
Ben is an ocean loving pioneer of the handmade – and he has an amazing moustache of magnificence!
Oh, and he makes some pretty AWESOME glass sculptures too!
I have been blown away by Ben’s work. Ben has been kind enough to send me some pictures of his work and him at work which I have disseminated throughout his answers.
I think that you, like me, will be utterly amazed at the level of skill and effort that each piece has involved.
Anyway, I’d better hand you over to the man himself so that he can let you know more.
Please can you provide a brief introduction to yourself, where in the world you are and let everyone know what you currently do in the arts/crafts industry.
I am originally from a small beachside town in New Zealand called Waihi Beach.
I grew up surfing and also trained as a boat builder. I have always been round the ocean and that is what inspires my work.
I am now living in Sydney, Australia and have set up my glass studio here and am lucky enough to be now doing my glass sculpture full time which I am really grateful for.
When did you begin working in the creative industry and what was the seminal or defining moment that put you on that path?
I’ve always been creative but was only doing my glass sculpting on the side of my full-time boat building job.
The defining moment was when people started purchasing my work and I realised that I could potentially make a living out of what I loved doing.
Is what you do now what you imagined you would be doing when you first started out?
It started off as a hobby and I never imagined I would be doing it full-time. It was always a dream of mine but to actually have it come to fruition is amazing.
Thinking back through the years, what memorable responses have you had to your work?
I think my work really draws on people’s experiences and memories. I have received a lot of wonderful emails from people who have seen my work and just write to tell me how it makes them feel.
These are just as special as someone actually buying the piece. I once had a woman cry as she was so moved by one of my pieces – that was pretty overwhelming. It’s nice to know I am creating things that people can connect with in different ways.
What has been most important to you as an artist or crafter – a mentor, support, knowledge, advice, information, funding, family, friends … etc?
I think the most important thing to me has been support. It’s not always easy being an artist but when you have support from family, friends, galleries and mentors it makes it a lot easier knowing you have them to count on when you need.
Kirra Galleries in Melbourne have been so great and have really helped push my work, I am heading to SOFA ion Chicago with them later this year which will hopefully be a great opportunity for me.
How have you changed during your career and do you see room for more changes in the coming years?
I feel like my work is constantly developing and getting stronger both conceptually and technically as my career develops. I love the technical side to my art and that is something I will always want to push boundaries on.
I am adamant to keep my work all handmade without the use computers so I am constantly solving challenges when it comes to that which keeps everything interesting.
What work do you most enjoying doing?
Again – the really technical, challenging pieces. When I complete a piece that has been really difficult to plan and make I have a huge sense of achievement which I love.
Who/What inspires you the most?
I take inspiration from all aspects of my life, growing up by the sea, being a boatbuilder, loving nature and exploring.
I think those inspirations are all pretty apparent in my work. I also just love being surrounded by creative people working in all sorts of fields – they motivate me to keep creating.
How would you describe a creative life? Fun, challenging, rewarding … etc?
Very challenging, but yes, extremely rewarding. Sometimes I battle with it being a little selfish but I hope the work I am making is making others happy too which make me feel better.
It is pretty amazing to work for yourself and do something you love everyday.
What would be your dream project?
Something BIG! It is something I haven’t tackled yet due to weight and transport issues (glass and concrete as you can imagine are very heavy materials!).
Hopefully the right client will come along one day and I can make something substantial for a certain space. That’s the dream.
What wouldn’t you do without?
My oil filled glass cutter. Simple but the most important tool I own.
What are you working on at the moment?
A series of work for the upcoming art fair SOFA in Chicago later on this year.
What future project(s) are you most looking forward to?
I have a little something commissioned for P&O Cruises which is exciting.
What are you doing when you’re not creating? What hobbies (creative or non-creative) do you have?
Anything on a board! Skating & surfing mainly. Lots of good times with friends and lots of music.
Do you have any tips or inspiring words for others?
Just start! It’s the hardest thing to do, but once you do the ideas and inspiration just starts rolling.
Where else can we find you? (Blog, website, twitter, facebook etc)
So the moustache is amazing, but what about those sculptures!? I can imagine the time and patience that each piece has taken and am seriously impressed by Ben’s ability to communicate the undulations of the ocean in a medium as plane as clear sheet glass – simply stunning.
What did you think?
If you have any questions or comments on this post then please do pop them in the comments section below.
In the meantime I wish to thank Ben for taking part and am keeping my fingers crossed that he finds that special client that will help him realise his dreams :)
Ok, time to pack our bags and head back to the good ole blighty.
See you in the departure lounge again next week?