Area of Interest: Hot Glass, Mixed Media.
Whilst differing perspectives exist, the artist Stephen Skillitzi has often been credited with being "the Father of Australian Studio Glass".
His artistic aspiration: become an innovative solo maker in the Crafts Movement, focusing firstly on Clay then Glass, was initiated 55 uninterrupted years ago in 1960 at age 13 via his homemade solo-use electric-kiln and ceramics studio.
His diverse ongoing career embraced
1/ Academia:-studying//lecturing/demonstrating/course initiating/mentoring.. both in USA (1967-1970) and Australia 1970 to present);
2/ Glass (blown and/or cast: for exhibition, corporate, home-wares projects and commissions);
3/ Non-commercial (street theatre/performance, environmental installations, playable mixed-media games).
Following his brief pioneering involvement in the 1960’s U.S.A. university-centered Glass ‘renaissance’ he returned to Sydney to establish the very first independent furnace-focussed Glass Studio in Australia springing from a 4/1971 Craft Board grant (its first for Glass). Obviously other mainstream glass products,techniques and factory traditions were already in place.
As prophesied by Skillitzi, other craft-artists have fundamentally matured and broadened the nation’s Studio Glass profile propelling it into justified international prominence.... eclipsing its humble 'Studio' origins of 1971.
That multi-faceted aussie Glass history (which has come to dominate the Crafts scene) was
1/ outlined by Skillitzi, his scholarly paper is online, but presented at the 2009 conference of Ausglass, the 'backbone' association supporting aussie glass activities since 1978... Skillitzi has attended every bi-annual conference;
2/ documented by him in the "Eminent Persons Program" archived at the National Library, Canberra. Skillitzi’s contribution to Australian Studio Glass was acknowledged via ‘The Ausglass Medal' for 2015.
Group: 100s since 1965
International: Portugal 1999; Denmark '96, '75; Europe '95; Japan '81, '94, U.S.A. '91, '90, '89.
Australian: Artman Gallery, Victoria, 2011-2013, Ranamok Glass Prize (traveling juried), 2003, 2005. Gallery M, Adel., 1996-2015 (3x per yr.).
All 18 Ausglass members’ shows, 1981-2015.
Solo: over 40 since 1966 International: New York City ‘92; Dallas Texas '91; Uni Massachusetts '70. Australian: Distelfink G., Melb., '93; Studio 20, Adel., '86; Bonython G., ’71, '81; Holdsworth G., Sydney,'81; Gallery 180, Melb., '79; Realities G., Melb., '72; Alladin G., Sydney, '67. 'War of the Worlds’:(national touring duo-works S. Skillitzi/J. Santos), 2003-06. 'Stack Up or Ship Out', (blown glass organic sculpture): Art Images G. Adelaide, 2007. 'Skillitzaphrenia', (glass/clay/metal): the Jam Factory, Adel., 2007, Zahara G., Adel., 2008. ‘Strata Series’,(etched, blown glass): Aarwun G., Canberra, 2008. ’New Works’; Artistic License G. Adel. 2008, ’09,’10. Anima G., Adel., '97; Gallery M., Adel., ’03,’07,’10,’13,’15; SALA/Cosmos Glass Open Studio, '09, '10, '11,’13.
1968: The first student of Dale Chihuly (now the world's most celebrated glass artist).
1969-75 Skillitzi was the first Australian to:
a) Publicize the U.S.A.- initiated Hot Glass Studio Movement
b) Receive a Craft Board grant for Glass to establish a ‘studio furnace' with public demonstrations
c) Exhibit 'studio' blown glass.
d) Exhibit internationally his Studio Glass.
Full time lecturer at SACAE. Ceramics/Glass Dept. 1976-87.
Founding coordinator of SACAE’s degree glass course1979-1986.
Director of Cosmos Glass, c/o Glass Earth and Fire Studios, 1987 to the present.
Numerous media interviews, demonstrations, lectures and performance art events in Australia and in six overseas clay or glass-related tours since 1967.
Grants: Craft board: 71, '74, '75, '96, Arts S.A.1996.
Scholarships: U.S.A. 1968, '69, '70. Kristallnacht project U.S.A. award 1992. Ausglass Conf. Installation competition, Wagga,1999. Represented in all national, state and most regional museums, and overseas including seven U.S.A. museums. The Ausglass Medal 2015.
1966: Ceramics Certificate, N.A.S. Sydney
1970: Masters Degree in Fine Art, Uni. Mass, USA