GLASS LIVES INTERVIEW:
Glass Point

Glass Point Co-Director, Ieva Zemite in conversation with North Lands Creative Director Karen Phillips.

PROJECT Partner 

 

1. Please tell us about your organization and what is your main focus in the ISGNE project?

Glass Point is an open-concept glass design studio, created as a workspace for glass artists and sales platform for locally made glass art products from the Baltics. Studio offers a pre-made design glassware, but mainly take orders for custom pieces. Our aim is to make the medium of glass more accessible to a non-arts audience, educating and inspiring a wider public to discover glass art. ISGNE project helps us to reach wider audience, to mark our studio as serious player in the glass art world and encourage young artists to be more

ambitious.

2. What is your role on the project?

Ieva Zemīte is a member of the Steering Committee, Anna Varnase is a project coordinator.

Glass Point in Berlin, March

3. Why were you interested in being involved in the ISGNE project?

Our interest is to examine creative entrepreneurship ecosystems of entrepreneurs collaborating with glass blowers in Europe, to inquire into the ways in which ecosystem actors are linked and in the ways these links, activities and everyday practices lead to new product and business model development in cross-sectoral frameworks. We are here to blur boundaries among artists, craftsmen, design – makers, entrepreneurs, teachers, curators, project managers, policy makers and glass cultural workers.

4. What have you been looking at through ISGNE so far?

Our network allows us to develop links with glass artists, designer-makers, glass cultural workers, policy makers, entrepreneurs and other actors mentioned before. Glass Point studio successfully arranged two international masterclasses with artists from the USA and China, one transnational workshop and now the international art exhibition is on the way.

5. One of the goals of ISGNE is to use glass to approach certain issues in the project partners’ local communities. Can you share any examples about an artist making an influence on a community?

A good example we can share is a transnational workshop – 48-hour collegiate hackathon at Latgale art and craft centre, Livani (http://www.livanustikls.lv/en/) on April 6-8, 2019. Teams of cultural producers, entrepreneurs, artists and art managers, designers and craftsmen who want to change the world through design and the arts worked together for 48-hours. The aim of the hackathon was to improve access to the arts and to create new ways of using crafts in the design and Livani City council was really satisfied with the final results, which were planned to be implemented.

6. Co-operation is a fundamental aspect of this initiative. Who are you collaborating with and how did this partnership come about?

Glass Point studio is collaborating with Art Academy of Latvia, Latgale Art and Craft centre, Livani City Council, Riga City Council, the Art Museum RIGA BOURSE, NGO’s  – ‘IRMA collaborative’ & ‘RADE’ and well know international artists which are exploring of pluralistic

approaches to creating. Collaboration within the arts can be seen as a playing field for considering complex issues and questions as the arts can encompass all disciplines. Opportunity to involve international artists focusing on glass as a medium integrated with other disciplines includes transitional collaborations. It is important to mention that ISGNE project from our side is financially supported by the Ministry of Culture and the State Culture Capital Foundation of Latvia.’

Glass Point visit Ireland for ISGNE, 2019

Visiting Artist Workshop - Gracia Nash

7. What are the benefits of securing the Creative Europe funding?

The Creative Europe funding is beneficial to get additional support from the Ministry of Culture and the State Culture Capital Foundation of Latvia.

8. How can artists or organisations be involved in your activities on the ISGNE project? What’s coming up?

The exhibition “Voice of Glass Collaborative” involves international artists focusing on glass as a medium integrated with other disciplines including transitional collaborations. Unity and diversity of content is inherent in the works presented. Through interdisciplinary arts the essence of humanity and complexities of social unity and duality can be revealed. Through the dynamic process of collaboration, we hope to discover new forms of experimental hybridization which communicate rich and complex associations. Glass Point studio despite all challenges involves artists and encourages them to create artworks (we provide a technical support) and to participate at as many international occasions they can – exhibitions, art biennales, etc.

9. How important is it to you to be making work internationally and with other European organisations and artists?

It is very important to work internationally.  We couldn’t afford those great visiting artist masterclasses without a support from Creative Europe foundation. It helps us to put our studio on the map of glass art internationally. Also, the exhibition “Voice of Glass Collaborative” gives us a wide international perspective and promotes Latvia as a glass art spot.

10. You communicate with artists and studios in other European countries. What is the prevailing mood currently?

Perseverance. Artists are the ones who always have been working in uncertainty and a pandemic forced them to reevaluate all possibilities for current and future grant recipients. Our friends from Europe, the USA and China have told us that through all this period they have felt the role of art is paramount.

ISGNE Meng Du - Visiting Artist Workshop

11. How are organisations and artists adapting to the new situation?

Mostly artists have their studios and they were able to do their work in their own healthy, safe space and finally had a time for art not only commission works, but, of course, financial situation is quite difficult.

12. The contemporary glass world is built on mobility: artists and their projects are not subjected to national borders, they travel and work in different countries, and their works are exhibited globally. How do you think the international glass scene will change after this crisis?

Artists need this mobility, opened borders and inspirational projects out of their safe studio place. Audience ask for a real time and physically reachable location, they want to sensory experience art. We believe that international glass scene will flourish, when boarders will be opened again.

13. Would you agree that lockdowns have shown us the wider importance of culture: networks, communities and projects help people survive this hard period? What will the new normal look like for your organisation?

During this time people have been actively trying to find ways of contributing to their communities and we also felt that support from our clients, partners and audience. We have been reminded of the role of art to help us express ourselves, boost community morale, show solidarity and make meaning out of our shared experiences. To be honest, our lives in Latvia have been back to normal since September, when schools started a new school year, companies came back from long vacations. You never know for how long time is “normal life” will prolong, but we have to admit that our feelings differ from our friend’s and partner’s thoughts, most them are still experiencing a lockdown.

14. What are your ambitions for the ISGNE project? What’s next?

We would love to identify a system which finds and provides support for a creation of new products and business models with high growth potential. It could help entrepreneurs to create new market opportunities and promote business competitiveness and growth simultaneously safeguarding craftsmanship as intangible cultural heritage.

Ukraine, ISGNE October, 2019

Transnational Workshop Livani 2019

Glass Point in Berlin, March

Creative Europe seminar organised by Latvian Ministry of Culture

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