Making art from glass is time-consuming. It is an undertaking that can unfold over hours, but more often takes place over days, weeks, or even months. A great music playlist can be essential to keeping focused and staying creative. These playlists were the starting point for our exhibition Out of the Vault: Soundtracks. MOG Curator Katie Buckingham sat down with Scott Chaseling to learn more about his work in the exhibition and his creative process.

KB: I was hoping we could begin by talking about 99 Bottles and your 2013 residency at Museum of Glass.

SC: My residency at MOG, was held during your exhibition Links: Australian Glass and the Pacific Northwest. This was my first time at MOG, and it was what I would call a FIFO (fly-in-fly-out) experience. The day before the residency, I entered the Hot Shop and was awestruck by the place. During my week with your amazing team, we only made one piece, and, by the end, I was smashed. At the end, I entered my hotel room and was exhausted. I think I had a cry on all day! The sculpture we made, titled 99 Bottles, has become a seminal piece in my career. It is made of 99 colored glass tubes stacked within a metal frame. I was aiming to make a doorway or threshold. People subjectively talk about a liminal space (a term that defines a threshold or transition place between to places), and rarely give it state of being. With 99 Bottles, I aim to show liminal space and use the varying viewpoints through the tubes to create many narrative possibilities.

KB:  I would love to hear about your playlist.

SC: The music I used listen to was a random collage from my computer hard drive. I put this list together a few years ago, for the party night before my wedding. It is quite eclectic across decades, styles, and genre. I play it in my studio, and there always seems to be a few songs that appeal to the glass makers. I have not really thought about it before, but I suppose it does represent myself and my practice. I work with glass by blowing, hot-sculpting, casting, painting, and fusing, creating a mixed bag of styles.

KB: Where do you make your work?

SC: A good question – I think this is the first time I could truly say “in my studio.” For the first time in my life, I have chosen to stay, live, and work in one place for longer than four years. I have always moved around, taking my practice nationally and internationally, learning and making as I went, living the life of an art pilgrim, or perhaps more like an old European journeyman. Now, I am very happily set up with a studio about a 15-minute walk from my home in the beautiful Southern Highlands, just south of Sydney, Australia.

KB: What about your studio space helps your creative process?

SC: I feel it is the other way around. It is more that my creative process has informed my studio space. My building looks like an industrial unit from the outside, and, whilst containing all the tools and machinery necessary for my work, it is filled with many large indoor plants. They bring a sense of home to a space filled with heavy metal.

KB: Where do you look for inspiration?

SC: Wouldn’t it be nice to say, “I don’t have to look…inspiration is already there”? [laughs] I do believe inspiration comes from what appeals to us, be it reporting to get the truth out of politics, or being amused by the way our footsteps on the sand of a beach are softened by the incoming tide. What appeals to me and gives me inspiration is the everyday. Nothing grand or life-changing, just the infinite amounts of little moments! From my fused blown vessels, which are made of thousands of bits of cut glass, to my glass tube and ring sculptures (also made of many pieces), I construct from the many to create the one. I am inspired by many parts of a day, week, or year that make one life.

KB: How do you push through a creative block?

SC: Ha, this question makes me laugh. The creative block you are asking about is probably pointed towards a cerebral or imaginative moment. My creative block occurs due to lack of resources. I have so many ideas, just not enough time, money, material, or assistance. This is why my residency at Museum of Glass was such a turning point in my work. Without the residency, I never would have created something as complex as 99 Bottles. Such an amazing opportunity should not be used to create an ongoing series. I would rather push myself into new areas not conceivable on my own.

KB: How was your creative process impacted by the pandemic?

SC: I realize there is a lot of loss, past and present, with the pandemic. Many artists suffered loss of family and friends. Many are still suffering financially through lack of sales and exhibitions, along with growing energy costs globally. And yet, at the same time, I had solace in stasis. The inability to travel gave me more time to focus on and appreciate what was around me. I spent every day in my studio, and even started a tangential practice of “rescuing” glass bottles from landfill. I started a business with my wife called Small Impact Studio (formally studio onefive) that reforms locally-sourced wine bottles into homewares and jewelry.

KB: What’s on the horizon for you and your work?

SC: Small Impact Studio is growing much faster than we thought. There is a great demand for products that are environmentally- and sustainably-informed with good design. I was thinking that starting this new studio would be a way of building my man-cave, but I think now we’ve created a beautiful monster. On the subject of my artwork, I can’t really say what’s on the horizon. I am so incredibly fortunate to have lived a life as an artist that has allowed me to travel the world, meet amazing people, and create work solely for me. Now, with the pandemic still around us, I have slowed to a wonderful point in life that allows me to not stress about shipping schedules, customs taxes, or writing another f*cking artist statement!

Check out Scott Chaseling’s playlist on Spotify, and visit us at Museum of Glass to see more of our collection featured in Out of the Vault: Soundtracks.

About The Artist:
Scott Chaseling has traveled widely, developing new works in new locations through teaching, residencies, and workshops. An Australian artist, he has used glass as his primary medium for over 30 years. His work often combines many visual aesthetics, styles, techniques, and concepts to create traditionally-shaped vases with contemporary colors and designs.

Chaseling’s work is featured in Out of the Vault: Soundtracks, currently on display at Museum of Glass and open through June 18, 2023.

  1. Scott Chaseling during his 2013 residency at Museum of Glass. Photo courtesy of the artist.
  2. Scott Chaseling (Australian, born 1962). 99 Bottles, made at the Museum 2013. Mold-blown glass, assembled; steel frame. 80 × 31 × 22 in. (203.2 × 78.7 × 55.9 cm). Collection of Museum of Glass, Tacoma, Washington, gift of the artist. Photo by Duncan Price.
  3. Photo courtesy of the artist.
  4. Photo courtesy of the artist.
  5. Photo courtesy of the artist.
  6. Photo courtesy of the artist.

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