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Featuring Jochen Ott

... sculpting light with optical glass ...

Scandium, Jochen Ott

Scandium, Jochen Ott

Featured Artist: Jochen Ott

15.07.17 - 29.07.17

Jochen Ott is be our featured artist for the month of July. As part of a new venture to promote and exhibit the many talents of our wonderful resident artists, new work by Jochen will be on display in the gallery from July 15th-29th, and throughout the Summer Open House.

Jochen is a glass sculptor who enjoys working both hot and cold glass, and his attention to detail is unwavering. He admits that he was spellbound by glass as an artistic material when he first explored its potential 16 years ago and decided to study at the Glasfachschule Zwiesel in Bavaria, Germany.

His affinity to glass led him, on a Da Vinci scholarship, to Peter Layton’s London Glassblowing Studio in 2007 where he has become an integral part of the team.

Our Gallery Assistant, Amy Reeve, sat down with Jochen to find out more about what he’s been up to…

Halcyon I, Jochen Ott

Halcyon I, Jochen Ott

How did glass become your chosen medium and why?

Completely by accident! I suppose I see it as something alive. Once I had begun working with it I couldn’t stop; my attraction to the medium has never faded.

A lot of your work encourages your audience to question the physical qualities of glass by using unexpected textures and techniques to manipulate the material’s surface. Can you explain this on-going theme in your work and what makes it stand out in the glass world?

This direction stems from my ongoing interest in glass as a material and the challenge of exploring potential effects by using different methods to alter the surface of my work. By cutting and carving glass you can change the whole appearance of a piece with each mark you make, manipulating how light passes through. The nature of glass means that I can explore transparency and opacity, constantly searching for new ways to enhance the material. A good example of this is my ‘Anonymities’ work where I experimented with an adhesive that, as it dries, rips the glass to create a cracked texture on the surface.

It’s lucky for me that my work stands out, captivated as I am by the effects produced by cutting and carving, as opposed to working exclusively with hot glass like many other glass artists at the moment.

Jochen’s newest piece ‘Eudaemonia’ featured on London Glassblowing’s Instagram account.

As you consistently favour a matte finish to your pieces, the development of  your most recent series, ‘Halcyon’, as your first body of polished work has been remarkable. Made using coloured optical glass, this new fascination has been extraordinarily well received. Can you explain a bit about your inspiration for the series and your making process?

Optical glass is incredibly beautiful; it is flawless and highly refractive.

I work with glass as a sculptor would work with stone, seeing what the material wants to be. This series is a study of the aesthetic qualities of optical glass by changing its surface to employ mirroring and refraction.  The viewer is encouraged to interact with the material by changing their position and view to see the work anew.

The making process of the series includes labour intensive techniques that are very personal – it can also be a bit of a lottery as I often take a hammer and chisel to the glass to achieve the raw effects. The weight of the pieces and the highly polished surfaces mean that damage is extremely likely while I’m working on them: glass has a very unforgiving nature.

Scandium (detail), Jochen Ott

Scandium (detail), Jochen Ott

You’ve been selected to exhibit in some special exhibitions in the recent years – what were the stand out shows for you?

I really enjoyed making a completely new series of pieces for ‘Black to White and Back Again’ last year – a collaborative exhibition between London Glassblowing and the Contemporary Glass Society. With the use of colour strictly forbidden, this themed show led me to experiment with different textures and new techniques to produce ‘Anonymities’. I was pleased to be selected for Collect earlier this year at the Saatchi Gallery; this was the show that I first created the ‘Halcyon’ pieces for. I am now developing this series by using different colours of glass and am thrilled to say that I have been chosen to exhibit them at this year’s British Glass Biennale.

You came to London Glassblowing to do some work experience in 2007 and never left! What is it that has kept you here for so long?

The creative exchange at Peter’s studio is unparalleled for me. The energy produced in a place full of such talented and creative individuals is inspiring and humbling to be a part of. Peter is very generous in opening doors for you and providing opportunities – he also pushes you to your full potential with great determination!

Sketches by Jochen Ott

Sketches by Jochen Ott

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