Thursday, December 13, 2012

Promoting 2013 Festival exhibitors

On 10 December, a display by the Festival of Glass committee was a major feature of the City of Greater Geelong's Community Arts & Festivals grants ceremony.

Festival of Glass Chair Doug Carson reports, the City of Greater Geelong has supported the Festival of Glass consistently since it started in 2011, as has local councillor Rod Macdonald. The council invested significantly in the Festival of Glass in 2011 and 2012 and will be a major investor in the 2013 Festival. Its support has come through its Community Arts & Festivals grants scheme and each year it holds an awards night to recognise the latest grant recipients.

As people arrived at the awards ceremony, the first thing they saw was the Festival of Glass display. This included pull-up banners, brochures, laminated photos and images of the last 2 Festivals, plus a rolling slide show. There was also a selection of the large number of glass items donated by exhibitors to the Festival raffle, together with books of raffle tickets .... and anyone who missed the tickets was soon cornered! 

The City of Greater Geelong is aware that the Festival of Glass is having a significant impact on the region's arts and culture - it was introduced at the awards ceremony as 'The wonderful Festival of Glass'. The Festival is a major new showcase for glass-related arts and crafts not just locally but also interstate; and a couple of glass artists have started businesses in the area as a result of their success in exhibiting at the Festival.

A vote of confidence in Festival exhibitors
Visitors' responses to the display were consistently positive - a resounding vote of confidence in the Festival and, especially, in the exhibitors. People commented on the 'originality', 'quality' and 'style' of the exhibits at the last two Festivals. Many people said that they had attended the 2012 Festival of Glass (despite the hot day!) and were definitely coming to the 2013 Festival. They were delighted to learn that many of the exhibitors were local people, but were impressed that the Festival is attracting exhibitors from interstate. They were genuinely interested in the work of the Festival and a lot of brochures were distributed!

In January and early February 2013, the Festival committee will run mount the awards display four times at local venues, each time highlighting and promoting the work of Festival exhibitors and encouraging people come and see more for themselves.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

A bit of class for the Festival of Glass!

Janet's Bead Challenge piece
Janet's handmade bead
Festival of Glass Committee member Janet Jenkin won two prizes at the recent Melbourne Bead Expo.

In the 'Handmade Beads' competition, Janet won first prize for a single hand-made bead; and in the 'Bead Challenge', Janet won second prize in the popular vote. (Each piece is featured in this article.) As if that wasn't enough, Janet also won the Member's Prize for selling the most raffle tickets for the Expo!

This gives just a hint at the talent that's assembled in the Committee for the 2013 Festival of Glass and, therefore, of the likely quality of the event!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Snow in February, anyone?!

Snow dome collection: Brendan McNight
The Festival of Glass Committee would like to present some snow at the 2013 Festival on 17 February 2013, but we suspect that the weather might be against us!

As a compromise, we'd like to present a display of 'snow domes' - glass hemispheres full of water that create a 'snowstorm' over a miniature landscape when they're tipped upside down. Preliminary hunting on the internet hasn't turned up any promising sites, so if anyone knows anyone who collects snow domes and would be willing to lend their collection to the Festival, do please get in touch. If the past two Festivals are anything to go by, an audience of 6,000-plus will admire their collection!

We'd also like to present a display of glass paperweights. Despite promises each year that we're about to enter the paperless office, brisk winds continue to rustle and shuffle our memos, letters, etc., sending us reaching for anything to hold them down. Glass paperweights are superb examples of the artistry and craft of glass, so once again - if anyone knows anyone who collects paper weights and would be willing to lend them to the Festival, do please get in touch.

It's show and tell time!

The Festival of Glass Committee has been invited to present a display about the Festival to the City of Greater Geelong's Community Arts & Festivals Grants Ceremony in mid-December.

The City of Greater Geelong has supported the Festival of Glass consistently since it started in 2011, as has local councillor Rod Macdonald. The council invested significantly in the Festival of Glass in 2011 and 2012 and will be a major investor in the 2013 Festival.

The Committee appreciates the council's confidence in the Festival and is looking forward to presenting its display. We've been told that,  'there is no real size constraint, as we have plenty of space', so if anyone knows where we can hire a glass zeppelin, do let us know!

The ceremony will be at 5.30 for 6.00 pm formalities on Tuesday 11 December 2012 at Osbourne House, Swinburne Street, North Geelong. Whether you're a FoG fan or would like to learn more about the Festival, we'd love to see you there.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Festival of Glass diversifies

The committee organising the 2013 Festival of Glass  intends to offer Festival visitors a greater diversity of glass-related events than it has done before.

Building on the success of the 2011 and 2012 Festivals (each attracted over 6,000 visitors), the committee is organising a series of glass-related events, including a Bottleneck Guitar Night, a Wineglass Music Lunch and the inaugural Australian Marbles Championship! Each event will be held at a local venue (e.g. a restaurant, a winery), offering local businesses a commercial stake in the Festival's success. They will join the big glass 'expo' which will, once again, be at the heart of the Festival of Glass.

If you have ideas for an event and would like to help to organise it, please contact the Festival committee c/o DCSCA (see below). If you don't have a specific suggestion but would like to help to organise an event, the Festival committee wants to hear from you!

Mid-year Festival preview
On August 8, the 2013 Festival of Glass will be previewed to potential sponsors and exhibitors and to the local media. The preview will be held at SpringDale Neighbourhood Centre in Drysdale High Street at 7.00 p.m., as part of a DCSCA public meeting. The event will feature a raffle, with prizes of glass jewellery and sculpture donated by exhibitors at the 2012 Festival. Please come along and make yourself known to on of the committee members - you'll be very welcome!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Sliding between glass and guitars

In 2013, the Festival of Glass will feature a greater diversity of events than it has done previously, offering visitors greater insights into the multi-faceted world of glass.

The first of the new events will be a Bottleneck Guitar Night at the Harvest Moon Café in Portarlington Road. While many guitarists create notes by pressing on the frets of their instrument, bottleneck guitarists create notes by sliding the cut-off neck of a glass bottle up and down their strings. Some use a modification of the original bottleneck - a metal, plastic or resin tube - but the principle remains the same.

The Festival of Glass attracted more than 6,000 visitors in 2011 and 6,500 in 2012, showing that there is great public interest in the world glass and plenty of glass artists, artisans and craftspeople doing great things with glass. On the Bottleneck Guitar Night, it will be guitarists' turn to show what they can do with glass!

The date and time of the event are being confirmed - keep watching this space!

Here are some examples of bottleneck guitar playing:
Bob Brozman playing Highway 49 Blues using a glass bottleneck:

Roy Rogers playing Avalanche using a plastic bottleneck:

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

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Planning the 2013 Festival of Glass!

The 2013 Festival of Glass organising committee is on fire as it plans an even better Festival next year!

Each year, we learn more about running a successful Festival. We have spoken to many people - locally and further afield - who attended the 2012 Festival of Glass and most of them commented on the range of talents that were present and we certainly intend to make that diversity a continuing feature of the Festival of Glass. We are looking at holding the 2013 Festival of Glass at a brand new venue in the centre of Drysdale. While not as big as the 2012 Festival's venue, it has many advantages. Expect to hear more about this in future updates.

Using the evaluations The evaluations that we received this year from exhibitors and from visitors have been a great help in planning the 2013 Festival of Glass. Here are just some of the ideas and suggestions that we'll use in our planning:
  • The heat! If you were at the 2012 Festival, you'll remember that it happened on a particularly hot day that made life uncomfortable for many. We can't control the weather, but we are making plans to deal with similar conditions.
  • Seating. With more than sixty stalls to walk around, people need to take the weight off their feet occasionally and we will increase the amount of seating - both indoor and outdoor.
  • Parking. We will ensure that parking space is set aside specifically for visitors with disabilities.
  • The Competition. We will revamp the competition significantly, including clearer guidelines and criteria and earlier cut-off dates. There will be lots more on this in future updates.
  • Donated items. People's generosity in donating items for the raffle was quite overwhelming and we could have handled things more efficiently. This aspect of the Festival is also undergoing a revamp to ensure that donors benefit from the publicity around the Festival.
  • Trestle tables. Hiring upwards of fifty trestle tables cost us a lot of money and transporting them to and from the venue took a LOT of time and energy! We know that many exhibitors have their own portable tables and chairs, which they use at their various public events, so we will encourage exhibitors at the 2013 Festival of Glass to bring their own - if possible, with pads on the feet to protect the venue's floor. (We will encourage exhibitors to bring a rubber wheeled trolley to move their equipment - again, to protect the venue's floor - and to ensure that their electrical equipment is safe.)
A mid-year preview On 8 August 2012 in Drysdale, the Festival organising committee will preview the 2013 Festival of Glass to potential sponsors and exhibitors and the local media. The preview will be part of a Drysdale Clifton Springs Community Association public meeting and it will feature a raffle with items donated to the 2012 Festival as prizes. More details will be released closer to the date. If you would like to be part of this event, please contact us (Mail: P.O. Box 581, Drysdale, Vic. 3222. E-mail:

For up-to-date information about the 2013 Festival of Glass, please visit our web site ( and our blog (

Doug Carson
President, Drysdale & Clifton Springs Community Association Inc.
Chair, Festival of Glass sub-committee

Monday, February 27, 2012

Success consolidated!

The second annual Festival of Glass on Sunday February 19 in Drysdale attracted more than 6,000 people - a slight increase on the 2011 attendance.

Doug Carson, who chairs the Festival of Glass committee, is very pleased with the attendance. 'It shows that the Festival can attract a very large crowd consistently', he said. 'The Festival committee had no idea just how popular a Festival of Glass would be and so we were delighted and amazed with the attendance at the inaugural festival in 2011. We wondered how many people came just out of curiosity and whether the novelty would wear off. Well, this year's attendance shows that the Festival isn't just a novelty but is, instead, a strong new player in the world of glass. We're especially pleased that the success of the 2011 Festival encouraged some of this year's exhibitors to participate. For some of them, this is the first time that they've "gone public" with their work.'

The Festival of Glass is the only one of its kind in Australia and the 2012 Festival attracted almost twice as many exhibitors, from further afield, as last year's. Several exhibitors captured visitors' attention with demonstrations of their glass art and craft. 'People really like to watch people working with glass', said Doug Carson, 'So the Festival committee will encourage all exhibitors in the 2013 Festival to demonstrate their skills.'

Exhibitors pleased
Twenty three exhibitors (i.e. around half) at the 2012 Festival of Glass completed a short evaluation form. All of them said that they had benefited from the Festival; almost all (91%) felt that the Festival committee had communicated well with them; and almost all (91%) were happy with their particular site at the Festival, although some (8.7%) would have liked better ventilation. (Anyone who attended the Festival on what was a hot Sunday would be surprised that so few exhibitors were concerned about the ventilation!)

Of the twenty three exhibitors who completed an evaluation form, almost a third asked for improved ventilation/cooling next time; and around ten per cent made suggestions about the venue's lighting and decor and about the food services.

The Festival committee is grateful to those exhibitors who completed an evaluation form. It has taken note of each of these suggestions and will address them in the 2013 Festival. An analysis of the 240 visitors' evaluation forms will be posted on this blog in the coming days.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Wathaurong Art & Glass

On the day of the 2012 Festival of Glass, the Festival committee will say 'Welcome back!' to the Wathaurong Glass and Art company*.

Wathaurong Glass and Art was an early and keen supporter of the inaugural Festival of Glass in 2011 and had a very successful day! The company was formed to express aboriginal art in glass and the staff create their unique products using a wide variety of techniques, including kiln forming and sandblasting.

The company is owned by Wathaurong Aboriginal Co-operative and all the staff are aboriginal. All profits go to the Wathaurong community and to the broader community.

Wathaurong Glass and Art has a rolling catalogue of products, with new designs displacing older ones. Current products expressing aboriginal art include platters, bowls, awards and trophies; slumped glass windows and doors; and kitchen & bathroom splashbacks. Standard designs with cultural connotations can be modified to meet particular requirements; and the company is happy to make products to order. The company also creates commercial glass products with no cultural connotations such as lenses, corporate logos & kiln formed textured glass.

Wathaurong Glass and Art is at 16 Rodney Road, North Geelong 3215 (03-5272-2881). It delivers to Melbourne and most of Victoria and can arrange delivery for the rest of Australia. You can see their stock and shop online at their web site: (from where the images in this posting were taken). Some of the products are featured in small videos on YouTube - accessible via the web site.

* 'Wathaurong' (aka 'wathawurrung' or 'wada warrung') is the name of a recognised aboriginal tribe consisting of 25 groups (clans). The boundaries of Wathaurong are from Geelong (Victoria), North to Werribee River, North West to Bacchus Marsh, South West to Cressy, South East to Colac, East to Lorne & North back to Geelong encompassing the Bellarine Peninsula.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Glance Twice

Margaret Glance, owner of Glance Twice jewellery studio/gallery in Apollo Bay, will be one of the fifty exhibitors at the 2012 Festival of Glass.

Margaret was an exhibitor at the inaugural Festival of Glass in 2011 and her success then has led her to return. 'I had a very successful day in terms of sales and afterwards I had lots of follow-up calls and e-mails from people who'd seen me at the Festival' said Margaret.

Margaret's success at the 2011 Festival encouraged her to open her jewellery studio/gallery Glance Twice in Apollo Bay in June 2011. 'I had started fusing and slumping glass to make bowls, platters and vases, then started making glass jewellery for myself and my friends,' said Margaret. 'I had been thinking about opening the business for a while and my success at the Festival of Glass convinced me that I could make a go of it.'

Glance Twice is right on the main street of Apollo Bay above a coffee shop. Visitors can watch Margaret at work and buy her unique, hand-made jewellery as they take in the wonderful ocean views.

Residents and visitors in Apollo Bay can find Glance Twice at Level 1, 57-59 Great Ocean Road, Apollo Bay 3233 (E-mail:

Promoting local glass-related businesses
Margaret Glance's success is good news to Festival organisers the Drysdale & Clifton Springs Community Association (DCSCA), because it shows that the Festival can promote local glass-related business and employment. To this end, DCSCA is exploring the idea of holding a meeting soon after the 2012 Festival, to outline various ways in which of local glass artists, craftspeople and businesses could take their present work a step forward. For example, participants with a glass-related hobby could learn how to turn it into a business; participants who are small businesses already could explore different ways to expand; and larger businesses could explore ways to capitalise their resources and experiences through partnerships with other related businesses in the area.

In a related move, DCSCA is asking the City of Greater Geelong to offer small art and craft business on the Bellarine a tailored business support programme including, for example, advice and mentoring, short-term rates relief and assistance to explore new markets. Such a support program could link with the 'Made in Geelong' initiative (which offers small businesses short-term leases on empty shops in central Geelong), enabling small art and craft businesses on the Bellarine - individually or in partnerships - to test their economic viability in a town centre.

Both the post-Festival meeting and the business support program are still discussion points at present, but progress will be reported on this blog.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Building on success!

The 2012 Festival of Glass has attracted well over fifty exhibitors from across the range of glass art, craft and manufacturing, with a month still to go.

The 2012 Festival of Glass happens on Sunday 19 February 2012 between 10.00 a.m. and 5.00 p.m. at the Bellarine Basketball Stadium, Peninsula Drive, off Anderson's Road, Drysdale (Melway 470 F3). Admission is free. The Festival will feature mosaics, jewellery, glass beads and bead-making, stained glass, sculptures, glazing, slumped glass, ceramics, solar panels, glass etching and sandblasting, leadlighting and displays of historical and collectible glass.

Festival visitors can participate in:
• demonstrations of glass working techniques
• short courses in glass arts and crafts
• a Festival raffle (prizes worth more than $1,500, donated by exhibitors)
• glass-related competitions
• an 'Old Glass Roadshow', where experts assess the value of glass heirlooms.

Certainly bigger - hopefully better
The Festival of Glass is unique in Australia and joins a handful of equivalent events worldwide (e.g. Wanganui, NZ; Houston, USA; Stourbridge, UK). The 2012 Festival builds on the success of last year's inaugural Festival of Glass, which attracted 30 exhibitors and around 6,000 visitors to Drysdale's Potato Shed. That overwhelming response led the Festival committee to move the Festival to a much bigger venure - a good decision, in light of the enormously increased support by exhibitors so far!

The City of Greater Geelong has invested $6,000 in the 2012 Festival of Glass and the Bendigo Bank has invested $2,500. Both organisations supported the inaugural Festival last year.

Visitors to the 2012 Festival of Glass can enjoy a full day out in Drysdale. Be entertained by local musicians as you taste local wines and foods; visit the monthly Drysdale Craft Market, which happens on the same day; and ride the historic Bellarine Peninsula Railway, which runs all day between Drysdale & Queenscliff.

Doug Carson: 0418 371 308 E-mail:

Web site:

Illustration: Vickey Crowley-Clough