Keith Dougall is the commissioned artist behind the Catching Your Breath public artwork and the Catching Your Breath community engagement project. Keith has been practically involved in and managed all aspects of the artwork's production and community engagement project - including concept, design, glass blowing and fabrication, breath donations, installation, documentation and website development.
Keith is a skilled artist and maker who has worked extensively with glass for over 25 years, creating numerous works for exhibition and the architectural environment. His work encompasses a wide range of glassmaking techniques including slumped, fused, blown, hot-formed and cast glass.
Keith is passionate about making art for specific settings and communities as well as helping people of all ages and backgrounds engage in meaningful and practical ways with art and the creative process. Keith's work often involves the creation and synthesis of multiple glass components to symbolically explore the intrinsic value of ‘similar yet unique’ individuals and their capacity to help shape larger systems and communities.
In 2009 Keith established the Poatina Glass Studio, an access facility for glass artists offering a wide variety of specialised equipment including glassblowing, hot glass casting, kiln-formed glass, and flame-worked glass facilities. The studio forms part of the Poatina Arts Collective in the Northern Midlands of Tasmania, where Keith lives with his family, making and teaching glass as part of a growing colony of artists.
Keith teaches beginner glassblowing workshops for a wide range of individuals and groups, including families, at the Poatina Glass Studio. He also teaches glass blowing to students of Capstone College - a special assistance school for Grade 9-12 based in Poatina.
The artist would like to acknowledge that a project of this size and scope cannot be accomplished without the committed help and support of many individuals and groups. The key financial and practical supports for both the physical artwork and community engagement projects are documented on the Support page which can be accessed from the main menu. Without these key supports, Catching Your Breath would simply not have been possible.
The artist would like to extend his heartfelt thanks to each key supporter. Please click on the button below to view the Support page:
The following is a personal message from the artist to various individuals who have contributed and supported him personally throughout the project. Keith writes:
Thank you so much to all who have contributed to this project over its two and half year duration. It has been a time of being challenged, stretched and grown in my art practice and personally. There have been many times I have felt overwhelmed by the level of support I have experienced from so many colleagues, friends and family members who have travelled with me on this journey.
Firstly, deep love and thanks to my loving wife Anita, and my two beautiful daughters Isabella and Evanne who have endured and supported me throughout this project, through many ups and downs. I know this has been costly at times and I'm grateful that we could travel together and that you were so much behind me and the project.
Thank you also to my community – the many artists, friends, family members and colleagues who have given their support in various ways throughout. In particular I would like to thank (in rough chronological order):
Jan Rigden-Clay for giving me a fantastic tutorial in making small flame-worked glass bubbles as I was putting together the original model of my idea.
Merinda Young for advice and support during the initial design phase and beyond.
Hannah Cooper for having the brain wave of using ballet bun nets for the model, when I had come to the end of my options, and for providing feedback on my design proposal at various key points along the way.
Verity Burley for changing her plans and stepping in at late notice to help with blowing the glass prototype bubbles in November 2018 – such an important step that allowed me to put together the first life-size prototype bundle and test my idea.
Rodney Young provided invaluable technical advice and assistance during the early stages of the project. He was instrumental in helping track down a suitable woven stainless steel mesh, and also helped rebuild key items of equipment at the Poatina Glass Studio that allowed us to achieve the scale and quality needed for the glass bubbles. Rodney had hoped to be part of the glassmaking team for this project and is sadly remembered at the foot of this page.
Don and Shirl Nichols for being instrumental in helping me rebuild the glass melting furnace and other equipment at the Poatina Glass Studio, helping ensure top-quality glass for the project.
Carl Noonan for assisting with the furnace rebuild and keeping me company late at night when packing insulation into the furnace.
Anthony Parsons for his patience, support and skill in the specialised gas fitting and design submissions required for the new furnace and glory holes, built partly to accommodate this project.
John Harry for his help and advice throughout the project in all matters technical, and for his work in modifying and building various items of studio equipment.
Thomas Pearson for his commitment and support in blowing so many glass bubbles, bringing the skill and expertise that the project needed, and for spending long weeks away from home and being a great friend and support in some of the most challenging and demanding phases of the project.
Zeke Torrents for an incredible effort in assisting Thom and I to blow all the bubbles for the project, stretching his skills and capacity as a young glass blower and for being so reliable and dependable.
Jacqui Dawborn and Leigh Tesch from Inscape Tasmania for being so open to the community engagement project. For their patience, and for their practical and moral support throughout, including helping liaise with RHH to set up the breath donations processes.
Tracey Cleaver, Aboriginal Health Liaison Officer from RHH, for donating her breath and seeing the opportunity for the aboriginal community to be involved. For helping set up breath donation sessions at Karadi Aboriginal Corporation Health Link and the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre Health Service.
Chelsea Emery from Ronald McDonald House Hobart; Suzie Smith from the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre Health Service; and Emma Robertson from Karadi Aboriginal Corporation Health Link for doing such a great job of organising breath donations in their respective organisations. It has been so important to look beyond the walls of RHH to see it’s full impact and wider community.
Matthew Yates from Aldanmark Consulting Engineers, for his patience and work as project engineer, always working to find solutions that uphold the aesthetic design and function requirements.
Derek Ewer, who did a fantastic job of fabricating the stainless steel bell-shaped covers for the tops of the nets and the ceiling connections.
Biz Adams for being so willing to be part of this project as web designer and videographer – your contribution has been immense, and everything you have created is so delightful. Without your hard work and keen eye, the community engagement project would never have become the beautiful reality that it is.
Steve Cooper for being a good friend, often providing feedback and support throughout the project, and for being so willing to step in at the last minute to film the installation process when Biz Adams was unable to travel due to Covid 19 restrictions.
Julie Stoneman and Mish Meijers from Arts Tasmania for all their patience, support and guidance through this challenging project.
Skye Fraser, Carol Hubble, Cheryl Carr, Ben Maloney and Brian Davenport from the Royal Hobart Hospital Redevelopment team, for all their patience and support throughout the project, and for their willingness to help find ways through its many challenges.
Chris Hampton and Haig Rice from Spidertech who did such a fantastic job of the complex and sensitive rigging required to hang the artwork, and for their patience in the very long journey in getting to that point.
Shaun Salmon and Josh Sheedy from Arcus Wire Group for their openness to the adaption of their woven mesh product for use in the nets, and their patience over many long months as we worked through the design and manufacturing challenges.
Wynsome Leak for being such a good friend and practical supporter, particularly of the community engagement process, assisting with the breath donations and helping process and edit all the data for the website. I can’t imagine where I’d be without your involvement.
Ann and Dale Herbert, Helen and David Ridley, the Rowe Family and Fusion Forest Glen for generously providing accommodation and hospitality when staying in Hobart for breath donations and the installation phase.
Stephen Avery from DevῩze for being an incredible support when assisting with the installation, pre-empting my every need and going above and beyond the call of duty at every level, helping make the whole experience one of the best in my life.
Peter Whyte for being such a pleasure to work with during the installation and for doing a great job with the photos of the installation process and finished artwork - many of which now appear on this website.
Beverley Dougall, Christine Matejka and Ian & Jill I'Anson for travelling with me as family and supporting me and our family in so many different ways.
The Poatina Arts, Poatina Village and Fusion Communities for their long-term interest and support throughout the whole project – particularly in supporting my family and I, for caring, for listening, for believing in the vision, and for praying throughout the project.
And lastly (but definitely not least), thank you to all my friends and family who kept in close touch through the 'Fellowship of the Bubble', as it came to be known, travelling with me and praying - especially Kathryn & Peter Yaxley and Jill & Ian I'Anson who faithfully made it happen and kept us all connected throughout the installation and website development.
If I have forgotten anyone, I am sorry. Please get in touch and know that I am very grateful.
In Memory of Rodney Young
1972 - 2019
Rodney was a highly skilled and gifted glassblower, all-round fabricator, creative problem solver and good friend to many. He helped establish the Poatina Glass Studio and much of the specialised glassblowing equipment used to create Catching Your Breath.
Rodney had a deep love for nature and helping other people, often putting aside his own dreams and plans to assist others with theirs. He came up with many creative solutions where others had given up, and he has been greatly missed since he very sadly passed away in April 2019.
A good friend and brother, he now lives in our hearts, his many contributions having helped shape this project. We love you Rodney.