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Glass Artist



Can you please introduce yourself in one sentence? 

I’m Kate Mitchell and I’m a glass sculptor


How did you get into glassblowing?

I started a Fine Arts degree at Elam and it was my last year where I became interested in glass. They didn't really have facilities at Elam so I reached out to a local glass studio, Luke Jacomb Glass, which is where I'm now working. I starting off doing glass casting and then eventually moving into glassblowing.


Has your career/craft unfolded how you thought it would? What has been most surprising?

It's been quite a surprising transition.  I went to Elam wanting to be a painter, and then kind of drifted around. I thought I wanted to be a designer and then at the end of my time there I got into glass and and glass casting. Then I finally realised I wanted to do glassblowing. Most people wouldn't know this but they are quite different processes – casting glass is a lot slower, its all done when the glass is cold, and your not really part of the full process.  Where as glass blowing you are part of every step and it's quick. It's fast. It's hot. And the results are instant. I think ultimately I liked the pace; it matches my lifestyle. 

I’m now also really enjoying the marketing and photography side of portraying what I make and selling it. It's been a bit of a random road from the start, and very surprising, but I'm really glad where I am now.


What piece of advice has been given to you, that you would like to pass on?

The best advice is something my mum always used to say to me. It's a well know proverb and she’d always repeat it to me. She said 'There's only one way to eat an elephant, one bite at a time'. By that she was saying that when things feel overwhelming or it feels impossible to ever get anywhere, just take one step at a time.

I've always felt that way with glass. It was very daunting at the start, because it's a takes years to learn how to do anything, and I ended up becoming ok with it. It’s slow, it takes about ten years just to become kind of good at it. So I just had to take one day at a time. And now I'm finally at a point where I can make tumblers and more functional items. And I just keep going. 


How do you navigate your work/life balance –– how do they feed each other? 

This is like a constant juggle for me. Like I've spent the last few years really trying to figure out how to achieve a work life balance. And for me, it's about scheduling everything. Scheduling all my work and then scheduling and time out and socialising. So I have a big diary where I write everything down.

I try and make sure that there's equal amounts of work as well as time to not work and to go out see my friends. I am still trying to learn the balance but I feel like you never achieve a good balance, there’s always something in life that's a bit out of balance. It's a constant evolution of trying to figure it out, but this is my year I've committed to putting more focus on socialising and having fun. I need to prioritise it because the last couple years has been a lot about working. 

We also recently went away overseas and I realised how important it is to get out of your normal environment and to get inspired by other experiences rather than the same things that you see every day. 


What or who are you currently inspired by?

At the moment I’m really inspired by the colours in fashion that I'm seeing at the moment, all the pastels and browns and more subdued tones. I also continually look at interiors for inspiration as well.  

I also draw of lot of reference through everyday life and travel. I was recently in New York and going to all the concept and fashion stores was so good for inspiration. While I was there I also did a glass blowing course a little bit north of New York.  They have incredible glass museum there called Corning Museum of Glass. Some of that I shot on film. That was really inspiring.

I try to bring my film camera around and then when I get them developed and printed out and lay them all out as a mood board. For me this is where I really refine my inspiration and pinpoint key colours, and everything flows from that.

So I guess I’m saying everyday life inspires me. I'm just trying to remember to take snapshots all the time.


Where is your happy place?

My happy place would be nature.  Whether it's a beach or a bush walk, I need to be as far away from glass as possible to get my head in a space where I'm not preoccupied. And were there’s no kind of hustle and bustle.  

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