Kathryn Wardill is an educator and a great artisan that I have the honour of calling my friend – we met way back in 1995 when we were at RMIT together. She always impressed me with the amount of enthusiasm and energy she put into everything every day – definitely not one to sit still for too long! She now exhibits internationally as well as locally, and has taught at numerous workshops and institutions.
Kathryn first studied Jewellery at QCA in Brisbane, and took a short lampworking class as a curiosity, “just because”. Now she has been working with glass and metal in combination for more than 15 years, and says of her obsession, “these materials have embedded themselves so deeply in me, that all I do is think about new ways to bring them together.” As a prolific maker, her work changes constantly, sometimes dwelling on an idea here and there in order to explore the different facets of it, and then leaping off at a tangent into new territory.
She loves glass for its rich colour and ability to be shaped, and excels at exploring its tactile qualities by grouping multiple elements to form pieces that move and clink when you touch them. Silver wire allows for fabulous construction possibilities, again using multiple elements for their expressive qualities, and for framing each glass feature.
There is something very playful, and almost edible about many of her glass pieces; they are made to be enjoyed and worn, they are spontaneous, colourful, quirky, and whimsical.
Her work has been widely exhibited and published. She is the only Australian artist featured in the book ‘1000 Glass Beads: Innovation & Imagination in Contemporary Glass Beadmaking’ (2004) and the first Australian speaker at the International Society of Glass Beadmakers (ISGB) Conference, USA in 2006. In 2011, she was an invited International Juror for the most recent volume in the prestigious Lark 500 series, 21st Century Jewelry: The Best of the 500 Series.
You can find more of Kathryn’s work, and more about the workshops she teaches on her website, wardill.com.