26 May 2007

Opening of the Canberra Glassworks

| Ntp
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As noted earlier the Canberra Glassworks, occupying the old Kingston Powerhouse building, opened today. Grabbing a camera and a couple of visiting interstate friends I decided to have a look around.

The rear exterior of the glassworks.

And from the front.

The sentence structure of the signage is as sound as the faux railway lines which indifferently adorn the rear entrance.

Not having the forethought to book a tour (as suggested by the Glassworks’ website) we found ourselves unable to tour the inner workings.

Although this thankfully didn’t restrict access to the gallery areas.

Gallery One is adjoined to Gallery Two, the base of the old smoke stack, by a well lighted glass and brick corridor.

The pamphlet describes the spaces as being “converted to contemporary exhibition spaces that have a raw industrial edge.” Make of that what you will.

Having said that Gallery Two is impressive.

With none of my photos coming close to capturing the truly cool nature of the reflexion of the skylight in several of the artworks.

The main foyer was packed with a constant flow of people smarter than I who had booked to do the tour of the hotshop and workshop areas.

And it appears the Cashews were replaced on this occasion by another duo to entertain the masses.

They even did a very interesting version one of Andrew Denton’s favourite songs

Having had a wander we decided to sit down and sample the wares of the café. Finding a table amongst the crowd was a slight challenge

but having found one inside we were able to appreciate the architecture of the building as having been presented as a work of art in its own right.

Even the glass work of the latté was a little unusual (note the internal ridgeline near the base)

Or I could have just been easily impressed by then…

The Canberra Glassworks has what looks like an impressive workshop and education program. Info on these, tours and the exhibitions can all be found via the Glassworks’ website. The current exhibition, Heartland, is worth a look at if for nothing else the glass hearts on display in the shop.

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Went to the glass works this weekend. The “Hot room” was active with some great glass working going on. Would LOVE to see it when all the areas are active – Will definitely return.
The Cakes in the Cafe are also very very yummy!
As for the educational aspects – there must be 40 courses on offer over the coming months……
Well worth a visit.

I hope the glassworks are a success. God knows Canberra has had no shortage of expensive, quaint initiatives that fizzle soon after. Futsal anyone?

But I think ultimately, the scope of the glassworks will be its demise. Very few would visit Canberra specially for the glassworks. How many would bother to include it in their visit if coming anyway? And just like other “major” attractions (eg. CSIRO Disovery), the Glassworks may one day be a place with limited opening hours, limited visitors and only attracting semi-enthused school groups (just like CSIRO Discovery).

I think perhaps a broader center, an Arts and Design Center (glass, pottery, metalwork, sculpture, industrial design, visual arts & photography) would have more appeal and longevity. It could even be a joint initiative with local educations institutions providing a tourist attraction, local cultural meeting place and educational institution.

No advertorial. Cheer up El, I reckon it’s a great thing to have in Canberra. You should check it out… I breathlessly await your thoughts 🙂

Whoa, NTP! – I was referring to the rather breathless praise in the comment left by ‘Bec Bee’, who as far as I can tell has never commented on the site previously, or since. Hell, the sentence structure isn’t all that dissimilar to that of the signage in picture 3 🙂

Usually the blow-ins only contribute to flamewars, so it just seemed a bit odd, that’s all.

Yes, I am cynical, but your original article/photos were excellent, and I may well go and check the place out because of it.

el you’re cynicial 😉

Nah not advertorial (we disclose that sort of stuff here) but yes the post does have a fairly positive spin – that’s ’cause I liked it!

To put a balance on things I suppose I could write about stuff I don’t like but I tend not to go and see things I think I wont like or if I have lose motivation to write about it. If you have seen somehing you dislike or are ho-hum about feel free to send in a story, we are always happy to post it.

Call me cynical, but…. ^^^^ Advertorial anyone? ^^^^^

Great photos of the Glassworks. I went along on the weekend, but forgot to take my camera. It is a shame you did not take the advice to book a tour of the Glassworks. I have been waiting for months for the opening, so I made sure I booked and I can tell you, it was amazing. The first part that we walked into was the boiler room and it was incredibly beautiful. The original coal hoppers are still there who ever designed the refit has tried to leave as much as they could in the original condition, including cobwebs and hazy windows. The next stop on the tour was the workshop area that was an impressive open space full of glass working equipment. There were a couple of ladies demonstrating how to make beads, which was a little hard to see with the size of the tour group. But what you really missed by not taking a tour was the glassblowing demonstrations in the hotshop, it was spectacular. There was an artist visiting from Sydney (Ben Edols ??) He made the most amazing bowl. There was also some students from the ANU School of Art making some pieces that were just as impressive. There is a large seating area within a couple of metres of the furnace, so you can see everything that is going on. I could have watched it all afternoon, but we only had 15 minutes or so on the tour. It was a great experience and I am surprised that Canberra has something like this. You should go back again next weekend. I was talking to the tour guide after we had finished and she said that they only had the tours for the opening weekend to help control the large numbers of people that were going through the complex. From now on you can just go in and walk around the public areas at your own pace, and not with 100 other people and not be limited to just 15 minutes of watching the glassblowing. By the way, the coffee I had was one of the best I have had in Canberra. Nice work.

Thanks for the insight Nik.
If I wrote Ministerials and Briefs the way that sign is written, I could kiss my bonus goodbye…

The problem isn’t with the link, the image host is down. Hopefully it should be up again sooner rather than later.

looks a little different to when I was in there on my foreshore authority guided tour 4 years ago.

Note Stevie Ray Vaughan was not in attendance – its the only online version I have.

The image links are all broke.

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