Sara Hubbs Interview - The Hopper Prize

Sara Hubbs

Sara Hubbs on the positive impact of early exposure to creative design thinking, creating a metaphor for the experience of mothering, and experimenting with new processes in the studio.

How did you get into making art?

I grew up in a community in Phoenix with many creative influences. When I was little, my Dad was a poet. He also had a landscaping company and worked with a lot of the landscape architects in the area, which was great exposure to creative design thinking. I grew up in a big family and we’d regularly make trips to the store with my mom to pick out fabric for clothes she’d make us. There was a sense of creating that was related to our everyday lives. I often drew with my little brother and kept all of my drawings in cute pocket folders. In high school, my mom showed my drawings to an artist from our church. He gave me lessons on Sunday’s after Mass and when it came time for college he suggested I major in Art…and here we are.

What are you currently working on?

My glass sculptures come from a process where I make a plaster mold and blow glass into the interior of the mold. I’m working on a series where I’m exploring the sculpture term, “mother mold” (the outer shell of a mold that gives shape to the unstructured inner portion) as a metaphor for the experience of mothering. Another project consists of blowing glass through welded metal pieces that act as a support for the structure. Lastly, I experimented with kiln processes this summer and am eager to combine various blown pieces, firing them over and over again.

I’m exploring the sculpture term, “mother mold” as a metaphor for the experience of mothering.

Sara Hubbs

What inspired you to get started on this body of work?

The classes I took this summer sent me in new directions, both were so inspiring and generative. I attended the first ever family session at Pilchuck Glass School with my daughter and had the good fortune to have Beth Lipman as my teacher. She encouraged me to work and rework glass elements. I also took a really fun and experimental class at Urban Glass with Erica Rosenfeld and Jessica Jane Julius. They introduced new approaches to surface and really expanded my idea of mold-making. There was such a rawness and fun to that class.

Do you work on distinct projects or do you take a broader approach to your practice?

I blend both approaches. I pretend to work on distinct projects, meaning I start out with an idea and research for a series, but often the pieces become a part of something else. Being into materials and processes, unpredictable things happen, and I find ways to incorporate those unexpected outcomes. So often with glass, the ideas I start out with just don’t work. I always hold these broader umbrella concepts in my mind, so when I follow the material it still holds the thread of meaning. I also use older pieces in newer installations (I call situations), so things are always fluid in the studio.

What’s a typical day like in your studio?

A typical day starts with drop-off at my daughter’s school, then coffee near my studio where I chat with friends. I need chatting time. In the studio, I start out with little tasks that don’t involve deep thinking to get me warmed up, things like cleaning or re-arranging. I roll my tables outside and work on plaster molds almost every day (I don’t make molds indoors). I write a lot. I sit and look at the work in the space, arranging and rearranging. I also have intense work days where I blow glass or cold-work the pieces at The Sonoran Glass School, which is five minutes from my studio. I go home very sweaty and dirty.

Who are your favorite artists?

SO many! Charles Long, Michael Dean, Nancy Lupo, ektor garcia, Kelly Akashi, Cameron Clayborn, Karla Black

Where do you go to discover new artists?

I rely on Instagram, I follow links and do a deep dive when I see work I like. I follow websites like Hyperallergic and am on many gallery email lists. I’m introduced to new artists through museum shows here in Arizona (and when I visit museums and galleries when I travel). I also love suggestions from artists or curators.

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