The Conference: The CoLab
Together the New Zealand Society of Artists in Glass (NZSAG) and Ausglass Ltd (The Australian
Association of Glass Artists); the principal bodies for the promotion of contemporary glass in New
Zealand and Australia, are hosting a joint conference titled The CoLab. It will be held in Whanganui,
New Zealand from the 15th to 17th of February 2019. The CoLab will explore in theory and in
practice, the multifaceted nature of collaboration.
To explore the different aspects of collaboration, the three-day conference will comprise of
lectures, lecture-demonstrations, exhibitions and public events. Together, both committees have
selected twenty high profile national and international contemporary artists for the conference
whose practices demonstrate different aspects of collaboration and innovation with glass as the
principal focus. This includes cross disciplinary practice, the sharing or blending of methodology and
different cultural approaches to making.
The CoLab Conference: Friday the 15th - Sunday the 17th of February 2019
Public Welcoming Event: New Zealand Glassworks – Thursday the 14th of February 5pm – 7pm.
Beach Furnace & Dig In, Castlecliff Beach – Sunday the 17th of February 2pm – 5pm
Workshops – Pre-conference – 11th - 13th of February 2019, Post conference 18th - 24th of February
Expected Number of Delegates – 130
Number of artists involved – 20
Whanganui War Memorial Centre
New Zealand Glassworks (NZG)
iSite Gallery Whanganui
Various exhibitions are scheduled leading up to and during the conference, complementing the
theme of Collaboration. A combined Ausglass/NZSAG members’ exhibition will be held at the
Sarjeant iSite gallery. A selection of the invited international artists will be showcased as part of the
Sarjeants summer exhibition series in their main gallery, also featuring a collaborative chandelier
project facilitated by New Zealand’s own Crystal Chain Gang - a chandelier will be constructed from
multiple components made by members from both organisations. This chandelier will be composed
of blown, pressed, cast, fused, lampworked and stained glass. The Sarjeant gallery will also run
public talks to inspire and inform the glass community and public alike. Further afield Ausglass have
scheduled various exhibitions in Australia to coincide with the conference.
Castlecliff Beach Furnace:
NZSAG and Ausglass have invited Sui Jackson (AU) and Torsten Rotzch (DE) to collaborate in the
making and operation of a wood fired furnace on the main beach in Castlecliff. Torsten and Sui are
glassblowers that are passionate about building adobe furnaces; simple construction, wood fired
furnaces that can be built quickly and cheaply from locally sourced materials to blow glass. The
furnace and annealing chamber will be built from bricks salvaged from the old furnace at NZG which
was demolished earlier this year. Throughout the afternoon both local and international glass
blowers will show the public demonstrations working in this primitive style.
Castlecliff Glass Dig In:
Modelled off the tradition of the Dig In’s which occurred at Castlecliff beach in the seventies and
eighties. 100 treasures of glass art will be donated by artists and buried in individual 1metre
sections on the beach. It is envisaged that there will be objects of differing values from $20.00
upwards and also a very significant piece (the main prize). Conference delegates, public and school
groups are all intended to participate in this public event and we are collaborating with Progress
Castlecliff and local schools to this end.
New Zealand Society of Artists in Glass (NZSAG)
Established in 1980, NZSAG is a non-profit organisation consisting of artists, collectors, interested
members of the public and related institutions. Artists are represented in glass practices including:
blowing, kiln casting, flame working, fusing, stained glass, pate-de-verre, cold construction and
mixed media. The objects of the Society are to promote artistry in glass in New Zealand: to improve
glass craft standards: to educate the public concerning glass artistry and glass craft: to convene
glass shows, conferences and other events and to do any other thing for the purpose of promoting
the above objects.
Ausglass Ltd (The Australian Association of Glass Artists).
Ausglass is the foremost body for the promotion of contemporary glass in Australia.
It is an Australian not-for-profit organisation that has a passion for the artistic use of glass in all its
forms. Our members are artists, students, crafts people, collectors, galleries, suppliers, hobbyists
and businesses. We are the principal body for the promotion of glass artists and craftspeople in
Australia. Our goal is to contribute to the advancement of Australian glass art by fostering effective
communication and information exchange between its members and interested parties.
Working in New Orleans and Germany, sculptor Stephen Paul Day was chosen for The CoLab as a
cross disciplinary artist who thoroughly understands collaboration. He works both solo and within a
team; since 2000. He regularly collaborates with his wife, Sibylle Perretti in ‘Club S & S’.
Sibylle Peretti is an artist based in Cologne, Germany and New Orleans. Working in kiln formed,
engraved, painted and cast glass she creates pieces for exhibition or installation, either for herself
or collaboratively for ‘Club S & S’.
Laura Donefer lives in the Canadian wilderness. She was chosen as a prime example of collaborative
team work through her multidisciplinary glass practice, as it showcases the potential of team and
skill amalgamation of glassblowing and flameworking within a hotshop environment.
London based Katharine Coleman was chosen as her work has a strong technical collaborative
focus, as it physically requires working with glassblowers to create overlaid clear crystal forms for
her to engrave.
Ben Young’s unique and innovative large scale sculptural practice incorporates cold cast glass,
bronze casting, concrete, steel and glass cutting, and is influenced by his Bay of Plenty
surroundings. Ben will be presenting his latest collaborative project.
David Willis works out of his studio in Portland, Oregon. Using glass in a cross-disciplinary manner,
his work includes combinations of flameworking, hot blowing and sculpting, and large-scale
Christine Cholewa and Deb Jones have been working collaboratively for many years and founded
CHEB in 2012. While Cholewa and Jones maintain separate practices, the two artists work together
on public commissions and designing product together.
Illinois based artist Amy Rueffert Thibeault currently resides in Japan where she works and teaches. Working
across hot and kiln based glass, Amy explores domestic visions and juxtapositions of objects and
eras through sculptural glass.
Daniel Clayman works in large scale architectural glass and installation, in his studio in Providence,
Rhode Island. His processes and ideas feed into the collaboration process through the scale of
work, exposing delegates to a larger and more industrial way of thinking about and making glass
not often seen in New Zealand.
Erin Dickson is an artist that works architecturally and with digital technology, with a focus on
considering the emotional qualities of urban and domestic spaces. Her works range from timebased
performances to photographic glass reliefs, through to monumental sculpture and
Richard Royal is a Master Glassblower working out of his Seattle based studio. He began working as
a glass sculptor in 1978 at Pilchuck Glass School, working his way up the ranks to become one of
Dale Chihuly’s main Gaffers. His skills, knowledge of hot glass and emphasis on working as a
hotshop team speaks directly to collaboration.
Rebecca Arday is an artist and educator working in Rochester, New York, at the Moore Fire Glass
studio. Her practice speaks to collaboration on a conceptual, as well as physical scale, as she mixes
media with objects to embody her ideas and outcomes.
Rick Allen’s personal practice reflects his interest in the exploration of history, technology and the
imagination through creating curious vessels of travel. Rik also works collaboratively with his wife,
Shelley Muzylowski-Allen when teaching and demonstrating in the hotshop, and they run their own
studio businesses together.
Shelley Muzylowski Allen’s hot sculpture practice is beautiful and distinct, creating totemic animal
forms that show the influence of glass blower William Morris. Working as a hot sculptor is a
collaborative process, with the end product being dependent on the skill of and communication
within the team in which it is made.
Tom Moore will speak on diverse examples of collaboration. His practice includes the
production of short movies that are the result of collaboration between teams of glassworkers,
photographers and animators. He will discuss the idea that making itself is a collaboration between
artist and material.
The Crystal Chain Gang are Jim Dennison and Leanne Williams. They work out of their
Martinborough studio in pressed hot and cast lead crystal glass, using the chain gang metaphor to
illustrate the hard graft of teamwork to create a beautiful finished object. They work collaboratively
as a couple and within a team in life and the studio, creating their beautiful chandeliers, objet d’art
Torsten Rotzsch and Sui Jackson are glassblowers that are passionate about building adobe
furnaces; simple construction, wood fired that can be built quickly and cheaply from locally sourced
materials to blow glass. The adobe furnace will take place on Sunday 17th February the final day of
The CoLab conference and will be part of a more active, participatory and social day.
The CoLab Conference
Exploring the multifaceted nature of collaboration in glass.
A Glass First for Australasia.
The inaugural Art Glass conference titled The CoLab, brings together international glass artists and educators
to present lectures, perform demonstrations, convene panel discussions and to teach masterclasses in
Whanganui, New Zealand and beyond. Attendees will be spoiled with various glass exhibitions and interactive
public activities, augmenting this special event being held February 15 to 17, 2019.
The New Zealand Society of Artists in Glass Committee (NZSAG) and The Australian Association of Glass
Artists Board (Ausglass), have planned a dynamic three-day conference with workshops and public satellite
events in both countries. The CoLab is an excellent way to bring both communities together for both
professional development and social networking opportunities.
“Our members are already beginning to think outside the norm, and are utilising the opportunities to
work with artists from across the Tasman.” Kate Nixon (Ausglass President)
Events and exhibitions will be staged in Whanganui’s premier venues and facilities, including the War
Memorial Centre, The Sarjeant Gallery and New Zealand Glassworks. The programme features a combined
Member’s Exhibition at the iSite gallery and a summer exhibition at The Sarjeant Gallery which will include
The Colab Chandelier collaborative project and artists’ talks, open for all to enjoy. Additional public events will
activate Castlecliff beach, where The Colab will facilitate the making and operation of a Roman style beach
furnace fired by drift wood. To complement the beach furnace activity, a traditional Dig In will occur; where
100 art glass objects will be literally up for grabs in the black sand. Events in Whanganui City before, during
and after the conference have been designed to engender community involvement, outreach and education.
NZSAG and Ausglass would like to acknowledge and thank Creative New Zealand and Australia Council for
the Arts respectively. The CoLab organisers are also very grateful for the generosity and support of our local
sponsors; Whanganui and Partners, The Sarjeant Gallery, New Zealand Glassworks and Whanganui District
Carmen Simmonds (NZSAG President) / Kate Nixon (Ausglass President)
Phone: +64 21 532 959 / +61 438 884 106
Email: email@example.com / firstname.lastname@example.org
Official name spelling / Capitalisation: Our conference is officially called The CoLab. Please ensure when referencing the title that all capitals are used correctly.
Non-profit / Support:
The CoLab conference has already received support from various institutions, Governing bodies and commercial businesses:
Creative New Zealand
The Australia Council for Arts
Whanganui District Council
Whanganui & Partners
New Zealand Glassworks
“The conference itself is just the beginning of many artistic partnerships between our two groups. We can expect to see more, as the collaborative nature of the conference unfolds,” Kate Nixon – Auslass President.
“With some parts of the conference also open to the General Public, we’re recommending people mark the dates in their calendars now,” Carmen Simmonds – NZSAG President.
When & where is The CoLab Conference being held?
The conference is being held in Whanganui, New Zealand, from 15 to 17 February 2019.
When does the conference registration open?
Conference registration open 31th October 2018.
Can I attend the conference if I’m not a NZSAG or Ausglass member?
Yes – everyone is welcome! However; becoming a member of one of our glass societies give you a membership rate to registering for the conference. Non-members will pay additional fees.
How many people are expected to attend?
With our combined memberships and a number of other artists from around the world already indicating they’re planning on attending we are expecting 150 - 200 attendees.
Where are the presenting international artists coming from?
Artists who will be presenting at the conference are coming from Hong Kong, USA, Canada, UK, Germany, Australia and New Zealand. Find out more about the individuals here https://www.colabconference.com/speakers/
Are events, exhibitions and workshops being held Australia?
While the main body of the conference is being held in Whanganui, in New Zealand, there will be additional exhibitions and workshops held in Australia before and after the conference; to support the Ausglass members who are unable to travel to attend the conference.