02nd Feb2021

‘Blown Away: Season 2’ Review

by Rhys Payne

One of the first-ever shows that I reviewed, over two years ago, was a Netflix original series called Blown Away; a show which shines a light of the often ignored art form of glass blowing. I was super excited that this sector was allowed to be shown to a wider audience to get the recognition it deserves but when the second season was announced there’s no longer the excitement of raising awareness of an undiscovered career (I know one season is not the exposure enough but the sense of unfamiliarity with this art form added to the excitement of the show!) having waited just under two years for a new season –  the anticipation high for what new works of art we are going to see. Generally, the show has a collection of glassblowers from all over the world compete against each other, in the hopes to win a support package worth over $60,000 which included a residency in a very high-end museum. One of the things that I love about this show – in particular – is that the focus is on the art form and profession. The prize is a support package for the artist and helps them further their professional development, rather than general life stuff. The show also displays, and explains, many technical elements that are involved in glassmaking – which helps the audience to feel like they have learnt something after watching each episode.

The opening episode this seasons had the contestants create a glass representation as to how they see themselves… which was a fantastic opening episode challenge in my opinion! When you have such a collection of new contestants there is very little focus on getting to know each person and this challenge allowed allow to see a deep portrayal of them VERY quickly. I know I said that the focus of this show is the actual art form but for entertainment purposes, getting to know the people competing is also very important. The guest judge on this opening episode was Alexander Rosenberg who was a contestant on the previous season and, most interestingly, was trained by one of the contestants who appeared on this season to compete! Another thing that I love about this show is that it includes assistants from a local college which is great for their experience and career development. Although, it must be incredibly fraught for these assistants to be working with incredibly talented professionals, who are competing, on international TV.

I am not sure why this season has such a heavy involvement of subtitles, as I think they were very out of the place. Despite having never actually seen the criteria of the judging being displayed on the screen (which was interesting), we also have text showing the sections of the episode: such as create and present etc. What I did enjoy about this and the previous season is that they include the contestants coming up with their ideas for the challenges, including the technical drawings done on the floor with chalks or on a whiteboard. Also, this series shows the less positive elements to the creative field – it makes a point to show the extreme heat and fatigue glass makers face in the hot shop, as well as showing things going wrong such as dropped work.

Overall, Blown Away is a great series that showcases a forgotten art form, despite the diminished excitement felt for the previous season. This show heavily focused on the art form which added to the progressional feel of the series, which is great and adds anothe element to the show to lok forward to next season (hopefully) with loads of incredible art being showcased, including a hat and tie that looked so realistic and not at all as of it was made of glass!

I would recommend Blown Away to anyone interested in recognising art produced in a unique medium.

**** 4/5


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