Breanna Box and Peter Dupont are putting a new, offbeat spin on the millenia-old craft of glass-blowing
Heven is what happens when we begin to demystify the art world. Creatives, models, lovers and now designers Breanna Box and Peter Dupont (hailing from the US and Denmark, respectively) just relocated to Brooklyn, NYC, from London, after becoming “comfortable” – something Box says she never wants them to be. They are the founders and foundling glass-blowers behind Heven, a luxe-kitsch hand-blown glass brand for an unapologetic era of design. Championing playfulness, accessibility and an endearingly balls-to-the-wall approach to learning a millenia-old craft, the pair have rejected the perfectionism usually associated with unique glassware production and instead invite their followers, the industry and customers to watch them “grow-up in public”. Dupont explains, “We started almost a year and a half ago. Breanna went to New York and did a glass-blowing class and then she came back to London and was like, ‘This is amazing, we need to do this, I really want to do it more.’ I had done it previously when I was a kid. There’s a place in Denmark that’s an open glass-blowing studio, where you can watch people work, and it’s just such a mesmerising craft and the materials look so beautiful.”
He spells out how their welcoming tutor at a glass-blowing institution removed any element of gatekeeping, allowing them to learn quickly and without fear of failure, saying, “We got in touch with this place in the UK called The Glass Hub, which is a woman-run studio outside London, in Wiltshire. We met these amazing people who gave us so much more freedom than you usually would get. We learned a lot and it made us able to produce something that we find super interesting with the skills that we have, but then keep learning. That’s one thing that KT, our main teacher, keeps saying to us – that because the craft is so strict in some ways that people forget to have fun with it and explore it, but that’s important to us and that’s why we’re still doing it the way we’re doing it. We’re still learning. We keep taking classes but then make those classes pay for themselves by selling the stuff we make.”
Box, visibly boiling over with excitement at the mention of the future of Heven’s wares, adds, “Because it’s such an expensive craft a lot of people wait until they’re perfect at it, which people do with a lot of creative things, like musicians wait until they get the record deal or whatever, but we just let people view us growing, which I think is special. We just developed a type of packaging that will be sustainable. All the people we know that work with glass use foam peanuts. It’s not great for the environment and it’s not sexy! I’m so happy we finally figured out how to create a beautiful package, and now we’re going to use artists every 50 pieces as a special edition where they decorate the outside, so we’re also trying to find really fun ways to have people we respect and want to showcase. Soon we’re going to move on to furniture, so it’s going to be a whole world of Heven!”
Having already established themselves internationally and independently in the worlds of modelling and movies, the pair boast a media and business acumen more prevalent in social media influencers than artists. They recognise their behind-the-scenes access to the fashion and film industries as pivotal to their confidence and skill in creating a brand, but also acknowledge the essential role artist community focused gallerists and curators play in exposure and support. Dupont argues that without improvements in education there will always be essential skills missing from a creative professional’s repertoire.
“One of the things that’s important is supporting networks of younger artists,” he says. “We just did our first show with Alex Tieghi-Walker, who runs Tiwa Select. It’s so amazing for somebody like him, who has the network and the ability to push young people and be like, ‘Hey, you’re doing something fun, and maybe you’re not amazing at it yet but you’re trying to do something and I want to help you and I want to support you.’ When you ask about creating an economy or community that can support artists and designers, I think there’s a huge lack in general in art schools and people in education in terms of getting out in the real world. It’s one of the things we have kind of jumped because we come from the real world with our work and we know how to market stuff, but a lot of artists come out into the world and they don’t even know how to send an invoice. We know how to market ourselves, we know how to do our taxes, so for us it’s easy to set up a business. A lot of people are so talented and are so amazing, but they don’t learn these things at art school.”
Touching on the influences behind their baby brand, it’s clear that the pair have an eclectic but mature vision for the future creative direction of Heven. Citing the focus on economic accessibility of Bauhaus thinking in one breath, but the whimsical opulence of Memphis founder Ettore Sottsass in the next, it seems likely that wide-eyed creatives such as Box and Dupont will inspire a renaissance of age-old craft seen through a kaleidoscopic lens.
Heven is available to shop via the seeyouinheven.com