Greg Swinburne's glass art has been capturing attention for some time now. He recently moved into a new studio / showroom at 21 Lowther St and he's having an open day this Friday.
With help from artist colleague Katie Brown, Greg has organised the space in his showroom to display his work to its best advantage.
"It's a showroom, not a gallery," he says. Behind the big white partition is his large workshop, with grinders, bench areas, a kitchen, a furnace, loads of floor space and plenty of work in progress.
Greg was born in Whanganui, attending Tawhero School, Rutherford Intermediate and Boys' College. He's had a few jobs since leaving school.
"I've managed a farm, stuff like that, and ended up in Whangarei, working in the glazing industry," he says. "I was wearing myself out for not very good wages, so a friend suggested I study art as something different."
The friend had seen Greg's sandblasted art on glass and could see he had talent.
"I went to Northland Polytech to study glass, and they canned the programme!" He eventually graduated in sculpture then returned to Whanganui to complete a Bachelor's degree.
"I came into the glass programme here for a couple of years."
Greg has a Diploma in Applied Arts (Sculpture).
"I've got most of a Bachelor in Fine Arts and I've got a couple of units in a Diploma in Glass Design and Production."
Having been in business for a few years, he can do anything.
After graduating in Whanganui about 16 years ago he went from being a student to hiring the Hot Shop and grinding at home.
"I used to hire their cold working facilities, then I built a grinder and a few other machines."
Greg grew the business, working from home mostly, keeping afloat with odd jobs, like delivering bread and doing a bit of driving for various organisations. Greg's work is distinctive and well-known to art enthusiasts everywhere.
"I tend to think sculpturally," he says. "That might be a natural thing and why I graduated in sculpture." Although much of his work is based on "vessels", he sees them as a sculptural interpretation of such.
"Hot glass is addictive. But I've brought through a lot of things I've previously done into my hot glass work ... the polishing process I use is probably from doing flat glass.
"It's interesting to see people from different backgrounds work in glass. If somebody had been a painter or photographer they'll somehow get imagery into their glass. I quite like showing people how to use the tools, then just leaving them. They'll figure out their own processes and their own ways of doing things. They'll come up with something new."
Greg has been in his Lowther St studio for six months and wants to be open for the summer.
"I'll be open a couple of days a week right through until Open Studios." The studio will be open from 10am to 3pm on Fridays and Saturdays, other times by appointment.
Open day, 21 Lowther St (next to Stevo's Distributors), Friday, November 29, 10am-6.30pm. Refreshments after 4pm.