Set to start his final year on our crafts programme this September, student, Ben Lintell has been working hard over the Summer interning at Studio Le Four in Paris.
With the aim of connecting craft with everyday people, Studio Le Four is the product of the creative ingenuity of Parisian glassblower Jeremy Maxwell Wintrebert, crafting affordable, functional and beautiful pieces.
We sat down with Ben to talk about the experience...
Hi Ben, so tell us about Studio Le Four.
Studio Le Four is the personal studio of glass blower Jeremy Maxwell Wintrebert in central Paris and I can honestly say it's the most beautiful studio I have ever seen!
The studio is in a lovely part of the city built inside one of the arches of an old railway bridge. It’s surrounded by other studios specialising in things like furniture and instrument repair.
Studio Le Four makes contemporary glass work of Jeremy's design, varying from enormous pieces down to small glasses.
"I'm bursting with ideas and new skills I can’t wait to sink my teeth into, I’m itching to get back in the studio."
How did you get an internship there?
I had been following Jeremy's work and the studio since October 2015 when I saw his work 'Spirit Fruit' at the Vessel Gallery in London.
Earlier this year I saw that the studio had liked a piece of my work on Instagram which led me to message them enquiring about visiting the studio in the summer and the possibility of an internship.
A few weeks later and after a few email exchanges they offered me five weeks in the studio as the hotshop intern! I was ecstatic!
Wow it’s amazing that it started just from an Instagram photo! What made you want to go there?
My style of glass making has changed significantly from when I first started. I like using the Venetian techniques and style of glass making, very thin and intricate.
But I also like mixing this with bold, contemporary colours and contrasts. For me, Jeremy and Le Four's work hits all of these spots.
"The processes I've learned will most definitely feature in my work to come, it's going to push my work forward in a big way that I can't even anticipate right now."
Jeremy is a master of techniques like filigrana (compound cane work) and encalmo (glass made with a split colour pattern) and he makes work on a scale I have never experienced before, whilst still retaining the delicacy that I love.
All of this on top of the studio being a highly creative environment makes it the perfect place for me to learn.
What sort of things did you get involved with in the studio?
There were two parts to my work there. Firstly, I was there to assist with maintaining the studio, keeping the place clean and presentable, setting up the studio for working, charging the furnace etc.
Secondly, I was an assistant to Jeremy and studio technician Baptiste whilst glass blowing and being part of the finishing process in the cold studio.
This involved things like colour preparation, bench blowing, puntys, etc. We had three main projects we were working on, a range of drinking glasses for the studio to sell to passersby, a big commission for a large whiskey company and some enormous glass lighting for a downtown restaurant.
The volumes of work and scale of these projects was just something I had never been involved with and it was extremely hard work, long days, but beautiful outcomes.
Sounds incredible, what did you learn from the experience?
I can't describe the number of things I learned out there. Some of them were really big like filigrana and fine details of perfect encalmo, but then there are hundreds of things to do with the particular ways they like to work.
"I can’t thank Jeremy and everyone in the studio enough for teaching me so many skills, it was an incredible experience."
The timing, preparation of the tools, pressure of the blowing, heat of the furnace, I have a giant notebook full of it, it’s the sort of things you can't just read in a textbook.
I would have to say that this internship has been the most important part of my artistic education so far.
I'm bursting with ideas and new skills I can’t wait to sink my teeth into, I’m itching to get back in the studio. I've never been more excited for my future in art and glass blowing.
I can’t thank Jeremy and everyone in the studio enough for teaching me so many skills, it was an incredible experience.
How will this influence your final year?
The processes I've learned will most definitely feature in my work to come, it's going to push my work forward in a big way that I can't even anticipate right now.
Are you looking forward to getting back into the college studios?
Definitely, I find the college a fantastic place to work and the facilities are great. Part of this internship was to find out what the professional environment was like compared to the educational environment, and in that respect I found lots of very subtle, but big differences between those two environments. For me, September can't come soon enough, and after that I can't wait to be part of that professional environment again.
See more of Ben’s work at www.benjaminlintell.com
Keep up to date on Ben’s progress on Instagram at @blintell
You can also find Ben posting updates of his work on Facebook at facebook.com/blintell
Follow Studio Le Four on Instagram at @lefourparis