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Shona Firman Cast Glass
Above: Shona Firman releasing a blue cast glass sculpture from its mold material.
Cast glass has become a specialism amongst glass artists in New Zealand, and Shona Firman is one of the leading teachers and artists working with cast glass in NZ. Her spiritual and symbolic pieces are stunningly beautiful. Many of Shona's vessels and sculptures are blue, since the touch-stones of ancient people were often blue, giving this colour a special significance. Her series of canoes, based on ancient New Zealand wakas, are each unique. Each one is made from a mold which is destroyed when the glass is released from it. In the picture above Shona is digging out her blue glass sculpture from the white "plaster-type" mold material. Some of Shona's vessels are three-quarters of a meter long - truly monumental sculptures in cast glass.
Above: Detail from a cast glass canoe by Shona Firman
Shona Firman was born in Whangarei, in the North of New Zealand, in 1940. She started her career as a display artist for a retail store, and in her thirties spent time sailing in the South Pacific and working as a designer and artist in Hawaii and in Canada. In the 1980s she started her own business designing, manufacturing and selling soft toys. She studied management and later attended Northland Polytechnic studying applied arts. It was here that she studied glass making under Keith Mahy's direction.
Above: Two Canoes, a sculpture in cast glass by Shona Firman.
After graduating with merit and majoring in Glass, Shona was awarded a scholarship to attend the Pilchuck Glass School, in Seattle, USA. She was awarded a New Craft Artist Production Grant from the Queen Elizabeth II Arts Council of New Zealand, and made a study tour to Perth, in Australia. On her return she became Glass Tutor at Unitec, Auckland, and a year later in 1995 she and Keith Mahy became partners and set up the Burning Issues Glass Studio and Gallery in Whangarei.
Above: another ancient canoe vessel by Shona Firman.
Shona commented "We all paddle our own canoe through life, and its a different journey for each of us, but basically its the same canoe".
The cast glass "Jessie House" below is something completely different, a design drawn by Shona's grand-daughter Jessie, and converted by Shona into a series of incredible little sculptures.
Above: Shona Firman's "Jessie House" designed by her grand-daughter.
Shona Firman is one of the artists featured in Angela's book about New Zealand Glass.
This book covers both extensive historical information and current glass artists in New Zealand, with some superb photography and explanatory text.
|INFORMATION about New Zealand Glass !|
Including many original catalog pictures and dozens of photographs.
NOW available - this is the second edition of the 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
If you are looking for New Zealand glass, you can usually find items on offer on ebay
- click here
to see New Zealand glass currently for sale on ebay.
Browse specialist books on Glass
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The place to browse through interesting glass books - book-seek.com
Books about cast glass -by title
- Glass Casting (Jan 2020) by Amy Whittingham. A practical book explaining the glass casting process, with step-by-step instructions.
- Sand Cast And Kiln Glass: A Chinese Context (Oct 2014) by Guan Donghai.
- Kiln-Formed Glass: Beyond the Basics (July 2014) by Brenda Griffith. Advanced practices, techniques and projects.
- Kiln Cast Glass (July 2013) by keith cerone.
- Carol Milne Knitted Glass: How Does She Do That? (March 2013) by Steve Isaacson.
- Knitted Glass (July 2008) by Carol Milne.
- The Inner Light: Sculpture by Stanislav Libensky & Jaroslava Brychtova by Robert Kehlmann, July 2002.
Stanislav Libensky & Jaroslava Brychtova: A 40 Year Collaboration in Glass by Thomas S. Buechner, Sylvia Petrova, and Susanne K. Frantz, December 1995.
- G. Argy-Rousseau: Glassware as Art (1991) by Janine Bloch-Dermant. The master of pate de verre, Argy Rousseau's work is pictured beautifully and discussed in detail in this book.
- Daum: masters of French decorative Glass (1992) by Clotilde Dacri, Noel Daum and Claude Petry. Stunning photographs and masses of information about Daum and the glass they made, much of it during the Art Nouveau and Art Deco periods.
- The Art of Glass: Art nouveau to Art Deco (Sept 97) by Victor Arwas. Stunning pictures covering all the major glass producers of the art nouveau and art deco periods, including many French such as Galle, Daum Nancy, Argy-Rousseau, Leveille, Lalique, Sabino, Marinot, Navarre, and Schneider.
Early Ancient Glass: Core Formed, Rod-Formed, and Cast Vessels and Objects from the Late Bronze Age to the Early Roman Empire, 1600 Bc to Ad 50 (1999) by David Frederick Grose (Editor).
- Lalique Glass: the Complete Illustrated catalogue for 1932 (Oct 81). An invaluable aid to identifying Lalique Glass, this reproduction of the 1932 catalogue has pictures and names for the entire production range of Lalique at the height of their popularity.
- The art of Rene Lalique, by Patrica Bayer and Mark Waller, Quintet Publishing, 1988.
- Schneider glass book (1992.) by Edith Mannoni, Massin Editeur.
- Glass: Art Nouveau to Art Deco, by Victor Arwas, Academy Editions, 1987.
- Cast glass sculpture The Main Art Gallery, California State University, Fullerton, 1986.
Stanislav Libensky & Jaroslava Brychtova: Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture by Kate Elliott, July 1995.
- The Cast: New Zealand Contemporary Cast Glass 2001, exhibition catalogue with contributions by Elizabeth McClure, Ann Robinson, and John Croucher.
- Techniques of Kiln-formed Glass (1997) by Keith Cummings.
- Glass Casting and Moldmaking
(1989) by Boyce Lundstrom.
- A History of Glassforming (March 2002) by Keith Cummings.
- A Beginner's Guide to Kiln-Formed Glass (Sept 2012) by Brenda Griffith. Fused, slumped and cast glass.
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