Connectivity in Diversity
Fiona Rennie Schwieters
Fiona Rennie Schwieters was born in Wanganui, New Zealand, in 1961.
BVA 1996, in sculpture, AUT, Auckland.
She became a glass artist thanks to a visit to Italy in 2000. She notched and chiseled for a decade, realizing her dream of working with the marble of Pietra Santa. Inspired by bronze works created and displayed in the city, she returned to New Zealand to learn more about lost-wax casting.
She took a course on casting with David Reid at the Studio Gallery in 2001, which brought her to share a studio with Sam Ireland and Greg Smith. Thanks to this she was able to convey her creative talent to a variety of disciplines relative to glasswork. Her experimentation in the medium continues and her willingness to go beyond the frontiers of normal practices have distinguished her as an innovator.
Fiona opened her studio in 2005 and learned lampwork from Peter Viesniek. She has developed a unique process and technique that combines elements of lampwork and casting, producing interesting and innovative works of art. Fiona derives inspiration from the lush abundance of nature, from the indigenous culture of Aotearoa, New Zealand, and from myths of origins and related narratives.
Emotion resides in the conception and mixture of the colours that emerge from the alchemy of heat, liberating the form of the glass from its refractory properties and polishing the surfaces with colour and light.
The artist about her work:
“I love the slow moving liquid alchemy of glass. I am fully conversant with the techniques and processes of sculpting with glass billets, frits and rods; working with warm wax: pouring hot wax into silicon moulds, fettling, spruing, refractory mould making, steaming out, filling, firing, annealing. Then chipping plaster from the glass form , sandblasting , grinding and polishing . Each successful piece of glass has eleven processes in its creation and there is risk at every stage. It is very exciting to release the form from the refractory material and then polish its secrets into colour and light.”