Saturday, February 25, 2017

Murano glass master attracts artists from across Australia

Glass artists from across Australia have come to the Bellarine Peninsula for two weeks to learn glass blowing and sculpting with master glass artist Davide Penso.

Glass master Davide Penso (R) demonstrates a technique
Davide is from Murano, Venice and he is Artist in Residence at the 2017 Festival of Glass. He is running three three-day classes: one for newcomers to glass art and two for experienced glass artists. The classes have attracted glass artists from all six states - Western Australia, South Australia, New South Wales, Queensland and Tasmania, as well as Victoria.

“Glass art classes have always been an integral part of the Festival of Glass”, said Festival convenor Doug Carson. “At the Festival Expo, people see a wide variety of glass art together with demonstrations of how to make it. Then, after the Expo, they can attend a class to make their own glass art. We were delighted that Davide accepted our invitation to the 2017 Festival of Glass, because Murano has been famous for centuries for its glass art.” 

Peter Minson at the 2016 Festival
“The Festival aims to increase local glass artists’ skills and to encourage newcomers to try glass art”, said Festival committee member Patrick Hughes. “We do that by bringing in renowned glass artists whom local artists may not otherwise see. Last year we brought in Mark Eliott from Sydney and Peter Minson from Canberra; this year we’ve brought Davide over from Murano. We also run classes by local glass artists, whose skills complement our visitors’.”
Mark Eliott at the 2016 Festival

Davide Penso’s classes run until 1 March and he returns to Murano on 2 March.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Glass Expo crowds defy storms

Crowds defied unexpected thunderstorms to enjoy the 2017 Festival of Glass Expo on Sunday 19 February at Drysdale’s Christian College.

The Expo showcased the glass art of fifty artists and businesses and encouraged visitors to become glass artists for a day. They could learn about mosaics with Montage Mosaics, create mosaic pavers with experts from Bunnings, or create leadlighting with RuMa Leadlighting. They could string beads with the Bead Society of Victoria, weave glass beads into patterns with Dax Bead Art and create glass jewellery and sculptures with Klassay Glass Art and bead maker Pauline Delaney.

“The weather doesn’t seem to bother glass lovers”, said Festival convenor Doug Carson. “Thousands of people attended each of the first six Festival Expos despite very hot weather. Nonetheless, we were delighted at the forecast twenty degrees for today, but even the forecasters didn’t foresee thunderstorms! Still, around five thousand people defied the weather, came to the Expo and enjoyed themselves.”

Two especially popular features of the Expo were the annual Glass Art Awards, which attracted over thirty entries and the draw for the 2017 Treasure Hunt. “Well over a hundred hopeful hunters entered the draw”, said Treasure Hunt organiser Diane Schofield. “It was a happy event, because almost all of them went away with a prize.” The 2017 Treasure Hunt was launched in early January, supported by twenty eight local businesses.

Murano comes to Drysdale
A special Expo attraction was the glass blowing demonstrations by glass master Davide Penso, from Murano, Venice, renowned for centuries for its glass art.
Davide Penso creating glass art

Davide is Artist in Residence at the 2017 Festival and he starred in the sell-out “Twilight Flames” at Leura Park Estate winery on February 18, where he blew and sculpted glass and talked about life on Murano.

The face behind the flame!

In the ten days after the Expo, Davide will run classes for beginning and experienced glass artists; and these will be followed by classes by local glass artists.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Old glass a potent draw

The second Historic Bottle Evaluation in Drysdale was so popular that it looks set to become an annual event.

The Bellarine Historical Society ran the event on Sunday 12 February at Drysdale’s Courthouse Museum, as part of the 2017 Festival of Glass. People were invited to bring their old bottles to be assessed by glass valuers Paul and David Bruce, of online glass auction firm ABCR.

Hopeful faces at the Historic Bottle Evaluation
Attendance was much higher than expected. “Around seventy people came just in the first hour, which is more than came to the whole of last year’s five-hour event”, said Paul Bruce.

“One visitor in particular enjoyed the event” said Paul, “when he learnt that he owned a bottle that was likely to fetch between $2,000 and $3,000 at auction!”

Festival of Glass Convenor Doug Carson said that he was especially pleased that the Bottle Evaluation was so popular. “The success of this event – like this year’s Treasure Hunt - shows that collaborating with the Festival of Glass brings direct benefits. We’d love to talk with other local groups and organisations about running joint events.”

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Treasure Hunt boosts local businesses

Businesses involved in the 2017 Festival of Glass Treasure Hunt report that it is bringing them more visitors.

Scarlet and Lilly at Montana's, Portarlington
Twenty eight business in Curlewis, Drysdale and Portarlington have commissioned pieces of glass art from local artists as prizes for the Treasure Hunt, which is in its second year.

Treasure Hunters who spot each business's glass 'Tiny Treasure' get their entry form stamped. When they have collected ten stamps, they can enter the draw for the Treasure Hunt prizes, which will happen at the Festival of Glass Expo on Sunday 19 February at Drysdale's Christian College.

Treasure Hunt organiser Diane Schofield has been talking to the participating businesses. "Most of the businesses - whether this is their first or second year - are very happy with how the Treasure Hunt is going", she said. "Many more people are coming to see them than usual, especially during the school holidays, with lots more families becoming Treasure Hunters."

"This year's Treasure Hunters have been very enthusiastic", Schofield added. "Several of them have had their entry form stamped by all twenty eight businesses, rather than the ten they need to enter the draw. Still, it's good for the businesses!"

Featured Festival sponsor – Mannerim Stables A passion for flowers and horses
542-580 Swan Bay Road, Marcus Hill
Victoria 3222   0413 945 021

The Festival of Glass committee is pleased to welcome back Mannerim Stables in its second year as a sponsor of the Festival’s Treasure Hunt and we thank them for their support.

The folk at Mannerim Stables have been farming flowers for over thirty years, supplying cut flowers to the Melbourne Wholesale Flower Market and wholesales bulbs nationally. For the last seventeen years, the family has also bred Quarter Horses and three years ago they built the Stables from recycled stone and wood to showcase their horses to prospective buyers.

In the last year, the farm has been open to the public, offering ‘field to vase’ and ‘paddock to plate’ experiences. On offer are fresh cut flowers, chemical-free vegetables, free range eggs, potted flowering bulbs and flowering bulbs for autumn & spring.

There are also pick-your-own-flowers days. The Stables provide cutting tools and a few baskets and then it’s over to you to pick your fill of flowers. Mannerim Stables is a working farm (portable toilets & unpaved tracks), so ensure that you wear sturdy, comfortable shoes.

Reviews of Mannerim Stables have been consistently positive and when you visit, pack a picnic, because there is a lovely grassed area just waiting for you to sit on and enjoy the rural atmosphere!

Featured Festival sponsor – Parkers Steakhouse (i) Steak's the star of the show
7 Palmerston Street, Drysdale, Victoria 3222                        (03) 5251 5551
Open 6.00pm to 9.00pm Sundays to Thursdays; 6.00pm to 10.00pm Fridays and Saturdays. Fully licensed; no BYO.

Following the success of Parkers Steakhouse in Geelong, the owners have opened a second restaurant in Palmerston Street, Drysdale, on the Bellarine Peninsula.

Patrons come from Drysdale, Geelong, Melbourne and further afield for the friendly, relaxed ambience. Entrees include grilled beef sausage, grilled halloumi cheese or lamb loin chops; and there are decadent deserts such as Double Chocolate Hot Fudge Cake and Warm Sticky Date Pudding.

The stars of the Parkers show, however, are the steaks! Simple, boldly flavoured 28-day aged T-bone or certified Australian Angus eye fillet steaks come from Australia’s best pasture-raised cattle. Non-steak eaters can delight in the delicious Atlantic salmon. An extensive wine list and knowledgeable, attentive staff round out the whole Parkers experience.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Turning old bottles into cash

The Festival of Glass and the Bellarine Historical Society are collaborating to present an historic bottle evaluation as part of the 2017 Festival.

Anyone with an old bottle or two is welcome to bring them to Drysdale’s Old Courthouse Museum on Sunday 12 February between 10.00am and 3.00pm, to be valued by Paul and David Bruce - distinguished glass auctioneers and valuers, from the online firm ABCR Auctions.
The record-breaking bottles

This is the second time the event has run. Two bottles that were brought to last year’s event fetched record prices at a subsequent online auction. One was a Les Bray St. Arnaud ginger beer bottle, made between 1900 and 1918, which sold for a record $650; the other was a hand blown wine bottle dated 1740 from Oxford University’s Magdalene College, which sold for a record $980!

Neither of the owners of those bottles had any idea that they were so valuable, so anyone with old bottles stashed away shouldn’t just dismiss them. Bring them to the evaluation and prepare for a possible treat!

Featured Festival sponsor – GC Downard (i) Personal, professional and ethical
4b Brown Street, Portarlington, Victoria 2332
Tel.      (03) 5259 1103                0409 502 620
GC Downard Real Estate is a new, family operated real estate agency providing professional, personalised and ethical real estate and property management services to the Bellarine Peninsula.

The agency specialises in residential, commercial and industrial sales, auctions, leasing and property management; and the staff know that the best results come from skill, experience, local knowledge and specialist service - not from size or market share.

GC Downard is a member of the Real Estate Institute of Victoria and its experienced staff will assist you with all your real estate needs. So whether you are buying, selling or leasing, contact GC Downard today!


Featured Festival sponsor – Wish Pond (ii) For you or someone special to you
4a Brown Street, Portarlington, Victoria 3223           03 5259 2770
Hours: 8.30am – 4.00pm.

The Festival of Glass committee is pleased to welcome Wish Pond to the Treasure Hunt for the first time and we thank them for their enthusiastic support.

Wish Pond's double frontage
Wish Pond’s cafe and showroom combine to make it something of a one stop shop for locals and visitors alike and owners Heather and Chris are known for their friendly service. Its cafe offers friendly service to 16 people indoors, plus more ‘alfresco’ outside, with a menu that includes soft drinks and coffees, light lunches and Devonshire teas.

In the spacious Wish Pond showroom, you’ll find gifts and souvenirs for you or for someone special to you. They include clothing, scarfs, cards, cosmetics, scented candles, jewellery, hand-blow glassware and inspiring plaques and poems.

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Festival’s profile growing in Portarlington

The Festival of Glass has increased its profile in Portarlington in recent weeks.

The Festival’s Treasure Hunt was pleased to welcome several Portarlington businesses, which are promoting the Festival enthusiastically to Treasure Hunters who pay them a visit. (Go to the Festival web site to discover which local businesses are Treasure Hunt sponsors.)

Festival committee members did some spruiking at the Portarlington Mussel Festival on 14 January and at the monthly Portarlington market on 29 January, giving out leaflets and talking to visitors about the various events in the 2017 Festival of Glass. 
Finally, thanks to the team at the Portarlington Community Information Booth Inc., which is helping to promote the Festival with brochures and a video at Portarlington’s information centre in the Newcombe Street rotunda.

Featured Festival sponsor – Bendigo Bank (iii)
The Festival of Glass committee is grateful to the Bendigo Bank, which has supported the Festival since it started in 2011. The Bank is now one of our major sponsors and the Festival Committee is always happy to acknowledge its contribution to the Festival’s success. Without the Bendigo Bank’s involvement, we’d have a very different Festival of Glass.

 The Bendigo Bank offers retail banking products and services to more than 1.4 million retail customers through its 400 plus branches and agencies. Its focus on customer and community dates back more than 150 years and makes it a popular alternative to larger banks. The Bendigo Bank believes that successful communities contribute to successful businesses, so the bank engages with communities to explore how it can contribute to their prosperity.

Bendigo Wealth is the bank’s wealth management division. Drawing on more than 150 years of banking, investment and lending expertise, it’s the home of the group’s cash, margin lending, managed funds and superannuation activities.

The bank’s Community Telco Australia is one of Australia’s largest regional telecommunications companies. Its products for home and business include fixed and mobile phones, internet services, video conferencing, data networks and app development, all backed by high levels of personal service. In keeping with the Bendigo Banks’ ethos, Community Telco Australia invests its profits into local communities.

Featured Festival sponsor – helloworld Drysdale (i)
Shop 3, 3 Wyndham Street, Drysdale VIC 3222                   5202 2718
The Festival of Glass committee is grateful to helloworld Drysdale for supporting the Festival and also for supporting the “Welcome to Drysdale” mural, which the Festival created in the town centre.

 helloworld Drysdale owner Carol McCarthy has worked in Geelong for 32 years and has owned the agency for the past 17 years. Her agency specialises in personally escorted group tours - perfect for solo travellers and for those wanting to meet like-minded people. Recent tour destinations have included Canada & Alaska, Japan, Sri Lanka, Europe, Africa, China, Cambodia and Vietnam.

Cruising is another helloworld Drysdale specialty and the agency is accredited by the Cruise Lines International Agency Association.

The staff at helloworld Drysdale have decades of travel experience between them. More importantly, they are passionate travellers themselves - between them, they have covered just about every holiday destination! They would love to share their considerable knowledge and experience with clients, offer advice and help to plan the next adventure.

Whatever your dream destination, start the journey at helloworld Drysdale!

Get the latest Festival news
On Facebook:
On the web site:
On the blog (you’re here!):

Volunteering at the Festival
Our “Friends of the Festival” online newsletter gives the latest Festival news specifically for our volunteers. To become a Friend of the Festival, please send an e-mail to
Put “Festival Friends” in the subject bar and put your name and address in the body of the e-mail.