Posted on Sunday May 15, 2016
Tony Kuepfer says creating a glass object is a bit like making a cake. He mixes together white silica sand with chemicals and then heats them in a fiery furnace, a process still much the same as that first used in Egypt nearly 5000 years ago.
From a blob of molten glass taken from the furnace on the end of a long hollow rod, a pear shape is formed. Tony then gently blows down the rod until the desired shape and size is achieved. The work continues with the addition of coloured glass threads or chips and further manipulation and heating in a second furnace. The finished article is then placed into an annealing oven to gently cool overnight to eliminate the stresses created during the glass blowing process. Thus science and art meet to create a beautiful object.
Tony Kuepfer’s Realglass Studio in Ropa Lane, Miramar, which was just an empty shell when he moved in, now houses two furnaces and an annealing oven. These were all built from scratch using discarded items which he had accumulated over time. Tony has been a glass artist in New Zealand since 1975 after graduating from College of Art at Oregon State University. He was located in Inglewood before moving to Miramar.
At his studio Tony has a small but varied collection of his work on display, from small jugs and bowls to wine glasses and large platters and vases. The studio is open to the public on Fridays and Saturdays from 10am to 4pm. By arrangement he is also happy to open on other days.
Feature image: Tony Kuepfer in his studio, photo by Jillian Wellings.