Shona Firman

Glass Artist

Shona Firman was born 1940 in Whangarei, Northland, NZ. In the 1980’s Shona attended Northland Polytechnic studying applied arts and it was here that she studied glass making under Keith Mahy’s direction.

“My interest in vessels and water started in early childhood. I can remember removing the bark from our tree tomato tree to make a canoe. Since then I’ve lived on a yacht, sailed the pacific, and researched the seafaring culture of the South Pacific.
My sculptures reflect the histories of distant cultures, united by their relationship with the ocean. They pay homage to my Celtic heritage and the culture of my homeland, New Zealand. They convey the idea of migration, narrative, and transportation of cultural beliefs and traditions. These sculptures allude to the importance of the sea in the practical and spiritual life of these cultures.”

“Glass, with it’s colour, transparency and reflection, is an ideal medium to express the essence of water and the spiritual nature of these vessels. The lost wax casting process allows time to contemplate the development of the form and to push the technical boundaries. The tattooed patterns are individually carved into the wax and tell a story.
My latest work (Reflecting Cultures) is a combination of the canoe form combined with the picket fence. The canoe symbolizes arrival, and the picket is a reflection on post-colonial boundaries.”