Thursday, 22 September 2011

Whanganui Was W(h)onderful

The Whanganui Glass Festival was a great experience last weekend.  The whole town was buzzing, and there were glass artists, glass enthusiasts and glass events everywhere.

Nick Mount blows glass at Chronicle Glass with assistance from Katie Brown
Things kicked off with a 'Raise Your Glass' celebration at Chronicle Glass for the sponsors, the retailers who had provided display space, invited guests and members of the Whanganui Glass Group.  Once again glass blowing as performance art was to the fore, with veteran Australian glass master Nick Mount showing his skills, to the accompaniment of a local band, with a very enthusiastic audience.  The pieces Nick made were included in the auction the following night.

Karen Ellett holds one of the pieces from her Mainstreet display
On Saturday I did a tour of the Mainstreet shop window displays.  This was made all the more enjoyable by the knowledgeable guide we had, glass artist Karen Ellett.  Karen's commentary on the pieces and her background knowledge of the Whanganui artists made for a fascinating tour.

 Each artist had selected pieces for the display, and each was accompanied by an ID photo.
Rachel Ravenscroft, Nigel Jones and Kerry McDonnell featured in the window of Kathmandu


On Saturday night there was the official opening, and the charity auction.  Whanganui people raised nearly $20,000 for Hospice Whanganui and the Whanganui Glass Group - a wonderful effort, and a credit to their generosity and that of the artists.  At left Whanganui Glass Group Chair Lynne Vinsen thanks coordinator Larinae Steward for all her efforts, and at right Minister for Arts Culture and Heritage Chris Finlayson shares his enthusiasm for glass.  Two of Katie Brown's works feature in the foreground.
Enthusiastic bidders crowd the auction floor

Emma Camden's Flyer was a feature of the auction

Of course, there was much more to my weekend - studio and gallery visits, conversations with artists, lots of new information and yes, a few acquisitions.  We all had a great time, and Whanganui is to be heartily congratulated.