Favourite Things: Founders of Monmouth Glass Studio

The founders of Monmouth Glass Studio see design as a way of life


Stephen Bradbourne and Isaac Katzoff founders of Monmouth Glass Studio. Picture / Guy Coombes.

Stephen Bradbourne and Isaac Katzoff founded Monmouth Glass Studio in 2013. They craft bespoke pendant lights, glasses and carafes using traditional glassblowing techniques and both maintain an individual art practice that sees them create more intricate works.

“I think design is at the core of what it is to be human. Humans love to make stuff. It’s what we do, and design is the study of that; what do we make? Why? How do we make it?” says Isaac, who has a solo exhibition titled Made Up opening at Masterworks Gallery on August 2.

Stephen found his way into glassblowing after studying a Diploma in Craft Design at the-then Carrington Polytechnic (now Unitec), where he majored in ceramics and became hooked on vessel making.

Isaac has a Bachelor of Fine Arts in painting and extended his practice with a postgraduate diploma that focused on the history of studio glassblowing in New Zealand.

With a combined 40 years of glassblowing experience, Monmouth is flying the flag for the type of craftsmanship that takes years to hone. The pair hope to grow the company to a point where they can bring other glassblowers on board, allowing more time to focus on research, development and nurture the creative side of their practice.

MY FAVOURITE THINGS

Chemex coffee maker; Bespoke kitchen cabinets; Crystal Chain Gang cast glass. Pictures / Guy Coombes.

1. Chemex coffee maker
Stephen: I’d be lost without this, I use it every day without thinking about it. It’s simple in design and use, has no moving parts, is totally reliable and looks great on the kitchen bench.

2. Bespoke kitchen cabinets
Stephen: These were hand-made to my specifications by cabinet maker Cameron Grey. It’s the perfect spot to house all my handmade functional bowls, plates and cups. The kitchen is my favourite spot in the house — I really enjoy cooking for family and friends so, when I’m home, this is my happy place.

3. Crystal Chain Gang cast glass
Stephen: I have many pieces of art and objects made by friends. These wonderful pieces of cast glass art stand out to me: the Crystal Chain Gang has a totally unique and fresh approach in terms of technique and subject matter, rarely seen in New Zealand cast glass.

1952 Cadillac rear tail light; 1974 BMW R75/6. Pictures / Guy Coombes.

4. 1952 Cadillac rear tail light
Isaac: I found this at a swap meet in San Diego years ago. I love this not because it is a car part but because of what it represents. It symbolises an era of design, building and manufacture that is really significant to me, a rich post-war era during which design and material were really important. This tail light is press-cast from solid red glass and would have been fixed with a chrome bezel which, I’m sure, if you found in a junkyard somewhere would still be gleaming against the rusted body of a huge Cadillac.

5. 1974 BMW R75/6
Isaac: I have owned motorcycles, many of them, since I was 15. The BMW is a bike I have always wanted and I finally got one a year or so ago. I’ve redesigned it a bit, added my own touch. That is what I love about it. The base is over 40 years old but the design, the simplicity of the engine and everything is genius. I’ve tweaked a few things from original, stripped it back and added my own aesthetic touches.

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