Glass blowers Dirk Huysman and Mary Ann Richards work together on a project in their Gabriola Island studio. Now through June 24 an exhibition of their work is on display at the island’s Hive Emporium. (Photo courtesy Ryan Parker)

Gabriola glass blowers Dirk Huysman, Mary Ann Richards launch first solo show

Plan a road trip: Island’s Hive Emporium hosting exhibition through June 24

Gabriola Islanders Dirk Huysman and Mary Ann Richards have been blowing glass together for 22 years.

Despite that longevity, they are only just now presenting their first solo exhibition, Emergence: From Fire to Form, at the island’s Hive Emporium.

The show includes both blown and sculpted pieces, and Huysman said the title is a romantic description of the process of creation.

“When you open up that furnace at 2100 F you have this orange, glowing, very hot doorway that you just opened up and to keep the glass flexible we work with a reheating furnace which is like a barrel full of flame,” he explained.

“It’s all about keeping the glass in the right temperature to be able to manipulate it.”

Figures, vessels and paperweights will be on display. Huysman said there’s a “longstanding tradition” of paperweight manufacture in the glass-blowing world, though he questions its relevance in the digital age.

Huysman said he and Richards are approaching the five-year anniversary of operating their “hot house” on Gabriola. They began their practice at the Alberta College of Art and Design in the late ’90s, although at first they were only able to create on a weekly basis, which Huysman said got frustrating.

“When you’re blowing every day you’re really starting to get of sense of what the glass is like and what it’s going to do. When you just blow once a week it is like a new mystery every week,” he said.

The pair orders specialized blowing glass in pellet form in 50-pound sacks from a supplier in Seattle. It takes two and a half days to melt the glass down for use. Heating and cooling glass is a delicate process due to the risk of cracking and leaking. It takes 12 hours for a finished piece to cool to room temperature. Huysman said he views the art form as a tactile version of photography.

“I used to work in the darkroom a lot. When you printed a picture, it was like painting with light. And I saw this T.V. show about glass blowing and I thought, ‘That’s like going 3-D.’ It’s like sculpting with light,” he said.

WHAT’S ON … Dirk Huysman and Mary Ann Richards’s Emergence: From Fire to Form runs through June 24 at the Hive Emporium (9-575 North Rd.) on Gabriola Island, a short ferry ride from Nanaimo.



arts@nanaimobulletin.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Canada’s country music sweetheart brings The Gumboot Kids to town

Jessie Farrell to perform songs from her hit CBC TV series at McTavish Academy of Arts

VIFF wrap-up: Finely crafted films part of festival finale

Monday reviewer Kyle Wells puts a cap on his 2018 Vancouver International Film Festival experience

FILM REVIEWS: Race relations, refugees and racy romances featured at VIFF

Monday reviewer Kyle Wells presents round 2 from the Vancouver International Film Fest

An eye for art: The new and the notable at fall’s premier arts event

Sidney Fine Art Show shares wealth of Island talent Oct. 11 to 13

Astrocolor bringing unique funk-synth sound to the Capital Ballroom

Victoria band known for their festival shows making a rare appearance on their home turf

VIDEO: Ballet Kelowna brings steamy story, A Streetcar Named Desire, to Island

Okanagan ballet company brings a classic tale to the Cowichan Valley

INDY FILM FARE: 1970s hedonism and more at The Vic Theatre

From Studio 54 to Rocky Horror, there’s plenty of excess to observe this month

Shark-attack metal band coming to Victoria tonight

Shark Infested Daughters, a Calgary metalcore group, play the Upstairs Cabaret tonight, Oct. 13

STAGE AND SONG: Spotlight on Victoria arts groups

Learn about some of the city’s favourite theatre and musical entertainment options

Island lensman Jim Decker lands three top photography awards

During exciting photo trip to Yap in Micronesia, Cobble Hill man earns trio of firsts

Celebrate Oktoberfest Stein and Dine at the Victoria Public Market

Food, suds and German-style fun on tap at Oct. 20 event

Most Read