Sunday, 4 December 2011

Chuck Simpson was not Canadian

A mistake I made in my article on the history of glass in New Zealand came home to haunt me the other day.  In New Zealand Glass Art I described Inglewood glass artist Chuck Simpson as being Canadian.  A trader on TradeMe offering a stoppered bottle by Chuck (at right - TradeMe 428728782) apparently followed my mistake by saying Chuck was Canadian. 

I'm not sure where I got the idea from, but I was wrong. A fascinating article about Chuck Simpson's glass appeared in the Australian journal Craft Arts International (32, 1994-5 p79).  It included biographical information indicating that Chuck was born in Sunbury, Pennsylvania, in 1944. He got a Bachelor's degree in Education in Pennsylvania, and then taught secondary school for fifteen years, mostly in Victoria, Australia.  In 1985 he began working in the hot glass studio of Colin Heaney at Byron Bay in northeastern New South Wales, before moving to New Zealand and leasing Tony Kuepfer's studio at Inglewood. (Thanks to Trevor Breusch for drawing my attention to the CAI article).

The piece at left I bought in 1990 from Masterworks gallery in Parnell, Auckland - it would have been one of the last pieces Chuck made in New Zealand before returning to Australia and the Vesta Hot Glass studio he set up at Eumundi in Queensland with his wife Lesley (formerly Lesley Justin).

Sadly, Chuck Simpson died in April 2001.