Kiln Formed Glass Art Is Judith Bohm-Parr’s Passion.

Judith’s skills in kiln formed glass art, using methods such as pate de verre, cast or fused glass art are central to her work as an artist and so it seems to me that her glass furnace must be one of her best friends!

She has five, computer controlled, electric kilns and they are used according to the size and style of the work in hand,

For her jewellery Judith often combines art glass beads, made using a blowtorch, with cast work, which often calls on the subtleties and deceptive softness of pate de verre.

Judith, in common with many artists, has developed various markets and styles for her kiln formed glass art.

Judith at work in her glass art studioJudith hard at work in her tropical studio

Fused art glass slumped into molds

Judith’s production work, sold under the banner of her very successful Studio 8 Glass business, is made by cutting sheets of flat coloured glass into shapes (eg Barrier Reef fish, rainforest flowers and birds etc) then fusing them together, flat, at a high temperature in a glass furnace. After the fused glass has slowly cooled it is placed onto fibre glass molds in the shape of bowls etc and re-fired at a lower temperature, just enough to soften the glass, which then slumps into it and takes on the shape of the mold.

These brightly coloured kiln formed glass art bowls and plates are very popular as gifts – especially with wedding guests and corporate groups, which love them!

Below is a wedding commission, ready for fusing in the long, top-firing kiln.

Glass plates for wedding gifts in kiln ready for fusingCut and shaped coloured glass in kiln ready to be fused

Art glass beads

Glass beads are painstakingly made, one at a time, by melting coloured glass with a blowtorch, then transferring it to the end of a metal rod, which is then turned by hand as the heat is applied until the desired shape and size is achieved. As with kiln formed glass art, making glass beads and jewellery is very time consuming but the results are stunning.

Cast glass

Judith’s glass art work uses Bullseye powdered glass, which she sometimes purchases ready to use or else crushed glass, which she prepares herself. She says that smashing and crushing glass is a good way to release pent-up feelings! It also means that she has less wastage as she can use left-overs from other jobs, such as fusing and slumping, described above.

It seems to me that the pate de verre process and its beautiful, ethereal and magical results is where Jude’s heart lies. She made an indelible impression with it in 1993 when we first met and she was exhibiting at our fine art gallery, Mowbray Gallery, tucked away in the rainforest near Port Douglas.

pink glass fountain - commission for Port Douglas resortCast pate de verre fountain in a resort at Port Douglas

The Glass Journey Begins

Judith’s glass art journey had started when she was living in Darwin in the Northern Territory of Australia and making stained glass art. She enjoyed this occupation but it intensified her interest in learning more about the tantalising properties of glass and, in particular, kiln formed glass art.

So, off to Canberra School of Art she went, emerging with a degree in visual arts with a glass art major – what else?

Pate de verre glass vase form in pale blues and greens'Portcullis'

Judith’s engagement with the tropics, begun in Darwin, continued in Cairns in Far North Queensland, a cosmopolitan, yet frontier-type town where, as they say, “reef and rainforest meet”.

Here she set up her studio, quite an undertaking with its requirements for specialized equipment and industrial type space, and continued her artistic journey.

The fragile, sugary looking, pate de verre glass, literally a ‘paste of glass’, became her main interest and art form.

soft green pate de verre shallow bowl
pink pate de verre shallow bowlPate de verre was used to cast these delicate shallow bowls.

These breathtakingly beautiful, sculptural forms seemed to have a life of their own. Deep from within the bases of her bowl or vase forms glowed a rosy or cool light, depending on the colour of the glass paste used. This created the effect of the forms seeming to float above the display pedestals on which they were placed.

delicate pink pate de verre leaf skeletonFragile-looking pate de verre leaf skeleton

A New Direction

A change in personal circumstances in 2005 led to Judith moving away from Cairns to a tiny hamlet south of that centre. From here she was introduced, by new friends, to the hinterland, to the Savannah and dry mining country beyond the ranges.

In these surroundings the subtleties of washed-out colour in an ancient landscape, the orange-reds, soft greens and rusty or yellow ochres, evoked a response, which coincided with thoughts of personal adornment and referenced the often harsh history of the landscape through which she moved.

amber coloured fused dichroic glass necklaceAmber coloured fused glass, hand made beads and leather necklet

As one travels through the inland Australian landscape (the ‘Outback’) there are so often deserted relics of previous occupation – whether it be of the ‘hunter-gatherer’ Australian aborigines or of more recent European and Asian settlement. The small shards of rusted metal, decayed leather, semi precious stones, broken glass turned blue by the sunlight, or tiny, tenacious desert flowers tell a story and invite conjecture.

green pods neckletCast green pods with dichroic glass and art glass beads

So it was that Judith’s one-off glass jewellery was born. Interestingly, Judith has chosen to tell her most recent story through the scaled-down use of her comfortable yet still exciting old friends – pate de verre and art glass beads.

So, for this artist, her journey with kiln formed glass art has come full circle!

After a ‘round Australia ‘ road trip in late 2010, Judith is back having fun with her glass furnaces and powdered glass and passing on her knowledge via her popular studio workshops . Another (and final?) move in 2014 to Childers in Queensland sees her happily settled, making her own exhibition work, and running selected workshops there.

Please see her website for more details of her artwork and the workshops or use the form below to contact her direct.

'Aqua drop', detail of aqua and pink glass pendant
pink glass pendant on leather cord
cobalt blue glass necklet - leaf shapes
cobalt blue glass necklet - leaf shapes
'Waterhole' dichroic glass earrings green and gold
detail from majestic leaf patterned platter
glass installation at Port Douglas resort
another view of glass resort installation
large art piece - hanging glass leaves
Fine pate de verre leaf skeleton
blues and greens glass and silver 'sea urchins' pins
detail of soft pink pate de verre bowl
detail of soft green pate de verre bowl
more pate de verre leaves - pink
pink pendant - detail
close up of section of pale blue pate de verre vase form
heliconia plate, bright colours, production work
leadflight 'art deco' stained glass panel above door
mosaic glass plate, tropical flowers
Jude checks assembled work readfy for slumping in kiln
mosaic plate, red background dark blue flowers
pair of transparent blue earrings, wrapped with silver wire
white angelfish on red, yellow and blue background
birdwing butterfly -  blues, greens, yellow and black

Contact Judith direct

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