Art, Writing, // May 10, 2014
Betina Huber – ARTIST
I am finally becoming ME!
All my life I have wanted to become an artist. Since I was only 4 years old, I have held this goal close to my heart. Time dissolves, when I enter this magical world of form, expressions and colors. Finally, at the age of 35 I see my path very clearly.
It wasn’t always easy, and people around me weren’t always so understanding, but this dream of living as an artist has always helped me through the hard times. I always pictured myself, living on a mountaintop in France, in a simple and peaceful house, painting and creating, alone, only to come down once a month to buy food and supplies. I don’t live in France, yet, and I am not alone, nor located on a mountaintop, but I am getting there.
My life has radically changed the last 3 years. Last year I opened my own glass boutique/gallery in Sweden, where I live, work and show my artwork during the year. My dream is my reality now, and even though I never imagined myself living and working in Sweden, I see why I made the choices that brought me to this point. I believe everything happens for a reason, and I am so thankful today, that I followed my heart to my biggest dream.
I was raised in Denmark, in a typical “normal” family, but I was always very creative. I’ve always collected things, from stamps, to stickers to napkins to bottles, fossils and bones. I had many dreams, besides wanting to be an artist. An archeologist or a veterinarian was the next lifestyle on my list, and I’ve always studied subject related to those careers. “Artist” wasn’t something I could choose as a profession in my school years, so I followed my passions for biology, math, history and nature. Even though I loved learning, I was bored. Something was missing in every subject, but once in awhile I had an “aha!” experience, where you see the big picture. In the 3rd grade, we watched a documentary about the Egyptian pharaoh Tutankhamun and the pyramids, and I was mesmerized. It spoke directly to my heart, and for years I studied the pyramids, but I never found what I was looking for.
When I decided to drop out of college only 1 year before graduation, I felt very deeply that I didn’t belong there, and I was depressed by having to live up to all these external superficial standards. So I just left, and it was the best decision I ever made. From that moment on, I learned how to follow my heart, and listen to myself. I started to feel the flow around me, and created my own educational path. Since then I have attended art and design schools around Europe, worked in one of Denmark’s biggest art galleries. I attended The Royal Danish Academy of Design in Copenhagen, initially studying Interior and Furniture Design, because I felt I could learn more in a design school, than at the Academy of Fine Arts. Due to my different taste in shapes, concepts and colors, which my teachers didn’t like at all, I was not happy. After a few years, I felt like I had 3 choices left:
1: Drop out, yet again.
2: Change direction.
3: Surrender to my teachers and forget about my own viewpoints and visions.
I really only had one choice since I didn’t want to leave the creative world. I chose to try out one semester in Glass Design for 5 months. At first, I was terrified of the heat and the gas ovens. My heart was racing wildly everyday for 2 months, and I didn’t make much progress. Then, our teacher sent the 6 or 7 of us to Orrefors in Sweden for 2 weeks, in an exchange program, to learn more about glass blowing. That experience changed everything, and my direction in life. After the 2 weeks, I learned how to truly handle glass, and I made huge progress. On our way back to Copenhagen, 2 other glass girls and I decided to take one year off, move to Sweden, and live in the dark woods of Orrefors. I was so hungry for learning more about the craft of glass.
Finally, I found the courage to start my own career as a full time artist. It took me a long time to trust myself and understand my own power in the process, but now I see it all very clearly. It couldn’t be any other way.
Since then I have been back and forth between Copenhagen and The kingdom of Glass in Sweden many times, and for the past 4 years I have settled down on the magical island Öland.
Öland is like traveling back in time. It is here I have found myself, and the answers to my future. I feel the connection, and how everything is related. That is what I have always been looking for and I am growing tremendously as an artist. My passions for biology, nature, math, history and archeology are more and more woven into my artworks.
To be living amongst ancient stone monuments (much like Stonehenge) is fantastic. The whole island is full of sacred places, and is deeply linked to Egypt and the pyramids. But this is not well known yet, and I don’t think the people from here think much about it.
I am an independent glass artist/designer now, but I don’t have my own studio with a furnace. At the moment its very expensive to run a hot shop alone, so I rent the days I need at the bigger glass factories, like many other glass artists. This way I have more contact with the other artists, and even with the industry. It’s always nice to work together, and its very rewarding to help each other out, from time to time.
I use the glass forms I create, as my canvas, and I translate my thoughts and feelings into a visual language that I carve into the glass, by sandblasting the surface. I work with different layers of color in my glass, and I often work with different layers of meaning and visual symbols as well.
I never create anything without some kind of meaning, but its not for the sake of the viewer, its for my own sake. I don’t create with my mind anymore, its too exhausting and I came to realize that since this “job” is not a competition, I don’t have to compete or satisfy anyone, besides myself! I strive to create with my heart, and therefore I seek new ways to express myself and to evolve and grow as an artist and a soul. In order to do that, it’s important for me to step out of my comfort zone, and constantly push myself. It’s risky at times, since I have to live and pay my bills as well. Then, of course, I am very happy when ever my art touches someone else’s heart in one way or the other.
One of my absolute best responses I have had to my glass is a recent one. This summer, I was working in my newly opened glass gallery, on Öland, and a friend of mine stopped by. She was standing in the doorway, because her husband was standing outside, and he didn’t really want to go in. He had no interest in art, or glass. After a few minutes she dragged him inside, just to say hello to me. A middle age working man, a tough man working in the metal industry. He apologized and stated he knew nothing about art. He immediately looked at a vase with a big bird, I had just made, and I saw his eyes tear up. He was so moved by the glass piece, and it shocked him, as well as his wife and me. Wow!
Later on she came back and bought the vase for him as a birthday gift. He still talks about this piece and how it moved him. For the first time an art piece had spoken to him. It has a central spot in their home, and he is so proud of owning it and showing it to all this guests. That makes me so happy. To see a person, moved that way by something I have created, that’s really something.
Sometimes I even tear up myself, when the piece I am creating turns out better than expected or even imagined. It’s like the piece just takes over the process, and creates itself. Sometimes it’s like saying hello to an old forgotten friend.
To create with love and passion is the best way that I know. It makes it all worth it. People don’t understand how many hours we put into a creative life, to make everything work. We never know when it will pay off, but all the long hours feel good when you love what you do. To see your ideas and sketches become reality is a magical thing! I am so thankful for the peace and the passion I have in my life, and I wouldn’t change my life with anyone on this planet! Here, I live in the middle of nature. I still collect bones, sculls, fossils and glass pieces on the beach. It’s heaven for me!
My future dreams are about using my artistic skills and visions in a more conscious and environmental way. Not only for my sake, but to contribute to a better and more complete world for our future. I believe that art can move mountains, and has a powerful voice.
Glass Artist / Designer