For Jeremy Maxwell Wintrebert, whose early life was fraught with traumas of illness, accident and loss, the chance discovery of hot glass being worked in a furnace in the USA brought catharsis. He says he finds an equilibrium, feels at his most calm, at the heart of a process which is collaborative and hectic and full of risk. For to make freeform mouth-blown glass is to harness the great physical forces of heat and gravity. The chaos of his experiences and the fiery, violent drama of this process, with its considerable commitment of resources, effort and will, yield work which is strong yet delicate, a celebration of the positive and the beautiful.
The work addresses the big issues. It reflects Wintrebert’s deep, fearless interest in the cosmos, in science and philosophy, in belief and self-belief, and carries influences from all over the world: his childhood in French-colonial Africa; his teens in Paris, his years in the United States; and a meandering voyage of discovery to work with the world’s greatest glass practitioners in Murano (Italy), the Czech Republic, California and Amsterdam.
His range encompasses powerful modernist forms in glowing colour, some combined with elements of granite, hemp, or marble, along with more directly narrative pieces, light and uplifting. His series of unique ‘Clouds’, variously translucent or transparent, each mouth-blown into a loose wire former, is about a childhood memory: he says, “I remember lying on the grass and looking up at the sky, watching those big clouds drift by, floating in suspension across the sky in massive formations, constantly changing shapes. I would escape up there in the sky where everything seemed so soft and quiet.”
Jeremy Maxwell Wintrebert is currently establishing the only hot glass studio in his native Paris.
© Sara Roberts