Naomi Ojinika Mbanefo (they/them) is a Western Canadian based Flameworker/Lampworker since 2015 who works with hard borosilicate glass to make a variety of unique artistic and functional creations.
Naomi specialises in custom orders which is something not many glass artists do. The opportunity to collaborate with the client gives Naomi the opportunity to expand their skills and try new techniques and ideas. It also allows the client to be a part of the creative process and results in unique one-of-a kind products.
Naomi apprenticed at a well-renowned lampworking company in Edmonton, Pixieglassworks. Where they were trained in diverse styles of glass techniques as well as how to teach classes. Naomi is now the founder and sole proprietor of Ojinika Glass, a company set to redefine the traditional views of lampworking by sharing the knowledge of glass as an alternative and accessible creative outlet.
Growing up, Naomi developed an aversion to art and creativity after failing to perform well in traditional junior high art classes. This led to shame and anxiety around creating art and the belief that they would never be an artist. The discovery of glass as a medium, made them realise that they could utilise their science based brain and teachings to better understand the principles of glass. Glassblowing requires a knowledge of chemistry and physics to predict how the glass will react to the flame types and how it will move under different temperatures and phase shifts. Understanding that gave Naomi the confidence to try new things and develop their creativity in unique art pieces. The combination of these two areas now gives Naomi a balanced lifestyle using the left and right hemispheres of the brain equally. They now have the confidence to try other forms of art and to be a successful entrepreneur and teacher.
Naomi loves doing Flameworking demos whenever possible, especially when there are inspired children around! Demonstrations really help people to grasp the concepts involved in Flameworking and how they contrast the soda-lime soft glass style of glassblowing.