Devyn Ormsby (b. 1993, Masterton) graduated from Elam School of Fine Arts (Auckland University) with first class hons in 2015. Whilst studying, she tried to create artwork that responded to a familiar everyday context. Drawing on experiences from childhood and utilizing resources within the family unit. There was a big focus on creating art through a multi-disciplinary practice, so she has always been intrigued with using various materials, and has never settled on one, but more recently the medium of choice is glass.
Glass is an interesting medium and Devyn is still exploring and learning how she can use it to make art. She attended Pilchuck Glass school in Seattle this winter and has come away with new experiences in working with glass.
Since graduating Devyn has worked in various creative businesses to try and achieve the work/life/art balance and has found this in her current job (since 2017). Working as an artist assistant in a glass studio in Avondale. In this studio she has created her first series of glass artwork.
A series of glass fruit that explores the familiar ornament and re-imagines it in a new form. Through the process of glass casting techniques, Devyn pays homage to the blown glass fruit makers and collectors from the 1960’s.
The light playful approach to everyday fruit is contrasted with the heaviness of the crystal glass. A unique material that catches and reflects light.
Her idea for this project of work, was to reinterpret ornamental displays of fruit that were popular back in the day. Capsicums, Bananas, apples, oranges and grapes hanging in baskets, sitting on kitchen tables or windowsills, that you come across in op shops now.
They would be made from various materials; plastic, lucite, glass or wood which would usually be light, simplistic and exaggerated in form. Devyn wanted to cast fruit true to the original with as much detail as possible accompanied by the weight of crystal glass. To show the familiar texture of the dimpled mandarin and the smoothness of a pear.
A familiar everyday object worthy of contemplation that opens up the conversation around our relationship we have with objects and what they mean to us.
Firstly, casting the fruit using a lost wax casting process, Devyn begins by make a silicone mould of the original object and from which she is able to make wax replicas. The next step is to fettle the wax, filling holes and removing any seams, making it suitable to make into a glass copy. Once that is done, she builds a contour mould around the wax. This is made up of many layers of a plaster/silica mix which is built around the shape of the fruit. Once that has set, the wax is steamed out and you are left with a hollow copy of the original. After this you dry the mould and load into a kiln upside down. Glass sits above the opening (in terracotta pot plant) where over 1 – 2 days melts down and fills the hollow. This will make up the solid glass object.
Her favourite part of the process follows, which is called divesting. It is where you carefully break through the layers of plaster/silica mix (now brittle) and reveal the glass object inside. This is the most satisfying and rewarding part. Seeing that all the previous steps and time spent weren’t in vain. Sometimes, things can go wrong along the process and the glass might not fully form.
After the glass has been divested the next stage is cold working. This involves water with a diamond saw to cut off the sprue (a funnel type shape to allow glass to flow into mould), belt sanding to polish, dremelling to sign and remove any flashings or goitres.
Then from there its clean, shine and package and they’re done! A time consuming process, but Devyn loves it.