In conversation with HotHaus

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The alchemy of glassblowing

21 March 2024

In this conversation with the founders of HotHaus, Amanda Dziedzic and Laurel Kohut, we dive into the origins, inspirations, and future aspirations of their glassblowing studio, capturing their journey in the world of glass art. 

How did your experiences at Monash University and the Jam Factory in Adelaide shape the foundation of HotHaus, and how do they continue to influence your work today? 

Monash introduced us to glassblowing, but it was the Jam that taught us how to blow glass. It not only showed us the technique but also taught us how to work as a team, develop our own glass language, and exposed us to a plethora of different artists and makers. It opened our eyes to the importance of community and, most importantly, gave us a strong work ethic as practising artists. It is this work ethic that we now bring into our own studio, HotHaus. 

Can you describe the creative synergy between the two of you, and how this drives your artistic process? 

Laurel and I have worked together for over 10 years now and have developed a unique working relationship, benefiting from shared training and a production background. We complement each other, rounding out what the other lacks. After working together for so long, we know exactly what each other needs, making a challenging job easier with that familiarity to rely on. 

Your studio motto is 'good design, good glass, good times.' How do these elements come together in your work and the atmosphere at HotHaus? 

First and foremost, we honour good design. Without it, everything else is bound to fail. We pride ourselves on creating 'good glass’, and at the end of the day, if you're not enjoying yourself, you're doing it wrong! This is our life. We pour our whole selves into our work because we want it to succeed, but we also aim to enjoy the process. Life is too short not to. 

Amanda, your work is heavily inspired by the natural world. Could you expand on how elements from nature inspire your glass designs? 

I like looking to the natural world for inspiration and enjoy crafting it into glass. The natural world offers so much: color, texture, form, etc. There is so much beauty to be discovered and highlighted. I also appreciate its universal appeal. It can delight both a small child and a grown adult simultaneously. Nature is joy in its purest form. It refreshes me and lifts me up when I need it the most; the natural world is my constant. 

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Laurel, your recent works have a Victorian gothic influence. How does this historical and emotional theme shape your glass art? 

The Victorian Gothic influence is actually a misconception of my work. As an object maker, my fascination lies in the attachments people form with objects in their lives, particularly jewellery, due to its personal and sentimental value. I wanted to explore jewellery in a different way—scaling up the objects so that the viewer could at once recognise the form but also ponder the nature of preciousness and perhaps the meaning of their own keepsakes. 

Teaching glassblowing is a significant aspect of HotHaus. What do you find most rewarding about introducing newcomers to this craft, and why is community so important in the world of glass art? 

There is a lot of excitement around glassblowing, including students eager to fulfil their dream of shaping glass. Guiding them through this process is a privilege, as we witness their joy in crafting their first piece. Community support has been very important for us, especially during our initial fundraiser for our furnace, where donors received a handblown paperweight. This overwhelming support helped us to succeed. Now, with our studio and classes, we can return the favour and help our creative community flourish. 

With both of you having over 20 years of experience in glassblowing, what continues to excite and challenge you in this art form, and what future projects or directions are you looking forward to exploring? 

The material of glass itself remains a source of endless fascination for us artists. The thrill of achieving the perfect starter bubble never fades; little things matter in glassblowing. Continuous learning is vital, allowing us to refine our craft and develop our unique glass language. 

Our next big project on the horizon is the launch of our very own lighting range. We are so excited to see these ideas finally come to fruition; it has been a long time coming. We will be launching our lighting range as part of Melbourne Design Week in May.

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