Evelyn Dunstan

New Zealand  b. 1961

Evelyn started glass casting in 2003 after a 25 years as a graphic artist, designer and illustrator in various industries in advertising, photography, publishing and print, the last 13 as the art director for a publishing company. Combining a full time career and raising 4 children meant interests were woven into life: agriculture, horticulture and sculpture combined through landscaping and a variety of materials, but a life-long passion with clay, the need to develop her own style of art and more family time resulted in the change of career to a full time sculptural artist in 2002 setting up a home studio, experimenting in glazes, slip casting, raku, moulds, firing, and learning new skills with metal sculpture - welding and bronze casting, wood, concrete, stone carving, stained glass, lead lighting and mosaics.

After working with colour all her life, lead lighting introduced the ultimate properties of glass: combining colour with light, and a basic night class in glass casting (2003) combined the form of sculpture with added depth and dimension of glass - along with an endless source of possibilities and technical challenges. A year casting on her own led to being selected for a more comprehensive 1 year casting course at Auckland’s Artstation in 2004. She has since attended Glass Master classes and workshops both in New Zealand and overseas in fusing, slumping, carving, engraving and sandblasting, painting enamels on glass, flame work, hot casting, glassblowing along with attending overseas GAS (Glass Art Society, USA) and Ausglass (Australian) Conferences.

From her beginning as a glass artist Evelyn has avoided the status quo in terms of direction, techniques and subject matter. Being completely naive of existing glass and artists when first leaning glass casting, and working in isolation is what has set her apart with what she wanted to create and how, so her work has took on it’s own direction without influence. Exploring the qualities of locally made Gaffer casting crystal and constantly re-defining her own boundaries by pursuing ways to gain more understanding of wax, glass and refractories as materials, combining and modifying techniques often developed for other mediums all aim at capturing more complex and intricate details and textures and are a reflection of her own personality and expression of her thoughts.

Now very familiar, and involved with the majority of New Zealand’s Glass community – from 2006 she was on the NZ Society of Artists in Glass (NZSAG) committee, the majority of her time in 2006 - 2008 was taken up with being ‘Editor’ - photographing, interviewing, writing, producing and printing the ‘Glass News’ Magazine, and following that in 2009 - 2010 co-ordinating the production of a book on New Zealand Glass art incorporating 115 of New Zealand’s glass artists, collating and writing most of the technical explanation texts. Time served an invaluable insight into the New Zealand glass scene, it’s history, and a study of New Zealand glass and our artists.

Evelyn has participated in many exhibitions and is represented in galleries in NZ, Australia, and the USA. Along with achievements within NZ, having two works selected as a finalists for the 2005 Ranamok Glass Prize on her first attempt, two again in 2006, she was then awarded the Ranamok Glass Prize in 2007 with “Ngahere Karauna” (Forest Crown.) Another two works entered in 2010 were selected, with “Transparent Illusions” an installation of 24 life sized masks becoming the People’s Choice award.

Other notable invitations to exhibit include Sydney’s annual ‘Masters of Glass’ (Sabbia, 2009, 2011), NZ Glass Invitational (Milford, 2008 - 2010), Looking Glass (NZ, 2009 - 2010), Putiputi (NZ, 2010) and Oz: Studio Glass from Australia and NZ (Imago, USA 2010, 2011) where her works are displayed alongside the most notable names.

Searching for new or different techniques and approaches lead her to the USA in 2008 to visit with a technical expert at a glass casting foundry, resulting in combining modified techniques and American refractory moulding materials into her methods, and a further, longer collaboration again in 2011. Sharing techniques developed, passing on her own skills and approach extends into teaching the casting process locally, an intensive course, presentation and demonstration for the 2010 NZSAG conference and work experience for overseas graduate students.

Highlights for 2011 include being TA for Daniel Clayman’s master class at the 2011 Ausglass Conference, an 6 page opening feature article in the Craft Arts International Magazine (#81), May/June in the USA and April in Venice with Gaffer Glass sponsoring her to teach Lost wax casting - a historical first, on the Island of Murano.

 

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