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Glass is hot
at Canberra Glassworks
is an ACT
11 Wentworth Avenue Kingston ACT
Visit Canberra's most creative cultural attraction. Canberra Glassworks is a
professional artists' hire facility that gives visitors a view 'behind' the scenes' into
the creative life of the National Capital. Book in to make a glass paperweight in an
Off the Street session, take a tour and visit the Glassworks Gallery and shop. Call us
or check the website to find out when artists will be blowing glass in the Hotshop.
Open: 10am to 4pm Wed. to Sun. Closed Public Holidays.
To find out more go to www.canberraglassworks.com or call 02 6260 7005.
"I'm pretty lucky I feel, because I
stumbled into glass."
Not literally of course, but the Canberra
Glassworks creative director Clare Belfrage
was, in fact, doing a ceramic design degree
at Monash University in Melbourne when
she discovered the process of glass-making.
"It was just one unit in the degree, I was
around 20 and I instantly formed a passion
for it. There's something quite magical,
something alchemic about working with
the material in its molten state when you
can shape it and actually use it as a means
of creative expression."
Clare began her career in earnest in
South Australia -- arguably the country's
glass making mecca -- and was at the top
of her game when she took the job at the
Canberra Glassworks three years ago. A
relative baby in the industry, the glassworks
here offers the best facilities in the country.
"Not only can the artists access the
fantastic resources of the place, but it's sort
of like a melting pot of ideas and I really
believe that people can develop further and
make more amazing work that way,"
A melting pot in more ways than one;
since that first day when it opened three
years ago, the furnace has been melting
glass 24-hours-a-day, seven days a week.
"It comes to us as dry, raw material -- a
mixture of silica sand and other materials.
We shovel it into the furnace every
Monday when we're closed to the public
and melt the glass over the next two days."
Clare said the furnace sits at 1160
degrees Celsius with its pool of molten
material waiting for artists such as herself
and her team to gather and make their
work. At the mention of her team,
she is adamant; "Glassmaking is not a
solitary process, but one for a very close
and committed team, because it's all
about timing. It's hot, it's dangerous and
the timing has to be spot on to make
it work. It's not about having much
conversation, rather it's about instinctively
understanding where each of you are going
and what you need to get there."
It doesn't always work. "There are a
million ways you can wreck a piece of glass
-- and many end with a dramatic smash on
the floor", Clare said. "When you're trying
Be f ,
CREATIVE JUICES: Clare is most in her element in the hotshop.
DIONE VAN-HEER spoke with Canberra Glassworks creative director
Clare Belfrage to find out how Canberrans could wile away the
winter hours in a place called the 'hotshop'.
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