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New festival aims to help glass shine

18 August 2004Written by ATG Reporter

THE long month of August may be a good time to relax, but for glass enthusiasts the end of the month offers the perfect chance to get the pulse racing once again.

From August 25-30 a new event will be staged in the Stourbridge glass quarter of the West Midlands, when the inaugural International Festival of Glass gets underway after 18 months in the planning.

The festival replaces the Dudley Glass Festival and promises to be bigger and better than its waning predecessor. It will be held every two years and aims to bring the best mix of contemporary, traditional, local and international glasswork to the heart of the British glassmaking district. The six-day event will feature a hefty range of exhibitions, activities, lectures, workshops, and master classes. Festival director Janine Christley said: "We wanted to do something completely new. Being a public festival combined with a conference makes it unique in the glass world."

The centrepiece of the event is the British Glass Biennale, a selling exhibition of contemporary British glass taking place at the Ruskin Glass Centre. It features the work of 81 artists selected from more than 200 who applied. "This is one of the main focuses of the festival," said Ms Christley. "It will be a showcase for new glass in the UK and a platform for modern studios and college leavers."

A panel of judges will select the best piece in the show, with a £5000 prize for the artist.

Two exhibitions will also be running at Broadfield House Glass Museum: Heroes of the Wheel and Gallé: a Centenary.

The workshops and masterclasses will enable glassmakers to work with leading international artists and specialists and the lectures will be given by experts including Diana East, Pauline Holt, Professor Andrew Brewerton and Professor Keith Cummings.

There will be a sale of imaginative and quirky pieces of glass conducted by Will Farmer, director of Fieldings auctioneers, with items on offer donated by glassmakers. Funds raised will go to the festival, with contributing artists having the option of keeping half of the winning bid.

For more information visit or phone 01384 399444.

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ATG Reporter

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