Thursday, 20 December 2007

NZSAG Goes Live

After a lot of hard work, the revamped website of the New Zealand Society of Artists in Glass is up and running at . There are galleries of Members' work, details of membership and news and information. Importantly, there are details of the upcoming Conference 'Outside the Square' to be held in Whanganui in February next year. NZSAG welcomes as members anyone interested in New Zealand glass (if you're not a glass artist, you can become an Associate Member). Membership entitles you to participate in things like the conference and to receive the wonderful 'Glass News'. It's highly recommended!

Sunday, 9 December 2007

Pacific Light Exhibition of New Zealand Glass by Emma Camden and David Murray in New York

If you live in New York, you've probably just missed the wonderful exhibition 'Pacific Light' at the Chappell Gallery on W 26th St. Emma Camden and David Murray cast glass in their home in a former Masonic Lodge in Whanganui, on the west coast of the North Island of New Zealand. British born Emma came to New Zealand in 1991, and has taught and cast glass in Auckland and Whanganui. She has exhibited at Chappell Gallery several times.

Emma's partner David Murray was initially a potter, but he turned to glass following a glass casting workshop taught by Emma in 1997, working initially as her assistant from 2000.

Emma's work has an architectural quality as she has explored especially buildings and structures, as well as making smaller objects and tools with personal associations (I talked about one of these in my blog on 30 June 2007). David has drawn inspiration from artefacts such as stone adzes and bowls.

These images show Emma's work (top) and David's (lower), and come from the Chappell Gallery website:

Monday, 3 December 2007

An Early Piece of Sunbeam Glass?

This unsigned green decanter probably dates from the first period of glass making at Sunbeam Glass in Auckland. The lady I bought it from is certain she bought it in 1979 in Jervois Rd. She said "I remember going down an alley and here were these two or three glass artists at work." That would suggest she was at a glass blowing studio rather than a dealer gallery, and Sunbeam seems to be the only one to fit the description. The studio in Jervois Rd was behind the shop, shown at right.

Sunbeam was established in 1976 by John Croucher and James Walker, but operated a bit like a co-op, with a number of people involved and working there in a number of media. After a reorganisation in 1980, Garry Nash and Ann Robinson became partners with John Croucher, and it entered its second phase, playing a leading role in the development of glass art in New Zealand. But in 1979 Ann Robinson and Garry Nash weren't there. John Croucher has said "I don't know who made this piece. It could have been made by Danny Keighly, Ken Cooke, or myself (although I don't think so)." The glass has distinctive black flecks in it - Garry Nash has commented: "It could be any one at that time. The glass is coloured with chrome oxide or potassium bichromate, the chrome is highly refractory and requires a very high temperature to melt, without flakes of chrome metal precipitating out of solution and causing black spots. It was a common problem in the early days with every one panicking about the price of gas and fear that the furnace would melt!"

So it is not certain who made this, but it would seem most likely to be by one of these first Sunbeam glass artists. I'm delighted to have it in my collection.