Keith Mahy (1947-2013)was one of the founding fathers of art glass in New Zealand. In 1965 he was a young student from Whakatane studying sculpture and design at Elam School of Fine Arts, Auckland University. He won the New Zealand Manufacturers Association Student Design award in 1967, and on completing his Graduate Diploma in Fine Arts, Keith took a job as Packaging Designer with a company in Auckland. His career in glass started the following year, 1970, when he was appointed Design Director at Crown Crystal Glass in Christchurch. .
Above: Three blown vases from Crown Crystal Glass designed by Keith Mahy.
Keith designed many of the successful ranges of glassware produced by Crown Crystal Glass, including the award-winning Anker and Aragon ranges. During his time at Crown, Keith became fascinated by glass, and in 1975 he resigned to set up his own glass studio.
Above: An early studio piece by Keith Mahy.
In 1976 Keith started making his own glass creations from a studio he built in a derelict cow shed just north of Hikurangi at Otonga, Northland. This must have been one of the earliest glass studios in New Zealand. The photographs above and below show some typical pieces of Keith's early work from his studio. Most of his early work was unsigned.
Above: Early abstract designs by Keith Mahy
Over the years Keith has won many awards and has exhibited his work widely overseas. He has held exhibitions of his work throughout New Zealand and also in England, Australia, Japan, the USA, and the Pacific Islands.
Above: Early Keith Mahy vase.
Above: Two early vases with glass trailing by Keith Mahy.
In 1982 Keith received a QEII Arts Council equipment grant, and built a better glass studio at Paparoa. In 1984 and 1985 he won Phillips Studio Glass Awards. And in 1986 he became tutor in Glass and Design at Northland Polytechnic (Whangarei). The Arts Council awarded him a grant to extend the studio at the Polytechnic, and many of New Zealand's great glassmakers trained with Keith in Whangarei (including Mike McGregor, Shona Firman, Lynnette Campbell and many others).
Above: top view of three fumed vases by Keith Mahy.
Keith also established a new glass studio and gallery called "Burning Issues" located on the waterfront in Whangarei in a new shopping and visitor complex. Several glass artists used these facilities to blow their glass. Below are some examples of Keith's later work.
Above: Perfume bottles by Keith Mahy
Sadly the Northland Polytechnic decided to close down its glass-making facilities (to save costs) but Keith was well-established in Whangarei with the "Burning Issues" studio (pictured below) and he looked well-pleased with himself. Along with other New Zealand glass artists in 1999, Keith helped to train glass-workers for a glass studio in the Pacific island country of Raratonga.
Above: Recent vase with silver treatment to top by Keith Mahy
Keith produced a series of beautiful vases like the one above, with wide flaring rims which shine like mirrors due to the special silver treatment incorporated into the glass .
Above: The glass studio at "Burning Issues" in Whangarei, spacious and well-equipped.
Above: The late Keith Mahy in his studio in Whangarei.
Sadly Keith died in June 2013, but his legacy of beautiful glass will last for many generations in the future.
Keith Mahy is one of the artists featured in the author's book about New Zealand Glass. This book covers both extensive historical information and current glass artists in New Zealand, with some superb photographs and explanatory text.
|INFORMATION about New Zealand Glass !|
Including many original catalog pictures and dozens of photographs.
NOW available - this is the new second edition of this book and it covers the fascinating history of glass in New Zealand, the story of Crown Crystal Glass, NZ bottles and an overview of contemporary New Zealand glass artists.
Available as a paperback or as a Kindle book.
Buy Now or take a look
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