Mary Bryan (2007, Feb 14). Elton John’s buying our glass. NZ Herald. www.nzherald.co.nz
ELTON JOHN has commissioned Wanganui glass artist Claudia Borella to make a replica of one of her works, a fused glass boat-like form, Transference.
The megastar was in Sydney last year when he saw the work in the Sabbia Gallery but it had been sold. He immediately commissioned a similar work and bought another of Ms Borella’s pieces, Keyhole, which is hand-painted fused glass.
“It is a great honour to have Elton John, who is a glass collector, buy and commission work. Usually an artist does not know who buys their work when it is sold through a gallery,” Ms Borella said.
Elton’s endorsement of her work coincided with an exhibition she had at the American Bullseye Glass Company’s Gallery in Oregon. Titled Passage from New Zealand, three pieces from it were selected for an exhibition at London’s Victoria and Albert’s Museum gallery. That exhibition has work from 100 galleries throughout the world.
An Australian of Italian descent, Ms Borella set up her Wanganui studio in 2005 after teaching for three and a-half years at the Whanganui Ucol’s glass department. “It was a big decision for me to remain in Wanganui, but Wanganui’s environment is inspirational. I also get inspired travelling around New Zealand.
“And in light of how the community and the Wanganui Chronicle has stood up for the glass school, (which Ucol wanted to close) and if it continues to do so, we will have a exciting, vibrant glass scene here, but if they don’t the city risks losing a lot more, including the Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree.”
One of the Wanganui’s advantages, she said, was its small population, which made it possible for businesses and reputations to grow faster than in larger centres. She noted the Bullseye Glass Company, which she is a distributor for is heavily involved with Canberra’s Glass Centre. Ms Borella did a degree in industrial design, specialising in furniture at Canberra University and the Milan European Institute of Design and a honours degree in glass at the Australian University’s Institute of Arts.
She first came to Wanganui in 2000 to tutor in the Wanganui Polytechnic Summer School’s glass course and the following year took up a fulltime position as one of the Diploma in Glass Design and Production and Batchelor of Fine Arts Degree tutors, resigning in 2004.