Meet The Maker: Katie-Ann Houghton
Coming across the work of Katie-Ann Houghton, we were immediately in awe. We had come across glassware that we hadn’t seen anywhere. Each design was unique, and had a playful sense about it. We knew we had to showcase them. As we’ve come to get to know Katie-Ann, we have found her to be not only a very talented perfectionist, but also incredibly kind and generous.
After graduating, Katie-Ann became a full time assistant for Sydney based glass artist, Ben Edols. Whilst in this position, her work was chosen to be exhibited in several galleries throughout Australia. Including being selected to be a part of the National Student Glass Art Prize, and then onto being selected to become a part of the Gallery’s permanent collection. Time was also spent in Los Angeles, perfecting her craft with glass artist, Joe Cariati.
Katie-Ann began teaching at Sydney College of the Arts, but it wasn't long until she was accepted into a prestigious associate program at Jam Factory in Adelaide, South Australia. Whilst participating in this program in the Jam Factory’s glass studio, she was able to refine her craftsmanship, and focus on design elements that would soon become distinctive and unique.
It is the science of the glass blowing process that entices Katie-Ann just as much as the art itself. Houghton says, “It’s this crossover between an art and a science. But then, it’s also very much like a trade. People think you must be really creative, but honestly, most of the time I’m just trying to work out physics I never thought I’d use.”
Katie-Ann uses the Venetian method of glass blowing, which is traditional, and is unfortunately a dying art. This method involves melting glass inside a roaring furnace, and blowing air down a long thin pipe in order to inflate the glass into a bubble like shape, which is then manipulated into the artists chosen form.
Sometimes this process can rely on up to 5 people to complete one piece, as it requires so much precision. Whilst there are more modern methods of glassblowing from which Katie-Ann can choose, she is set on sticking with the Venetian method, as she is determined to not allow it to disappear.
The delicate art of Katie-Ann’s creations can be found in the beautiful objects behind her brand, KAH, most of which can be found on the Kim & Eve website. Functional pieces such as the Babushka Decanters, the Best Squeeze Glass Carafe, and the Block Carafe, and the exquisite Gold Rimmed Whiskey Glasses, all of which are inspired by 20th Century design. This influence can be seen by the use of colour in these pieces, which are quite reminiscent of Bauhaus and Modernism. All of these pieces are works of art in their own right.
Being a small scale creator, which Katie-Ann sees as a luxury, she has the ability to create what she wants, and how she wants. The art of glass blowing is able to be retained, allowing for her designs to reflect her own character. A perfect example of this is the Best Squeeze Carafe. The design of the carafe, tells the story of Katie-Ann’s struggle with picking up large objects whilst working, with only one hand. So, she experimented with heating and compressing the sides of the carafe, ending up with an indent on either side, allowing for an easier grip, as well as a beautiful and unique design.
It is such a privilege to be showcasing the fine craftsmanship of Katie-Ann Houghton. We love her philosophy of challenging the culture of mass consumption by creating pieces that are innovative, timeless, and of exceptional quality. Whilst each piece is functional, it is also a beautiful form of art and design. Through the extraordinary work of Katie-Ann, Kim & Eve have developed such a great understanding of the art of glassblowing, thus our appreciation for the craft, and the work and passion that goes into creating every piece, is heightened.