Nick Mount has been blowing glass since a cowboy boot-wearing American introduced him to it in the mid 70s. Looking back, it was a fortuitous time as only months earlier he had married his partner of now more than 45 years, Pauline. Together they went on to establish Victoria’s first hot glass studio, raise three relatively well-adjusted children, and develop an internationally renowned arts practice. Today, they enjoy the chaos of family events with seven grandchildren and Nick is celebrated as one of the most important and influential figures in contemporary Australian studio glass.
Based in Adelaide, South Australia, Nick works out of a home studio and the JamFactory’s open access hot shop. In the traditions of the studio glass movement, he is an advocate for communal training and production, and has a reputation for being a generous teacher and mentor. He also travels regularly, both exhibiting and demonstrating around the world.
Nick’s work is materials and process driven. His early exposure to the thriving studio glass scene on the West Coast of the United States, and the historic and cultural traditions of the Venetians remain an enduring influence. So too does his commitment to continually expanding his knowledge of the enigmatic qualities of glass and his belief in the power of working with his hands. More broadly, Nick draws on that which is most important to him: his family; the productive garden he and Pauline have spent thirty years cultivating; the glass community; and the people and places he visits.
Every year we have a Spring and after almost seventy of them, I feel that I may have become a little complacent about what to expect. It’s my favourite time of year for its new greens, buds and blossoms, cold nights, chilly mornings, warm afternoons and the promise of rebirth.
This year our Spring feels different. Although we are preparing the soil the same as every other Spring and getting ready to sow our veggie seeds, there is an element of doubt as to what will shoot. The blossoms are promising on the almond tree and I am hoping to see the first asparagus spearing through the mulch any minute, but so far this year has been unpredictable enough to torpedo my faith in even the most reliable of my expectations.
While I have been able to continue with my work in the studio without much interruption, I have not had the same access to the furnaces and have had to reimagine my place as a maker.
The work that has come from this period may seem like another small step in the continuing evolution of my “shoots” and “fruits” series but it has come from a very different period of time and a very different place.
My work has always responded very directly to time and place. Often to travel, studio experiences in different cultures with old and new friends in the world of glass. Sometimes to opportunities that have focused on looking at my materials and process in new ways. This year we have been encouraged to stay put and isolate without the influences outside our small bubble. To be more self-sufficient and to rely on our own ingenuity and imagination.
Some of these new pieces refer more directly to the shapes and colours of fruits that we know. Some of them are less recognizable. Maybe from the future or another place. Maybe from trees or plants that we don’t yet know that hold the promise of something new and exciting. Or frightening.
Nick Mount, 2020