Buvette Masthead

Winter Glass 2018: the coolest way to spend this Saturday

Beatrice Smith

Glass is one of the last artforms to carry a sense of mystique.

Gravity-defying and able to be crafted into anything from vast works to intricate miniatures, you cannot DIY glass, nor is it an easy skill to master. You cannot simply ‘take up’ glass artistry in your living room one day if you’re bored. Glasswork takes years—if not decades—to master, and a skilled glass artist will take your breath away with both their physical technique and eye for design.

But one event this winter seeks to remove the mystery from the craft and to make glass and its artists as familiar as possible. Now in its third year, Winter Glass at the Canberra Glassworks is a chance for kids and adults alike to explore the technical world of glass, from design to creation, in a relaxed setting.

Accompanying demonstrations, talks, tours and hands on workshops there will be winter markets, kids activities and a very special adults-only program of after-dark activities.

“It’s really hard to pick a highlight,” says CEO of Canberra Glassworks Julie Skate.

“There will be a Viking furnace outside where you can sit and make glass beads. There will be roving musicians and a DJ at night. If people are bringing the family along, it’s definitely the ACTEWAGL Activity Tent because we have five activities going on in there which are all gold coin donation.”

Within the tent, little ones can make a tealight, sea glass pendants and even dig for relics in the sand. At 4 pm you’ll also be able to watch the winner of the Glassworks’ previous childrens’ design competition be made in the hot shop.

For kids as young as five there will also be tile classes such as Mix and Melt which Julie explains is all about exploring colour. For older kids there’s the Emoji Tile Club, which any iPad loving tween will surely love.

Want to get even more hands on?

“We have this crazy thing happening where we have a manifold with tubes coming out so you can blow into the blowpipe, which has molten glass on the end and you can actually help create the artwork,” explains Julie. “It’s quite bizarre because there’s no control over what comes out on the other end!”

To access this and to get a front row seat (literally) to the glass artists you’ll need to purchase a ticket to the Hot Shop Mosh Pit.

Julie says the session is a chance for the glassmakers to really let their hair down (no, not literally – there are open flames around!) and show off their flashiest skills when normally they’re just “getting the job done”.

“The demos are all done in a controlled way, of course, but it will be very exciting. Emma Kate Hart is doing the most amazing work at the moment creating a Matisse-like nude that will be the lucky door prize and will be hanging in the foyer. You can also watch her make a second piece.”

To warm your bellies and fuel your curiosity there will also be plenty of options for buying food and drink on the day too with Mr Papa, Fricken Fried Chicken and The Italian Traveller to name a few.

“We have food trucks, woodfired pizza and winter gin, which is always popular, and BentSpoke beer,” says Julie.

Glass artists have also been creating Aurora Borealis shot glasses and schooners especially for the occasion, which are available to purchase on the day with or without a drink in them. The building will also be lit up in Aurora Borealis purple and green, providing a striking beacon for passers-by.

After 8 pm, however, is when things really heat up. The adults-only portion of Winter Glass is a chance for the over 18s to have some hands-on fun in the historic surrounds of the Glassworks with behind the scenes tours, workshops and presentations.

“You can participate in the Tile High Club where you can ‘make it nude or make it rude’,” explains Julie. “The good thing about glass is that you’re not able to make it too obscene, although I suppose nothing is too obscene if you’re taking it home.”

Tickets for the Tile High Club also include an Aurora shot glass and a nip of Canberra Distillery Gin.

“The other highlight is Steve Ciezki’s Dirty Demo in the hot shop, where we’ll have an emcee describing what Steve is doing with a lot of double entendres as he creates some artworks.”

According to Julie, Winter Glass “won’t be one of those places where you stop by for a short time. There’s too much to take in and see and do.”

It’s the coolest way to spend this Saturday.

the essentials

What: Winter Glass 2018
When: Saturday 16 June from 4 pm – 10 pm
Where: Canberra Glassworks, 11 Wentworth Avenue, Kingston Foreshore
More information and tickets: canberraglassworks.com/winterglass


Beatrice Smith

Bea loves that her job as HerCanberra’s Online Editor involves eating, drinking and interviewing people - sometimes simultaneously. The master of HerCanberra’s publishing schedule, she’s usually found hunched over a huge calendar muttering to herself about content balance. Otherwise, you’ll find her at the movies or ordering a cheese board. More about the Author