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Artist mixes art and science in glass creations: Wall To Wall Art

Read about Roz’s journey into fused glass, and more about her current exhibition on the Feature Wall, ‘Little Landscapes’ which runs until 14 May.

Artist Roz Speirs with glass in the kiln she fondly calls Robbie. AMANDA SEARS

Unable to part with a pile of neglected art materials she’d brought from Scotland when she emigrated in 2002 made Roz Speirs realise she had a creative itch that needed to be scratched.

At 2am on a sleepless night in 2014, she decided to explore a completely different medium and enrolled in a fused glass course in Whanganui.

The course was to change her life and set her off on a journey of discovery and a new career.

Her first kiln was a miraculous contraption that went inside a domestic microwave oven. Clearly not on a scale for high-volume production, but enough to start the process of design and experimentation.

After months of exploration she returned to the UK to immerse herself in a selection of glass fusing classes and workshops.

Roz Speirs’ work Porthole-Summer Sunset on show at Wall to Wall Art in Bridge St. AMANDA SEARS / NELSON MAIL

On her return, she bought two second-hand kilns called Richie and Dan, named after her favourite All Blacks (they were both solid, well built, a bit bashed and scratched around the edges, and very, very hot).

She’s since added a larger custom-built kiln from Stoke-on-Trent she had shipped to New Zealand. This one is named Robbie.

She launched Clarity Glass in 2015 and now sells and exhibits her work all over New Zealand.

Combining sheet glass, glass powders and enamels, Speirs creates evocative landscapes and seascapes inspired by her time in New Zealand and Scotland. Organic materials such as pure silver foil and mica often feature in her work.

“One of the most exciting things about working with glass is that it involves a mix of art and science,” she said.

“Glass begins to soften and transform at around 600 degrees, gradually changing in viscosity until it becomes molten like runny honey at 900 degrees. The firing temperature therefore plays a key part in defining the look and texture of the finished piece, so it is very much a collaboration between myself, the glass and the kilns, often with surprising results.”

Speirs is the feature artist at Wall to Wall Art in Bridge St until May 14, with Little Landscapes – a selection of small artworks exploring different materials and techniques.
Source: Stuff, Peter Gibbs, April 17, 2024


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