I was running early on my way to Tauranga to meet a friend when I spied de Flute glass blowing studio as I left Rotorua. I hadn’t called in for a couple of years.
On arrival Ron van der Vlugt and Barachois Hansen were just about to blow a ‘volcanic patterned, coloured bowl’ and they warmly invited me to stay and observe. Great timing. I perched on the stool as they began work.
Things have picked up after the last downturn – his work has been secured by a gallery in Melbourne’s Federation Square and is found in specialist galleries around NZ. Looking at the fabulous light shades, a new line, I can see why.
A fat, dimpled, opaque tangerine shade winked at me and long, sleek shades in jewelled colours looked down from above. I visualised them hanging above a beautiful kitchen bench or in an entrance area, perhaps at different levels. Unique and lovely
Sometimes handmade work is easier to complete alone but I could see how an adept partnership would work with this complex process. Heating, rolling, blowing, smoothing on water-cooled pads, keeping the pads wet as the glass is handled, hissing, ovens opening and closing, batting and shaping and melding and then finally, sharply tapping off the glass and placing it safely away – that’s the simplified version. Working alongside the glowing gas and electric furnaces, Ron instructed Barachois, a very quick study. I really couldn’t believe it was only his second day. Smiling, they both reassured me it was. Working under the Gateway programme, he had requested work at Ron’s glass studio and was obviously immersed and enjoying himself.
I left as the completed bowl was placed gently into the cocooning drawer, awaiting its reveal in 24 hours; phoning my friend to explain my early start had magically disappeared to become a late arrival, and forgiven when I explained my lucky timing…
You can find more information about de Flute Glass Studio at http://www.defluteglass.co.nz/
Jane Clark. Jane Clark is a member of the Bethlehem Pottery Club. She is a recent successful exhibitor at the Club’s Ceramic Exhibition held at the Bob Owens Retirement Village, Bethlehem. A talented creative, Jane has an appreciative eye for all aspects of the creative arts.