Illuminated States: 2015 Ausglass Conference

The 2015 Ausglass conference, States of Illumination, will be held in Adelaide from Thursday, February 12 to Sunday, February 15. Jane Llewellyn speaks to Nick Mount, one of the program co-ordinators.

Since the inaugural Ausglass conference was held in 1978, the Australian glass community has come together every two years to connect, communicate and share ideas. The 2015 conference, States of Illumination, will be held in Adelaide from Thursday, February 12 to Sunday, February 15. Nick Mount (one of Australia’s preeminent glass artists) and his wife Pauline have coordinated a program of lectures, workshops, demonstrations, exhibitions, parties and an auction to finish. Mount’s long career and his passion for South Australia’s glass community puts him in great stead to organise the weekend-long conference. “The main idea behind it is to draw attention, to pull artists together from across the country and to focus attention on the glass arts in Australia, to show everybody how great we are and to provide social occasions for everyone to get together, communicate and exchange ideas,” says Mount. The title chosen for the conference, States of Illumination, signifies the inclusion of a national glass community, as well as an international contingent from countries such as China, the United States, New Zealand and Sweden. ‘Illumination’ was chosen because this year is the UNESCO Year of Light, and States of Illumnination has been recognised as a partner for the Year of Light by UNESCO. “That’s what we are about,” says Mount. “Light and illumination. Also, glass is always and so much about light. It draws light in, freezes light and it gives light colour. A lot of us who work in glass have a great focus and concern for light as material, and light and enlightenment is the extra sub title for the conference.” The conference consists of three days and three different topics. The first day is ‘Light as Material’, the second ‘Illumination of Culture through Glass’, and the third ‘The Day of Enlightenment’. There is a series of exhibitions across the state at various galleries coinciding with the conference. Mount is showing work at BMG Gallery alongside Richard Whiteley, and the JamFactory has a major exhibition: Glass: art design architecture. Another highlight is the keynote lecture given by broadcaster, filmmaker, author, archaeologist, controversialist, social commentator and satirist Phillip Adams. Worth Gallery is hosting the Ausglass conference exhibition at Fisher Jeffries, level 1, 19 Gouger Street, Adelaide. The show includes 64 glass artists from around Australia, New Zealand and China. It will be opened by Gabriella Bisetto, the Head of the Ceramic and Glass Department at the University of South Australia on Thursday, February 12. Glass has long been part of the arts landscape in South Australia and has had continuous support from the government since 1973 when the JamFactory was established under the premiership of Don Dunstan. Mount is very passionate about the industry and is positive about its future. “We have had a great supportive group and community and government here in South Australia for so many years; it has really paid off with the diversity and the richness of the glass arts,” he says. “It’s an amazing thing for artists to be working here; it’s a privilege to be working in South Australian glass at the moment.”   Ausglass Conference: States of illumination Thursday, February 12 to Sunday, February 15 Image: Jess Dare, Implosion Series, sterling silver and flame-work glass. Photograph: Will Nolan. Zu Design.

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