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Hot Glass Fiji First of its Kind Here

Hot Glass Fiji is Fiji’s first and only glass blowing studio. Owned by Alice Hill, the business is a proud member of the Fijian Made-Buy Fijian family and has been
21 Oct 2017 11:00
Hot Glass Fiji First of its Kind Here
From right: Minister for Industry, Trade, Tourism, Lands and Mineral Resources Faiyaz Koya with Hot Glass Fiji owner Alice Hill during the Three Dimension Art Exhibition - “Born from Fire” on Wednesday night at the Grand Pacific Hotel. Photo: Vilimoni Vaganalau

Hot Glass Fiji is Fiji’s first and only glass blowing studio.

Owned by Alice Hill, the business is a proud member of the Fijian Made-Buy Fijian family and has been produc­ing glass sculptural products for the past four years.

They train local staff to become world class glass blowers which involves inflating molten glass into a bubble (or parison), with the aid of a blowpipe (or blow tube).

One on one with Alice Hill

Can you tell us a bit about

yourself?

I am originally from the United Kingdom, I have been living with my family and working in Fiji since 2003 and are proud to be Fiji citizens.

Glassblowing is a craft that re­quires a lot of training, practice and time to master and a glass­blower will still be learning all the time.

Fiji is a fantastic and inspiring place for any artist, and it is espe­cially so for a glassblower, as the tropical light and colours of the country can perhaps be reflected more vividly in glass than any other medium.

Tell us a bit about your company and the products you of­fer?

Hot Glass Fiji was established in Korotogo, Nadroga in 2013.

We had been considering starting up Glassblowing as an in­dustry in Fiji for some time, but had held off because of the high energy consumption of the furnaces and the consequent high costs of a traditional glass studio – particularly tricky when the business is in a completely new market. I discovered that a col­league from glassblowing in the UK had developed a furnace that could be loaded and fired when necessary, rather than run­ning full time.

This made a studio here much more feasible although there were still many hurdles to be leapt – our staff all had to be trained in the craft from scratch, for example. Whilst this has been very rewarding, it initially limited the work that could be made.

As the technical skill of our local glassblowers has improved and increased, the scope of what we can make has hugely wid­ened. We now have a large product range that we are constantly refine and change.

Who are your target markets?

Initially we had thought that much of our market would be made up of visitors to Fiji looking for high quality gifts and souvenirs- weddings were a particular target market. However, we have found that a large proportion of our market has been within Fiji – both from individuals and also from the corporate sector.

How can people purchase your products?

We have some pieces in selected high end shops and resorts, but the majority of our sales are directly from us, either from the gallery at our studio in Korotogo or by order.

This works particularly well as each piece is individually handmade. People see a piece they love on our website or our Instagram and Facebook pages and can order directly or com­mission a piece to be made for them personally.

What is your point of difference?

It’s not only the products themselves that are wonderful to look at – the process of glassblowing itself is mesmerising to watch.

The studio is free to visit and many people come up to watch their own piece being made. Teamwork is also a vital part of glassblowing and schools and other groups come to watch and learn from the process

We also offer the opportunity to try glassblowing which people love, especially as they get their very own handmade glass piece to take home and show off!

Each piece is individually made and unique and new ideas are always being developed.

Our favourite pieces are ones are ones that reflect the beauty and culture of Fiji – our company motto is “Inspired by Fiji, Made in Fiji, Hot Glass Fiji” and these are also the most popular with our customers.

Our glass tanoas and our hand blown coconuts are particularly popular but people also love the bowls, plates and tumblers, and our lighting and sculptural pieces are stunning,” she said.

Feedback: payal.sharma@fijisun.com.fj



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