Glass artist Janet Kininmonth is featured at The Gallery in Mogo for the rest of September and October.
Working from her home studio and workshop on Old Princes Highway, Janet creates her glass pieces in a kiln heated up to almost 800 celsius. At a slightly cooler temperature, gravity will start to slump melting glass over a mould; while at the higher temperature glass can fuse together to create brilliant, multi-coloured pieces.
“I love working with the rich, fluid nature of glass, capturing its ‘free flowingness’, and at a moment in time,” she said.
Basically a practical person, Janet creates work emphasising functionality and geometric type designs. This is apparent in the cool, clean forms and purity of colour of the small bowls, larger platters, clock faces, jewellery and accessories which make up most of her collection.
But sometimes the imaginative side of her creative process takes over.
In a recent exhibition she presented illuminated ‘aquarium’ pieces emulating the forms of plant and animal life found on local underwater reefs and the seabed – including seaweeds, algae, shells, starfish, and sea urchins.
Even as a child Janet was fascinated with glass.
“I used to love watching glass blowers in the shopping malls making those miniature animals,” she said.
Originally from the South Coast, Janet had the advantage of artistic parents. Her father is a potter and her mother a dressmaker and designer.
“I was always into art, playing with paint – I tried pottery with my dad and sketching. He was incredible and could turn his hand at any craft or art technique that attracted him.”
So naturally Janet went into finance – and she was good at it, being appointed the first female manager of a large Canberra bank.
Then one day, while walking through the city’s ‘Handmade Market’, she came upon the stall of glass artist and teacher, Judy Witherdin, and her love of the medium was rekindled.
Later, with her father she joined a kiln-making workshop and made the kiln she still uses.
“I originally used to give my glass pieces away, but friends suggested I sell them so I started to go to markets myself.”
Janet moved to Batemans Bay just two years ago with husband Steve.
Still some distance from retirement herself, she is busier than ever, working from home in the recruitment industry as she awaits to see what masterpiece or creative disaster emerges from a cooling kiln.
“I love the moment you lift the lid to see what’s transpired during the firing, it’s a bit like baking – lots of trial and error – you really get to know your kiln.”
The Gallery is a co-operative venture of CABBI, a society open to local arts and crafts practitioners. People interested in finding out more about CABBI should drop in to The Gallery or phone 02 4474 2243.