When acclaimed Australian glass artist B. Jane Cowie moved to Singapore in 2003, she immediately set off to find the perfect address. She found her artist's haven in Kuo Chuan Avenue, home to a row of charming bungalows of the past.
"As soon as I saw the house in Kuo Chuan, I knew it was the right place for me. The street is the reason I am still in Singapore," she says. "It's like living in a kampung. There used to be many other artists and artsy people living in the street. It was a fun time then with parties, art making, exhibitions, and socialising. Most of them have moved out now."
The 200-square-metre semi-detached property also serves as B. Jane's home studio. "I like being close to my work. It is a home studio, a place where I live and store my things. I have always been an artist and I don't like it when my home and studio are separated."
B. Jane's passion for glass brought her to a lot of places across the globe. In Singapore, she founded Art Glass Solutions, a glass art company that produces unique artworks, lighting features, and architectural installations for private homes, commercial spaces, and public places here and in nearby countries.
"It's peaceful and homey here. I can be me in this house," says B. Jane. She describes her home as "artsy and grunge, welcoming and active, creative and relaxing." Having a garden and being close to the ground keep her creative juices flowing. She's been living in this house for almost 5 years, and on this street for 13 years!
Take a peek inside this glass artist's grunge-style home-cum-art studio:
B. Jane is not a big fan of air conditioning. Plants and greenery all around the house provide a more comfortable ambience—plus, they blend well with her art glass pieces. She also has some mixed media artworks that serve as home decors. For B. Jane, pieces she made herself make her home more meaningful and personal.
Homeowners can get a lesson or two on organising from this artist's home. Although she has a lot of stuff, B. Jane keeps them organised in shelves, cabinets, and drawers with identifications for easy access.
The home is spacious enough to allow B. Jane and her assistant Melissa (pictured above) to work on their projects. The backyard area is used for workshops, parties, and exhibitions.
A spare bedroom is also available for artist friends from all around the world to stay when they are in Singapore to explore or work on a new project.
Her home is replete with curious things and functional pieces like storage shelves—lots of storage shelves. "These shelves are an ever present reminder of my passion for glass. They contain the items of my living. The rest of the house contains the items of my life: art," says B. Jane. "Discover glass—it is beautiful, colourful, and truly wonderful."
B. Jane's tips to fellow homeowners:
1. Be eclectic. Sometimes strange things combined make something beautiful.
2. Find the beauty in the small things. Create "still lives" to look at and live with that are eclectic and transient.
3. Make something for your home. It has so much more meaning when it is made by you.
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Photos by CH Thyng