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Play often gets lost in adulthood and yet the benefits of such activity don't stop at a particular age. The activity releases endorphins making us feel happy and stress free.
Big Wheels is based around a photograph of me and my siblings in Montreal Canada 1975. The photograph cements my memories of that period in my life where the world was made much larger and exciting with the opportunity of travel at such a young age. Possibilities were limitless and family life was uncomplicated and fulfilling. My brother and sisters would race on our big wheels for hours at a time in the driveway only stopping for the occasional grazed knee or elbow. Big Wheels speaks to me about fearlessness, adventure and ambition. The piece also embodies my intent for more play in the studio and in the way I unfold my creative ideas. After over 20 years of developing my skills as a full time glass blower it has been a thrill and pleasure to apply them to works that embody with nostalgia a carefree life and clear optimism.
The immobile glass toy in all its transparency may appear as a memory and reminder of how play has shaped all of us. The iconic image of this toy - a trigger or portal back to the time where we all really lived in the moment and where imagination did run free. Big Wheels is very much from that moment in time - so different to the realities of today's world where fear and anxieties plague our ability to be and to interact with others.
When I am making the Ghost Toy Series in the hot shop studio the space becomes my playground, my tools are my toys and the glass is my very hot play dough. I worked with a team of 6 people to create this piece which is assembled by hot joining pre-formed components.
I began my career as a glass blower and artist in 1997 when I started my study of hot glass at Monash University Melbourne. I graduated with first class Honours in 2001 and received the Pilchuck Scholarship, The DWRodgers award and the Drawing Award in recognition of my final work. In 2002 I established my own studio in Melbourne which also offered access to other glass blowers and artists. I have been a finalist twice in the prestigious Ranamok Glass Prize and have large scale installation works in public and private spaces internationally. My work is also held in the Australian Art Glass collection in Wagga Wagga, NSW.
After closing my studio after 15 years I moved to New Zealand with my husband in 2016 and since then have continued my practice working from New Zealand Glassworks in Whanganui. During my time in New Zealand I have participated in various Exhibitions both here and in Australia. My CV, attached to this email has a comprehensive listing of these achievements.
Philip Stokes is one of Australasia's leading contemporary glass artists and now spends his time between Melbourne Australia and New Zealand, refining, expanding and exploring the craft of glass.
Big Wheels 2022 (Ghost Toy Series)
Solid formed and Sculpted Hot Glass.
Dimensions: H34cm X W32 cm X D41 cm