PENEL BIGG

W orking with glass is like working with a living thing, you introduce it into the flame and as it softens it becomes the consistency of honey and you can use heat and gravity and air from your lungs to guide and manipulate this amazing material into whatever shape you want. It becomes a dance. But a dance in which sometimes one partner leads, and sometimes the other.

“I usually begin working with a clear intention but sometimes the glass leads me in a different direction – this collaborative relationship makes flameworking endlessly fascinating and fun. One of the most important things to learn is how to surrender to and embrace that flow, to see where it leads.

“A lifetime of enjoying, appreciating, observing and sketching nature helps too. So much beauty exists and it is a gift to be able to spend a good deal of my time trying to convey the wonder and beauty of the natural world, with a bit of my own idiosyncratic quirkiness thrown in for good measure.”

For nearly two decades Penel has been experimenting with a wide variety of techniques and slowly developing her own personal and very idiosyncratic style. Inspired by both the natural world and the world of her imagination she appreciates the serendipitous nature of molten glass and the way it seems a partner in creation, not just an inert material.

In 2013 Que was finally persuaded to have a go and after a very short introductory lesson proceeded to make a wonderful small sculptural piece, all her years of pursuing other art forms paying off in her understanding of colour and design and excellent hand-eye coordination.

Lampwork, also known as flamework, is the process of melting rods or tubes of glass in the flame of a bench-mounted torch. Heat and gravity are the main tools used to coax the glass into the desired shape and after completion the pieces are annealed in a kiln. While there are a number of local lampworkers who make beads, Penel and Que are two of the few in Australia who work in the Venetian method, sculpting with soda lime glass in a freeform fashion.

In 2020, living in different states and unable to spend time together, they set up Glass.Mad  where they offer components for fellow creators as well as finished jewellery and their amazing and unique sculptural glass work.

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Open Hours

9th – 1th Oct: 10am – 4pm
16th – 17th Oct: 10am – 4pm

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