Lisa Bate - Glass and Ceramic artist - her practice and inspiration

Posted by Fiona Cable on

Mainly working in cast glass using the lost wax process, creating small scale sculptures that play on narrative, the glass is often connected with mixed materials. Working on a small scale, these glass sculptures are usually made in a series. I like the play on interchangeable sculpture. Sometimes I use magnets in my works and use kinetics. Light also plays an important part in glass, as it changes it reveals new qualities about the work, so deciding on the surface and finish is integral to the work.

Lisa Bate

Krustallos Series II 2010   Cast Gaffer glass, magnets, cast silver, silver tube & steel wire

I am not a glass purist and find how it connects with other materials part of the challenges of making. More recently I have learnt wheel throwing clay, right now I’m exploring the connection between ceramics and cast glass and how the two materials will fit together.

Lisa Bate

Work in progress - ceramics and glass      Originally from the UK, I currently work from my home based studio on Auckland’s north shore. I was introduced to kiln formed glass and the cast glass process during my BA hons degree on Contemporary Crafts at Falmouth University, the course provided opportunity to learn about mixed materials, I was drawn to glass instantly and began connecting it with fine metals for their industrial qualities. I later went on to teach on the crafts course as a Senior Glass Technician, completing a Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education.

Theory:     My work questions our relationship with nature and our technologically enhanced society. Ideas explore human interference in biology, developments in science, and how industry transforms our world.

Influences:     I became interested in kinetic works after seeing the exhibition Creatures Great and Small presented by Kinetica Museum in London. Fascinated by the moving sculptural works of Jim Bond’s ‘Blink’ and ‘Pony’ by Tim Lewis, both artists experiment with evolution and hybridisation.

I like the raw and confrontational feeling that these works presented and often try to achieve this in my own work. If my work isn't moving, I want it to appear as though it can.

I also admire the lighting of the late designer Ingo Maurer who often used found objects, playing with juxtaposition and how the light is reflected.

Lisa Bate

Who let the dogs out? 2016   I 70 x 95 x 110mm, II 80 x 80 x 130mm, III 120 x 100 x 175mm  Cast Gaffer glass, brass & steel wire

About techniques:   I mostly work with the lost wax process in cast glass. Warm wax is poured into master moulds made from found objects, I cut up these wax forms altering the original. Reconstruction of wax forms, the re-creation and carving is my favored part of the process, this is when I become absorbed and find working with the wax meditative.

It’s then considering the piece for the kiln firing, connecting feeds for the glass to enter and flow, making the one time use plaster and silica refractory mould. The wax is steamed out of the mould leaving a void for the glass. The mould goes into the kiln just over 800 degrees for at least 3 days, more depending on how thick the glass is for it to slowly cool and anneal.

I use 45% lead crystal Gaffer glass, which flows really nicely for the detail and intricate smaller parts in my work that other glasses may not flow to during the kiln firing.

Lisa Bate

Cybernetic Meadow I 2018 (detail)  100 x 150 x 120mm   Cast Gaffer glass

 Lisa Bate

Cybernetic Meadow II 2018  80 x 260 x 140mm    Lost wax cast glass, copper tube, brass & steel wire

Working with glass comes with its challenges, it is a difficult material to work with, it takes resilience as there can be push backs along the way with the various stages in process. The material will test you!

Present: Cybernetic Meadow II has been selected for the Waiheke Small Sculpture Prize and Exhibition.

Having representation from Railway Studios and Gallery for showcasing my work here in Auckland.

I am now back teaching glass workshops on the north shore here in Auckland, passing my knowledge of the cast glass process onto others who want to learn about this fascinating material.

View more of Lisa's work here.


1983 born England

2010 Graduated Falmouth University | Contemporary Crafts

2011 Artist in Residence: Metal & Glass Casting| North Lands Creative Glass & Scottish Sculpture Workshop

2011 Honorary Diploma | Jutta Cuny Franz

2012 Senior Technician in Glass Falmouth University | PGCHE

2014 moved to New Zealand

2019 Lisa Bate Studio Glass | Ceramics | Educator                                                                                              


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