Sunday, 26 August 2012

NZ Society Artists in Glass Conference at Glassplant, Inglewood April 1983

The New Zealand Society of Artists in Glass was founded in August 1980 at the first New Zealand Glassworkers' Symposium held in Taradale. The next year the first NZSAG Conference was held at The Hot Glass Company in Devonport.  Since then, NZSAG has held a conference every other year, where glass artists meet to discuss and demonstrate their work.  An important element of these conferences has often been the invitation to international glass artists to come to talk, to teach, to demonstrate, as one way for New Zealand artists to augment their skills. The Devonport conference was attended by Americans Richard Marquis and Ed Carpenter, in hot glass and flat glass respectively.

In April 1983 NZSAG held its Conference at the Glass Plant in Inglewood, the studio of Tony Kuepfer. This coincided with the holding of the first major exhibition of art glass in New Zealand, Pacific Glass '83 at the Govett Brewster Gallery in New Plymouth.  The exhibition and the conference marked a major milestone in the development of glass art in New Zealand, and in public perception of it as a new and vibrant art form.

Rear (standing): Marvin Lipofksy; unknown cameraman; Peter Viesnik; Jenny Granville (obscured); Mel Simpson; Holly Sanford (yellow); Julie Podjursky (Peterson); Ken Cooke (behind by door); Johannes Schreiter (behind); Peter Minson; Ede Horton (behind with mug); Linley Adams (Main); Jo Shroff; ; unknown (behind); Libby Gray; Piers Anderson (behind); Victoria Noble; Robert Middlestead (obscured); John Croucher; Rob Hooper (waving); Pat Grove-Hill; Roger Pemberton; Fred Daden (back turned); Marg Osbourne (leaning on sign)
 Front (kneeling): Keith Rowe; John Abbott; Tony Kuepfer; Makoto Ito; a gap ; Lyn McLean; James Walker; unknown; Garry Nash; John Leggott (with apple); Ann Robinson (with the milk for tea); Marg Osbourne (with camera)

Serendipitously I recently came across some photographs taken at the conference by Tim Edwards, then an architecture student writing a thesis on 'Art in Architecture', who took lots of photos with a view to using them in his thesis work.  Now an antique dealer in Wellington (, Tim kindly provided me with copies of some 70 of his slides. I've been in correspondence with quite a number of those who were at the conference, as well as some who weren't, and with their help I have identified most of those in the photos.  In particular, two group photographs posed outside the converted former church that was Glassplant present pretty much a who was who of NZ glass at the time (though a number of people either couldn't attend, or were somewhere else when these photos were taken). Many of these people are still active in glass 29 years later, some are no longer working, and one or two are deceased.  The photos include international guest lecturers Fred Daden (UK), Makoto Ito (Japan), Marvin Lipofsky (USA), Johannes Schreiter (Germany), and Australians Peter Minson and Keith Rowe (in fact a Kiwi, but a long time Oz glass artist).  Ito, Lipofsky and Schreiter were among the exhibitors in Pacific Glass '83.  The two photos are similar, but there are some people in one and not the other, so I include them both.

Rear (standing): Marvin Lipofksy; David Clegg (cap); Peter Viesnik; Jenny Granville (peeking); unknown; Mel Simpson; Holly Sanford (yellow); Julie Podjursky Peterson; Ken Cooke (behind); Johannes Schreiter (behind); Peter Minson; Ede Horton (behind); Linley Adams/Main; Jo Shroff; Libby Gray; Piers Anderson (behind); Victoria Noble; John Croucher; Rob Hooper (beard); Pat Grove-Hill; Fred Daden; Marg Osbourne (with camera)
Front (kneeling): John Abbott; Tony Kuepfer; Makoto Ito;  a gap ; Lyn McLean; unknown; Garry Nash; John Leggott (with apple)

It's been great fun trying to identify these photos accurately.  I accept sole responsibility if I have got something wrong, or if someone I should have picked is labelled 'unknown'; please let me know so I can make any necessary corrections.  I am very grateful to Tim Edwards for permission to publish his photos.