In the previous post, Bibi revealed how her collaboration with Willem Heesen influenced her relationship with the material and with the process of glassblowing. Here, the artist tells us about David and Annica: the couple that mentored her for a year at Lindean Mill, Scotland.
MB: During our last conversation, we talked about the ‘soft’ aspects of glassblowing, the love for the material and the complicity between maker and assistant. What other experiences were relevant in shaping your experience as a glassblowing?
BS: After graduating from art college, I was assisting David Kaplan and Annica Sandstorm at Lindean Mill Glass in the south of Scotland. Annica was the designer, and David, her husband, was the glass maker and I was assisting. We were mostly making tableware, wine glasses, water glasses and from time to time we would make unique pieces or bigger pieces with lots of color.
For over a year, I was blowing glass every day from eight o'clock in the morning until six at night. Repetition, repetition, repetition and work ethic, that’s what I learned from them and how I really learned to understand the material and the techniques.
MB: It looks like an intense training, especially as you spent over an year there. How was your relationship with them?
BS: It was very nice; I enjoyed their energy! They had ideas, a good sense of what they wanted out of the piece and how to achieve it. Their attitude has taught me a lot about work ethic, how to be precise and make structured plans. Besides making glassware and wine glasses, I was learning the rules of glass making which I could then apply to shape my own projects.
MB: I guess that mastering the techniques is what allows you to create what you have in mind more independently. What else has influenced your approach to the creative process?
BS: Besides structure and repetition, what made me grow as a glassblower was that I was allowed to make mistakes. I had the freedom to experiment, to try out different things and make my own choices and they were always there guiding me. David and Annica were very good mentors! Not only I could improve my technique, but I learned about hotshop maintenance, how to charge the furnace and even talking to clients, talking to galleries, how to get to galleries. The whole package.