ACAD Celebrates Nine Years of Market Collective and ACAD Alumnae Alana Biffert

Market Collective exists to showcase the works of artists, artisans, designers, and musicians and to strengthen the community of Calgary. It is the collective's ninth anniversary and many ACAD alumni will be there to celebrate the occasion.

One of those alumni is glass artist Alana Biffert who is this market's ACAD Sponsored Artist. ACAD Sponsored Artists are first-time student and alumni applicants that are handpicked for this presitgeous prize and receive 50 per cent off their table if selected. Here's a quick Q+A with Alana:

  1. You graduated from ACAD in 2008 in Glass. You also currently instruct glassblowing at ACAD for the Continuing Education program. Please tell us a bit about you as an artist, your passion for glass and your work.

I am a Canadian born artist, who was raised in Malta Europe, I worked as the technician at Red Deer College, where I met Katie Brown, and went on to work and travel in Oceana exhibiting and selling work  in several studios and galleries internationally. I focus my energy on concept driven, large-scale installations and privately owned commissions. Currently, I am working on a team to install a riverfront interactive audio and lighting sculpture at Beakerhead 2017.

  1. What was the most helpful advice you took away from your time at ACAD as a student, and what do you feel is important to share with your students now as a teacher/mentor?

Natali Rodrigues once told me never to doubt my initial instinct. That’s something I take into consideration regularly, it helps me stay on my path, moving forwards through my career. The advice I would offer is that it is important to look at mistakes as a good thing because it is an opportunity to learn.

  1. How has ACAD supported you with this market table been helpful? What impact and benefits are there to being chosen as the ACAD/Market Collective artist? How do you envisage this will help your practice?

As a glass blower I’ve always been true to my career, as a result my ends don’t always meet. This support offered me a doorway to a community I may not have been able to expose my work to because of the fees. It takes a community to create a culture and ACAD support has continuously enabled me to stay a part of that community.

  1. What are some of the successes you have encountered?

Being able to travel and work in the field that I love is a big success. My current project is a huge success as well, working with a team of artists and engineers to create an intricate 50 piece public installation. This will be the first of many public works.

  1. What inspires your creativity and passion for art?

I draw a lot of inspiration from water, nature and my surroundings. My work regards the permanent impressions left and deterioration of what once was. I often burn and deplete found objects with glass, creating impressions in the glass from the remanence. To reflect on the time and investment of the process satisfies my quest to learn from my own work, and apply myself toward the future.

  1. How important are events like Market Collective in connecting artists with people who appreciate art and design in Calgary and area?

From visiting the market, I appreciate the effort MC puts into bringing together so many people in the arts. The atmosphere is fun and refined, I was able to connect with many interesting peers. Seeing the people around me, who are reaching for similar goals inspires me to continue making hand-made art.

  1. Where can those interested in you and your artwork find you next? What are your next projects? Where will you be showcasing your glass next?

My interests are moving towards lighting design and further collaboration. I am entering into an architectural lighting competition and applying for a research development residency through the Banff Centre and Beakerhead. My website will feature the development of these opportunities.

Congratulations again Alana! Stop by and check out her amazing glass art this weekend. 

Market Collective runs from Saturday, September 15 until Sunday, September 17. The hours are:

Friday: 4 p.m - 9 p.m.
Saturday: 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. 
Sunday: 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.