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January 2009


MEET THE DESIGNER

Kanik Chung
By Annette M. Rose-Shapiro

A GLASSBLOWER ADMITS THAT HIS LOVE OF GLASS STARTED WITH HIS BOYHOOD PYROMANIA

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Why do you work in glass? I blow glass because it's fun and I enjoy using the material. I love that the process hasn't changed in over 2,000 years and it's exciting to try to innovate within it. And, like most glassblowers, I'm a bit of a pyromaniac! Are there any special challenges working in this medium? Glass is a very expensive material to use-the cost of gas, materials, maintaining a studio. That can be very limiting, and blown glass cannot be replicated in other materials. Glassblowing is physically demanding and the learning process if very lengthy. It takes many years to master the techniques. You create sculpture, lighting, tabletop and more. Do you have a preference for one particular area? I prefer sculpture, but all my other forms are educated by my idea of sculpture. Form, color, proportion-the process is really the same no matter what I'm creating. What inspires you? Visual art, like sculpture and paintings, but even movies and music inspire me. I'm most influenced by the Modernists—Brancusi, Henry Moore, Tony Smith and their ideas about how they use materials.[Image]What approach do you take with your clients? When I first meet a client—it could be a homeowner in Connecticut wanting a chandelier or a jeweler needing a display fixture—I think of it as an interview. I ask lots of questions, trying to get a feel for what the client wants. Do they have a specific idea, or do they want direction from me? Sometimes, a client might want me to dictate the design with no input other than size or color. How did you develop the concept of the tablescape? It's not the usual tabletop arrangement! I brought several different ideas to the tablescape-architecture, floral arranging, a sculpture garden. I enjoy making vessels and I enjoy the space between them. I want to entertain the eye and calm the mind. I know in advance which shapes I want to use and the overall size. As I work, it arranges itself. It's like writing a poem-you add words, take some out, interchange others. Has anyone been had an influence on your work? Yes, I greatly admire Lino Tagliapietra and Pino Signoretti. Their level of technique is higher than anyone else, and they really know the material. Which artists would you invite to dinner? Giorgio Morandi, Ina Hesse and Josef Beuys. They all had new ways of using their chosen material and, like me, an appreciation and respect for it. Describe your dream client? Me! If I had unlimited time and money to blow glass, I would design a line just for myself.

ENJOY GREAT DESIGN

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