Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Glass working: watch, learn, then try for yourself.

The demonstrations of glass working techniques were a highlight for many visitors to the 2014 Festival of Glass.
Jacqui Campbell making glass beads

While visitors always comment on the diversity of the exhibits at the Festival's Glass Expo, they relish the chance to see how those exhibits are made. Consequently, when exhibitors demonstrate the techniques they use to make their products, they always attract a crowd.

The 2014 Festival featured demonstrations of an expanded range of glass-working techniques:
  • Bead-weaving
  • Glass slumping
  • Glass casting
  • Glass blowing
  • Glass fusing
  • Glass bead-making
  • Leadlighting with Lara Glass
  • Glass leadlight.

From 'Oh my!' to DIY
The demonstrations can encourage people to try some glass work for themselves and for the first time, the 2014 Festival featured a range of workshops in which to learn glass working. These were held on Saturday 15 February and were booked-out in advance via the Festival web site. To respond to that demand, a further workshop (on bead weaving) will run on Saturday 22 February; again, access is via the Festival web site.

FoG in winter?
The Festival committee us currently considering running some glass-working workshops in mid-winter, aimed especially at people who are thinking of entering the 2015 Drysdale Glass Art Awards. The aim of the workshops would be to encourage newcomers to become proficient at one or more glass-working techniques, so that they have the confidence to create an entry for the 2015 Awards.

The workshops would broaden the range and quality of entrants to the Awards, locate them firmly in local communities and, in the process, maintain the Festival's profile throughout the year. The overall result would be a heightened profile for the Bellarine Peninsula as a centre of glass-working.

The Festival of Glass acronym is 'FoG' - and it's not a proper winter without FoG!
(Photos: Neil McGuinness)

Glass on television

Channel 31 television visited the 2014 Festival of Glass Expo on Sunday 16 February and interviewed Festival convenor Doug Carson.

A moment at the Glass Expo
Channel 31 covered the inaugural Festival of Glass in 2011 at the Potato Shed in Drysdale, so it was good to welcome them to what is now a much larger and more popular event.

Coverage of the 2014 Expo is scheduled for Channel 31's weekly 'Geelong News' programme on Wednesday 19 February at 6.30pm. The news crew spent almost an hour at the Expo, so their coverage of the event should be comprehensive!

The Festival of Glass is, of course, an ideal event for television, with lots of engaging 'photo opportunities', interesting exhibitors and excited visitors (no, really!). We keep saying this to the 'mainstream' television channels, but so far they've not responded. Maybe next year.

Channel 31's full title is 'C31 Melbourne and Geelong - the Melbourne Community Television Consortium'. It's a not-for-profit community television service providing locally-based news, entertainment and information. Transmitted from Mount Dandenong, C31 presents the many faces, voices and issues of Victoria's diverse communities that you don't find on 'mainstream' television.
(Photo: Neil McGuinness)

Glass Art Awards: 'Quality, diversity and colour!'

Judges of the 2014 Drysdale Glass Art awards complimented all the entrants on the quality, diversity and use of colour in their entries.
Visitors examining entries in the Awards

The Awards were part of the 2014 Festival of Glass, which attracted over fifty exhibitors and around 5,000 visitors to its Glass Expo on Sunday 16 February in Drysdale.

On the previous day, workshops on specialist glass-working techniques were all full; and a further workshop on bead-weaving on Saturday 22 February is booked-out already.

The Awards had three categories, each with its specialist judge:
  • Ruth Davies (President, Bead Society of Victoria) judged the 'Wearable Glass Art' category and awarded First Prize to Glenda MacNaughton for her 'Ndebele Solo' necklace. In the 'Wearable Glass Art - Juniors' category, Ruth awarded First Prize  to Isabelle Hall, for her 'Beaded Necklace'.
  • Mark Edwards (Manager, Wathaurong Glass and Arts p/l) judged the 'Non-wearable Glass Art' category and awarded First Prize to Darryl Trezise for his glass and steel sculpture, 'Two Brown Trout'.
  • Leanne Churchill (Staff Photographer, Geelong Advertiser) judged the 'Glass Related Photography' category and awarded First Prize to Janet Jenkin for her  photograph, '"Isolda di San Giacomo in Palude" - detail'.
The Festival of Glass committee is working to increase the status of the Awards and we were pleased to see that the number and overall quality of the entries in this year's Awards was higher than in previous years.

We're grateful to the three judges - especially to Leanne, who stepped-in when the judge of the 'Glass-related Photography' category pulled out at the last minute. Leanne did a superb job - as did her two fellow judges - and the Festival committee hopes that she'll do the job again in the 2015 Awards.
(Photo: Neil McGuinness)

Monday, February 3, 2014

Glass on radio

On Tuesday 4 February, 2014 Festival of Glass committee members Doug Carson and Patrick Hughes are on Vision Australia Radio (Geelong) between 2.00 and 4.00 pm on 99.5FM.

Doug and Patrick will talk with Graham Rawlins on the station's regular 'Tuesday Magazine'. They talk abut the Festival's origins and aims, they highlight features of the 2014 Festival and hint at some future developments.

Graham ends the segment with 'a suitable piece of music'; as you guessed, it was Blondie's 'Heart of Glass'. Here are a couple of other tracks he might have chosen:
'Glass' by Joy Division (1978) (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z55MK7oemME)
'Glass' by Gang of Four (1979) (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eKc0fox1wEY)

Vision Australia Radio
The Vision Australia Radio Network incorporates nine community radio stations across Victoria (e.g. 179AM in Melbourne, 88.7FM in Bendigo), southern New South Wales and South Australia. The Network - second only to ABC Radio in its reach - offers a 24-hour 'sustaining' service, into which local stations such as Geelong can slot their local programmes.  Created to meet the particular needs of people with impaired vision, the network is attracting increasing numbers of listeners from across the general population attracted especially by each station's local focus. (For more, see http://radio.visionaustralia.org/)

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Music under a Harvester Moon

The Bottleneck Guitar evening that starts the 2014 Festival of Glass on 15 February has an added attraction - an exhibition of guitar slides in all their variety.
Some slides on a 'resonator' guitar

The evening marks the second year of a partnership between the Festival of Glass and Harvester Moon Cafe, 2320 Portarlington Road - so it's nearly a tradition! Dinner and music is $65.00 per person; the music alone is $25. Dinner starts at 7.00pm; the music starts at 8.00pm. Bookings essential: (03) 5259 3200.

The fine wining and dining
This comes as a 3-course dinner:
Starter: Tomato, basil & bocconcini bruschetta
Mains: Marinated chicken breast with potato rosti, asparagus and hollandaise sauce 
            Minute steak with red wine sauce, shoestring fries and salad
Dessert: Chocolate and ricotta panettone pudding.
(N.B. Vegetarian and gluten-feee options are available.)

The fine music
... is courtesy of Mr. Black and Blue, aka Michael Pollitt and friends
(www.mrblackandblues.com). In 2013, the band recorded an album with Chris Wilson 'Blow These tracks: live on the Blues Train' - on the Blues Train, out of Queenscliff.

A selection of tracks from their 2012 album 'The Morning Light' is on their MySpace page:
It includes several fine slide guitar tracks - and a version of 'Fever' that would turn Peggy Lee green with jealousy!

The very fine glass collectibles
These are donated by exhibitors at the Glass Expo - the centrepiece of the 2014 Festival of Glass - which runs all day Sunday 16 February at Christan College, 40 Collins Street, Drysdale. Many of the exhibitors have won awards for their work and the auction is a chance to  buy award-winning glass art at very reasonable prices. Successful bidders at last year's auction went away with some real bargains!

.... and the exhibition of guitar slides
Davis Music Centre - the oldest music shop in Australia (est. 1901) - is supporting the 2014 Festival of Glass by presenting an exhibition of guitar slides as part of the evening of bottleneck guitar. Guitarists use slides to ... well ... slide between notes, creating a continuous sound, rather than a series of distinct notes. The earliest slides were used by blues singers in America's deep south and were literally bottlenecks - the broken-off necks of bottles. Hence the connection with the Festival of Glass.  Subsequently, guitarists have made slides from various materials, including metal, plastic or resin.

Here are some examples of bottleneck guitar playing:
Bob Brozman playing Highway 49 Blues using a glass bottleneck:
Roy Rogers playing Walkin' Blues using a plastic bottleneck:

Bonnie Rait (with John Lee Hooker) playing I'm in the mood using a resin bottleneck:

Should we raffle the raffle box?!

Local glass artist Lynda Rogers has created an amazing box to hold 2014 Festival of Glass raffle tickets (see right).  Indeed,  it's so good, we might raffle it!

Not only has Lynda taken great care over the box's design and creation, her decoration even matches the  Festival's signature colours - red, black and yellow!

Lynda makes glass clocks, jewellery and other domestic items, often often using a technique called 'slumping'. She is a member of the 2014 Festival of Glass organising committee and will be exhibiting at the Festival's Glass Expo on Sunday 16 February.

Lynda's raffle box lifts the bar on raffle boxes! No more dog-eared shoe boxes with the lids taped down! If you're preparing to hold a raffle, just think what a customised raffle box could do for your publicity - and contact Lynda!

Broadening our funding base
The raffle is one way in which the Festival is broadening its funding base. Relying on just one or two sources of funds makes the Festival vulnerable if they dry up, so we're trying to diversify as much as possible. Festival committee members sell raffle tickets at Woolworths in Drysdale in the weeks before the Expo; and this is also a good way to publicise the Festival and explain what visitors can see and do there. We're determined to keep free admission to the Glass Expo - the centrepiece of each year's Festival - but if visitors want to be in the raffle once  they're there, so much the better!