Shona Firman works with cast glass, and 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.
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.
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.
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 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
If you are in the UK, this link is better
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.
You could also check out our Recommended Books on Glass.
INFORMATION about Bagley Glass!
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