The world of glass showcased at an international festival

Glass artists Eliot Walker and Bethany Wood in their new studio with the pieces Sheeple and Si a landscape in fusion

The staff at Red House Glass Cone, in Wordsley, Stourbridge, are preparing for a busy four days of activity as part of this year’s International Glass Festival.

From August 26-30, exhibits, talks, craft activities, glass-making demonstrations and the launch of a new exhibition space are on offer at Red House Glass Cone.

The highlight of the site will be the launch of the Crystal Mile Contemporary Gallery and Hot Shop by glass artists Bethany Wood and Elliot Walker on Friday August 26th.

The new studio will house the couple, while the gallery will allow them to exhibit their own work as well as sell studio glass made by cone and makers around the world.

Both Bethany and Elliot are experienced glassmakers and have in the past made pieces for cruise liners, film sets and glass collectors.

Artist Amy Cushing will present her British Glass Biennale exhibition. Photo: International Glass Festival

Over the weekend, visitors will be able to watch live glassblowing demonstrations and have the option of booking glassmaking classes.

They can see exhibitions such as the British Glass Biennale, a collection of the most interesting, diverse and exceptional glass art made in the UK in the past three years.

There will also be an oriental touch to the festival as it hosts Expanding Horizons, an invitational exhibition of 34 artists from Korea, Japan and China.

The festival committee spent over two years researching artists and selecting works that they considered to have technical excellence and creative expression in a range of different glass techniques.

Attendees will be able to blow their own glass goblet with Sung-Hwan Hong and Annaliisa Alastalo. Photo: International Glass Festival
People who attend the festival will be able to make their own traditional Korean norigae. Photo: International Glass Festival
The Korean style of Hot Hanbok and Cool Glass will be showcased in a fashion show. Photo: International Glass Festival

A number of them will be on display, along with demonstrations and opportunities to learn Korean glassblowing techniques.

There will be an exhibition of the contemporary glass society. Photo: International Glass Festival

The Contemporary Glass Society celebrated the Commonwealth Games by displaying unique small glass works from 100 members to represent the diversity and richness of the 54 countries that make up the Commonwealth.

The artists were invited to take an imaginative mysterious and magical tour and create a postcard depicting their uniqueness in the form of a small piece of glass vacation keepsake.

Another highlight will be a Plasma art presentation by American artist Wayne Strattman.

Wayne’s Plasma Light Art Sculptures are made from flame-worked borosilicate glass.

Air is then evacuated from the hollow glass forms, which are then filled with inert gases, then electrified with a high voltage, high frequency power supply, the gases form incandescent light and plasma filaments.

Wayne Strattman will give a presentation on plasma art. Photo: International Glass Festival

Councilor Simon Phipps, Dudley Counci Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Enterprise, said: “We are delighted to be participating again in this year’s International Glass Festival.

“There is a huge program of events and activities, with the cone offering craft sessions, workshops, exhibitions, tours and talks.

“Whether you’re a glass enthusiast or just want something fun to do with the family, it’s a perfect day out.”

In addition to the opening of the new gallery, the Red House Glass Cone will hold a number of glass melting, glass blowing and craft workshops and there will also be a chance to take a site tour

There will be an introduction to glassblowing with Martin Andrews. Photo: International Glass Festival

The historic cone is currently closed to visitors pending renovations, but will be specially open to limited groups for safe and informative tours.

Other events over the weekend will include a pop-up exhibition of glass makers, a local art conference, displays of family crafts and the opportunity to learn how to make a lotus flower and papyrus art. .

For more information on the International Glass Festival calendar of events, visit ifg.org.uk/exhibitions.

Darcy J. Skinner