Glass art – a new form of art is gaining popularity
By Kayi Tsang
Glass is everywhere in our daily life – from utilities to artwork, we can easily find products made of glass. DIY glass workshops are also gaining popularity all over the world. Wong Kwok-chong, 56, is a glass making artist who teaches people how to make beautiful glass products.
Wong first learnt about glass art through the Studio Glass Movement originated in the United States in the 1970s. After acquiring the glass making techniques in Taiwan, he decided to set up a glass studio in Hong Kong for glass art fans in the city in 1993.
As the first glass studio in Hong Kong, Wong aims to promote glass art through workshops, glass restoration, consultation services and art work exhibitions. He describes the making of glass as “very flexible and ever-changing”. Different temperatures result in different colours and shapes of the glass work. “The unimaginable beauty of glass art fascinates me,” he says. Wong says glass making nowadays is more than just blowing glass near the furnace.
Different kinds of glasses, including cold glass, warm glass and hot glass can be produced. Each of them has distinctive processing features such as polishing, bonding, fusing, slumping and casting. It provides more possibilities and variations for artists to create their own unique artwork.
Apart from producing glass art, Wong also specialises in glass restoration. “Restoration takes time. Before doing so, you need to understand the materials first,” he says. Even though the techniques used in repairing glass art are more complicated, Wong finds it both challenging and meaningful.
Wong says he helped restore Italian painted glass windows of the Haw Par Mansion, a historical building built in 1935. It took his team over four months to restore 20 glass windows which were destroyed by bombing in the World War II. In order to restore the mansion to its original shape, Wong and his team had to find materials that match the style of architecture of that time, which made the task more challenging.
Though Wong has made great effort to promote glass making in Hong Kong, he admits that glass art is still not widely recognised by the public. “Glass art is more like an obscure and underground art,” he says. “Glass is widely seen as an installation decoration, but not a form of fine arts.”
Glass production requires huge investment and space for equipment storage, which makes it difficult for the trade to develop in Hong Kong. Wong points out government policies are introduced to encourage consumers to purchase glass art products to boost the glass art market in South Korea. Hong Kong, however, does not have such kind of policies and the market is niche.
But Wong says he will strive to promote the art despite the challenges. “We will focus more on art creation and hold regular exhibitions in the future,” he says.
Want to make your own unique glass art? Pay a visit to the Studio Glass Hong Kong at L0-04 Jockey Club Creative Arts Centre at 30 Pak Tin Street, Shek Kip Mei or go to their website for more details.
Edited by Edith Chung