The art of blowing bespoke glass for The Homestead

All the different pieces of The Homestead, which is set on Nambiti Private Game Reserve, are coming together with love and passion. 500 of those pieces are bespoke mouth-blown glass art. They are fresh, unique visions of colour and light encapsulated in blown glass.

It is all part of the art of creating our luxury African Safari Lodge, which we aim to make the best safari lodge in South Africa. It is all part of creating the luxury safari experience that we want to offer our guests: those unforgettable moments where beautiful aesthetics meet unbounded adventure, in both metaphorical and very real bursts of dazzling light.

Wall lights, ceiling installations, chess sets and dinnerware, at The Homestead, are just some of the pieces that have been created by one of the most innovative leaders in the art of glass forming today: Retief Van Wyk; and his small team of artists.

To say that Retief Van Wyk is a master at studio glassblowing would be an understatement. He started off in the field of Fine Art and Ceramics. He received an opportunity to install the very first tertiary glass blowing program in Sub Saharan Africa, becoming a subject leader of both Glass and Ceramic Design at university level. He has several books and scholarly papers to his credit, including The Ceramic Art of Robert Hodgins (Bell Roberts; 2008); Technical Issues on Glass Manufacture in India and in Science, Craft and Knowledge (Publication): Understanding of Science among Artisans in India and South Africa — a Cross Cultural Endeavour (Protea; 2002).

After an illustrious academic career, he took early retirement opening his own enterprise: The Glass Forming Academy (GFA). He started by pushing boundaries through producing colourful mouth blown tabletops, something that most would consider impossible. Pushing boundaries and rising to challenges are now synonymous with the artwork he produces for clients and patrons alike.

Glass is a vast subject. “When you think you know it, it teaches you another lesson, another perception, another skill” Retief said, while discussing the art and craft of glass forming.

Retief Van Wyk and his team have been working on blowing glass for The Homestead since February 2021. The designs are original and unrestricted, yet very grounded in practical considerations. The objects are beautiful yet durable; solid enough to withstand utility whilst retaining the delicacy which glassblowing is prized for.

They rose to every challenge like true artists. Whilst working on The Homestead ceiling installations, they came up with a totally new way to approach the design. The glass was first blown as huge, coloured plates, layered with reds, browns, oranges greens and topaz. The plates were then carefully cut into the required shapes and set into the ceilings. Glass blowing colours are not currently available in South Africa, so they have to be imported from the UK, Germany, and America to produce these amazing artworks.

We can’t wait to open our doors for you to experience each and every piece of the aesthetic, as well as the amazing South African experiences, at our luxury big five safari lodge.

You could find yourself immersed in that moment of heart-stopping wonder and delight at The Homestead before you know it! Make sure to sign up to our newsletter to be the first to know when you can book to stay with us.