Jenni Kemarre Martiniello, Medium Green Reeds Fish Trap (reclining), 2017, hot blown glass with canes, W 78 x D 20cm
As a contemporary urban based Aboriginal (Arrernte) glass artist, my aim is produce a body of traditionally inspired works that will pay tribute to our traditional weavers, and provide recognition for these ancient cultural practices through the contemporary medium of glass within the aesthetics of both. In my current artistic practice I have concentrated on the incredibly beautiful forms of traditional woven eel traps, fish traps, fish scoops, dillibags and coiled and open weave baskets by Kaurna, Ngarrinjerri, Gunditjmara, Arrernte and NE Arnhemland weavers., seeking to evoke the interplay of light and form found in those objects, and in so doing, create contemporary glass works which are also objects of cultural as well as artistic significance.
In these works, hot blown glass provides an interplay of form and light that is very evocative of the light and form seen in traditional woven objects, while at the same time allowing me to experiment with various weaves through the use of single, double straight and double twisted glass canes made from opaque colours overlaid with translucents. The canes are pulled from hot glass, cut to various lengths and laid out in 4 consecutive layers. Each layer is heated to around 760o C and rolled up around a bubble of hot glass on the blow pipe, with successive layers rolled up around the layer before. Gathers of clear glass from the furnace go over the canes and a coloured wrap is applied around the body. It is then blown and shaped to its final form, during which it is constantly reheated in the glory hole so the glass remains molten and workable.
Glass blowing is not a technique an artist can do by themselves as more hands are needed to help with various things, such as blowing, shaping, turning, torching, etc. that have to be done simultaneously. For the largest works a hotshop team of seven was required. They are then annealed (brought back to room temperature) in a large kiln over several days to toughen the glass. The works are then cold worked (carved and polished).