Every year in March, the quiet city of Maastricht nearly splits its seams as dealers and collectors of antiques descend on it for the high octane fine art fair that is TEFAF. While the event is primarily Louis XIV in leaning, each year the design section quietly grows. To coincide with this years' fair, Leon Salet, one of the city's most contemporary galleries, is showcasing the work of Danish glass artist Lene Bødker.
Inspired by modern architecture, fine art and the natural landscapes around her native Copenhagen, Bødker has spent the past 20 years shaping glass into stunning sculptural and organic forms. Two years ago, she won the coveted Japanese Kanazawa Glass Award - the glass art equivalent of the Oscars. 'I worked with ceramics for years, but then fell in love with glass. It's a fascinating material that always surprises me,' she says. 'Working with glass is my mission in life.'
Producing any of her pieces, which range from hollow blown vessels to patterned organic shapes in cast glass, takes at least two months. Her studio is a converted gasworks in Roskilde harbour, 30km from Copenhagen, where she casts her creations using a complicated technique involving clay, silicone moulds and liquid wax. 'In the same way that a sculptor starts with a clay mould and casts a bronze, I cast a finished piece in glass,' she explains.
To get her blown pieces made, Bødker travels to the Czech Republic, which has long had a reputation for being a world leader in glass art. 'There are still a lot of skilled craftsmen in small villages there. The quality of workmanship is very high,' says Bødker.
Solo is Bødker's first show in the Netherlands. The Leon Salet gallery was founded in 2001 by Leon and Gemma Salet, former mens' fashion retailers who are themselves glass collectors. The gallery specialises specifically in glass artists and has a worldwide reputation.