Evelyn Dunstan

As artists our singular concern is to express the influences that compel us to create, but as humans we must look for common concerns, connections to our fellow human beings, our shared spaces, our environment, our humanity.

The cast glass I first envisioned was initially subdued by the influence of existing styles, techniques and the preconceived limitations of what was possible with the medium, but conceptually influences came from art history, metal, glass, ceramics and my immediate environment. Lifestyle and passions combined with the interaction of connections and relationships seemed important, looking back, as much as moving forward, held sway.

The form of a vessel, an amphora, a challis, a tea pot, speak to me of containment of ideas, a method of moving ideas from one place to another, the structural integrity and genetic character through vines and leaves crossing over, life supporting life, being supported, a progression of cycles through the seasons of time, common concerns that connect us all, woven, transparent, fragile, in need of protecting.

Evelyn works from her home studio in Auckland, New Zealand.

Coming from 25 years in commercial art – primarily illustration, design, graphics in the advertising, photography, publishing and print industries, the last 13 as the art director for a publishing company.

Combining a full time career with raising 4 children meant interests were woven into life: agriculture, horticulture and sculpture combined through landscaping and learning the inherent qualities of ‘making’ materials and a life long passion with clay. The need to develop her own expression through art and more family time resulted in the change of career to a full time sculptural artist in 2002 with a drive to learn new materials and skills. Stained glass lead to where she found her niche with lost-wax glass casting in 2003 – her ultimate sculptural medium, combining colour with light, depth and dimension and an endless source of possibilities and technical challenges.

From her beginning in glass she avoided the status quo in terms of direction, technique and subject matter. Being initially unaware of existing glass and artists and working in isolation set her apart with what she wanted to create and how, allowing her work to take on its own direction without preconceived limitations or influence.

Selected for a year long casting course in 2004 introduced her to other artists, and involvement in the glass community through being the editor for NZSAG from 2006 producing the quarterly glass magazine and then a book on NZ glass artists in 2010.

Evelyn enjoys passing on her unique approach to the lost-wax process teaching in New Zealand from 2006 and overseas since 2011. The stimulation and interaction of other artists ideas and challenges is a time to learn, develop and share new approaches. Collaborations and attending other workshops has furthered her knowledge and in different glass mediums: fusing, engraving, sandblasting, painting, flamework, hot casting and glassblowing along with attending NZSAG (NZ) Ausglass (Australia) and GAS (USA) conferences.

Her work is displayed in public and private collections around the world. She participates in selected and invited exhibitions and along with a fair share of national awards, had 10 works selected for The Ranamok Glass Prize since 2005, which she was awarded in 2007.

Exploring the qualities of locally made Gaffer crystal through modifying materials, techniques and methods has allowed her to take advantage of the creative freedom for conceptual vision and innovation that the lost-wax process encourages. Aimed at capturing what she wanted: the ability to cast fine and complex intricate detail and textures and control colour placement – a reflection of her own personality and expression other thoughts.
A passion for her surrounding environment with a strong focus on ecological concerns influence a methodology throughout the work and making process, with the challenge of what is physically possible working solo in a small studio and using a language that speaks of our connections, visualised through the characteristics of flora and fauna, her focus continues to be in developing the ideas that also encompass researching methods and experimenting with techniques further.

Evelyn Dunstan is represented by Sandra Ainsley Gallery, located in Toronto, the leading contemporary glass art gallery in Canada.