Saturday, 10 September 2011

Spring is Sprung

The supermarket this morning was full of daffodils.  I began a ritual in 1980, which I think I have repeated each year since.  I had just bought a vase made by Mel Simpson, and it is perfect for tall stemmed flowers like daffodils.  Most of the year it sits with other pieces in my collection, but come spring it is given pride of place with a bunch (or several) of daffodils, jonquils or erlicheers.  It's a fairly simple cylindrical piece, distinguished by an applied band that spirals up to its rim (or down from the rim, I suppose).  It has a lustre, something that Mel used a lot over the years, but it appeals to me because of its simplicity - it doesn't compete with the flowers.

This was one of the first pieces of glass I bought after moving to Auckland in 1979 and 'discovering' that New Zealanders made studio glass.  I didn't record where I bought it - from memory it might have been the Whitecliffe gallery that used to be at the top of the Parnell shops for a while. Mel was unusual at that time in that he usually signed his pieces - this is signed Mel Simpson 8/80. It's 19cm high, and I paid $39 for it.

Whanganui Beckons

For the last six years the glass enthusiasts of Whanganui, one of the main centres for studio glass in New Zealand, have organised a week long festival to showcase the art of studio glass in New Zealand (and Whanganui especially).  I'm intending to join the fun this year, at least for part of the time.

All week from 16th to 25th September the town hosts the Main Street Glass Exhibition, with shop windows along the main street featuring displays of contemporary glass.

The official opening of the festival 'A Fragile World' with a charity auction of glass pieces is on Saturday 17th at the Sarjeant Gallery.  Tickets for this gala event are available on the Festival website .

The Hub at 56 Victoria Avenue is the information centre for the duration of the festival from 10 to 4 daily, and also features an exhibition of works by students of the Wanganui Glass School.

On Monday night 19 September master Australian glass artist Nick Mount will be giving a talk at the Sarjeant Gallery, and on Wednesday evening it is the turn of British glass caster David Reekie.

On Friday 23 September at the Whanganui Glass School there is 'Blowing in the Dark', which might be described as 'performance glass art'.  And on Saturday Chronicle Glass in Rutland St hosts the Glass Olympics, competitive glass making with teams of some of Whanganui's best competing.

And throughout the Festival a wide range of glass studios will be hosting demonstrations and exhibitions.

If you're interested in glass and you're anywhere near Whanganui, make sure you visit during the festival.all