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Published November 19th 2012
Unique and exquisite glass art at it's finest
On our fourth trip down South to enjoy Floriade in Canberra, we decided to see what other little gems could be found around the place. We've seen the wonderful Canberra Zoo, had a day of learning and a flashback or two to our childhood on our trip to Questacon (it's for big kids too!), so this year I had a little investigate and found the Canberra Glassworks.
Established in the The Kingston Powerhouse, listed as an historical building in 1983, it was a welcome solution to the many options that were discussed for this landmark since it's 1957 closure. It's fate ranged from demolition to housing or warehouse space, but with the building being a landmark of industrial and architectural significance, in the mid eighties the possibility came about of the space being utilised as an Australian Cultural Centre. Finally in 2007, built and funded by the ACT Government, the Canberra Glassworks was born. It is the only cultural centre in Australia that is entirely dedicated to contemporary glass art.
The Canberra Glassworks offers not only a unique experience for visitors, but is an essential venue for glass artists to further their craft. It provides vital, state of the art equipment, intensive workshops taught by leading glass artists, mentorship programs and studio space to work in. All generating the opportunity to develop their techniques and creativity. For appreciators of the art of glasswork, this is the first port of call to immerse yourself in it.
Visitors can happily mosey around the exhibits, take tours, interact and learn about glass making and the heritage of Canberra's Kingston Powerhouse. You can also watch glass artists live, as they create their works of art. If you're lucky, you can even be involved in a hands-on experience working with glass at the artists instruction.
The glass art is utterly exquisite and it is completely baffling as to how these artists can create these pieces. If I had a fortune I most definitely would have snapped up a few beautifully crafted items. The pieces are worth every penny when you know how much work, passion, physical exertion and dedication goes into them. For us with smaller wallets, there is a lovely gift shop with items that are much more affordable, making thoughtful and unique gifts for others or, of course, for yourself. If I actually needed paper-weights, this would surely be the place to acquire some, they were just stunning.
The Canberra Glassworks is located lakeside on Wentworth Avenue in Kingston. Entry is by donation, so you can give as much as you can afford, and it is open between 10am and 4pm, Wednesday to Sunday. It has plenty of parking and cafe's to grab something to eat after a nice wander around the grounds. If you visit on a Sunday, you can also catch the bustling and bountiful Old Bus Depot Markets which are at the same lakeside location.
We had a great time exploring the markets, especially as there were oodles of food stalls which certainly caught my eye. Many treats to be had, of which we did indeed delve into.