Jochen Holz is a glass-maker who specialises in lampworking. From his studio in Stratford, East London, he transforms durable, prefabricated tubes of glass into one-off items by melting the tubes over a torch. Each piece of molten glass is then given a unique shape and texture through the use of bespoke tools. Holz also makes neon installations in collaboration with Richard Wheater. His work is sold in Europe, the US and South Korea, and is available in the UK at The New Craftsmen and Flow Gallery.
From left to right:
Neon table light
This is an all-glass wobbly light that is completely freestanding. Normal lights wouldn’t hold themselves like this does. I am trying to explore the idea of neon as a light object in itself. The thickness and undulations of the glass gives the light it’s shadow. With a normal neon light, you wouldn’t realise this.
I sometimes roll and press molten glass into the surface of this cheese grater to create these indentations. To my knowledge, it’s a technique nobody else uses. It has something to do with giving the glass uniqueness and getting away from the idea that glass has to be a pristine material. I like to make each object different, to muck about. I don’t treat it too much as a precious thing.
I make all of my decisions during the making process. Some of the processes I use don’t allow for regularly, and this vase is an example of that. Working with chance procedure enables you to have a relationship with an object in a way that you couldn’t if it were mass produced. You can find your own way of holding it, or drinking from it. This is where craft comes in. There is necessarily repetition involved in what I do which is why I try to make objects that develop and shift along the way – it enables me to stay fresh. Of course, I have years of experience with the material and the repetitiveness of working with glass, but I try and stay in a creative atmosphere within that.
I first came to glass-making through technical college in Germany, where I studied lamp engineering and design for three years. Because I have this technical background, all of my work begins as these 150cm tubes – I don’t melt the glass myself. The coloured glass is from China, the clear glass from the Czech Republic or Germany. This glass is mainly used in a scientific context, for making laboratory equipment or bongs in America. Working with this material gives me more freedom to work like a potter, attaching coloured pieces to clear vessels. Function is important, but I also want to emphasise the liquid form of glass, to keep this frozen-molten state visible in the finished pieces. It’s here, at this intersection of design, craft and art that I’m most happy.
I came to Britain to work in a commercial glass workshop before enrolling at the Edinburgh College of Art. This is a piece I made for my degree show – part of a bigger installation that featured a display of chemical-inspired pieces. I broke the neck off the bottle and sealed it inside the bottom of the vessel.
These belong to my partner, Attua Aparicio, who is one half of Silo Studio. We exhibited together at SEE••DS Gallery for the Martino Gampo with Friends exhibition. Showing my work in this context with different makers, designers and artists made me feel excited about making work again. I could make things as I wanted to make them.