This award was kindly supported by the David Collins Foundation.
Jochen Holz is a glass artist whose innovative employment of lampworking–a form of glassblowing used primarily to make scientific equipment–is repurposing the technique in the art world. Indeed, whilst he has received training in scientific lampworking, Holz has chosen to practice it creatively, a radical departure from its traditional usage which positions him as one of the only people working in his field in the UK.
Through extensive practice, Holz has developed a distinct language in his craft. One example is his method for texturing clear glass tubes by pressing molten areas onto different surfaces such as perforated metal or wood, resulting in textured, undulating tableware. Always pushing perceived ideas of his material, Holz sees this tableware series–enriched with character, shape and history–as the antithesis of Walter Benjamin’s idea that glass is a ‘material with no aura’.
His work with neon is similarly original. Examining the possibilities of sculptural lighting, he bypasses the conventional thin, wall-mounted lamps and opts instead for thick borosilicate glass tubing to create free-standing 3D shapes.
Holz has developed work in a range of contexts from fashion jewellery for Peter Pilotto’s AW17 show to gallery work with See-ds (London, 2017) and numerous design fairs such as Cumuliform at Nomad Monaco (Monaco, 2017) and Miami Basel (Miami, 2016). He has taught lampworking around the world from experimental research program RoboGlass (University of Taipei, Taiwan, 2014) to From 2d to 3D (Domaine de Boisbuchet, France, 2014) and London’s Festival of Stuff (UEL, 2016).