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Vale Mark Brabham

01 May 2016

Ausglass, AGDA and GLAAS Inc member Mark Brabham died 7th April, having sustained a serious injury to the head and remained in an induced coma since 9th March. Mark was a respected and loved member of both the glass and ceramics arts communities as well as highly regarded and active member of his local community of Richmond, Victoria. He was the founding Director of Albert Street Gallery and the long-established firm Australian Combustion Services. ..

Mark BrabhamMark Brabham

Mark & guests @ GLAAS Inc exhibitionMark & guests @ GLAAS Inc exhibition

On Saturday 30th April I attended the Memorial Service held at the Albert Street Gallery premises to commemorate Mark's life, along with over 150 guests. Donna Kennedy of GLAAS Inc delivered the eulogy, and then introduced Mark's lifelong friend and colleague Nick Wirdnam.

The Gallery sandwich board The Gallery sandwich board

A crowd of 150+ gathers for the serviceA crowd of 150+ gathers for the service

Mark Brabham was very involved in his local community and particularly supportive of the Richmond Primary School. Tracey Hammil, Principal of the School and one of 3x speakers at the service, spoke glowingly of Mark's commitment to his children's education and development and his unstinting support of the School. These attributes were echoed by another speaker, Malcolm Munro, who had some years ago furnished a report on the potential for Australian Combustion Services to expand Internationally, only to then convey Mark's desire to "spend time with my kids" and his decision to actually down-size the firm's operations.

Norm Beilby, Donna KennedyNorm Beilby, Donna Kennedy

Lisa Wharington, Eileen GordonLisa Wharington, Eileen Gordon

Bronwyn Hughes, Graham StoneBronwyn Hughes, Graham Stone

Don WrefordDon Wreford

After a moving service, the many guests broke off into several groups; those from Richmond Primary School gathered together for their own commemoration while many of the glass artists attending gathered in a room at the local library provided gratis by Richmond City Council. Later still I joined Stan Hawksworth, Liz Coleman and Dr Bronwyn and David Hughes for a light meal in Church Street before flying back to Sydney that night.

Jennifer HayJennifer Hay

Brian Hirst, Richard MorrellBrian Hirst, Richard Morrell

Donna Kennedy, Liz Coleman, Elaine Pounder-SmithDonna Kennedy, Liz Coleman, Elaine Pounder-Smith

The States of Illumination Ausglass Conference was held in Adelaide Feb 12th - 15th, with over 190 delegates. Dr Dongahi Guan, Head of Glass at Beijing University, was one of 5x Chinese delegates to present papers on contemporary glass practice in China. Following the Conference, Donghai travelled first to Canberra to visit the Canberra Glass Works and other locations, then on to Sydney before flying home.

As a Director of the Board of Ausglass I took on the role of organising Donghai's Sydney itinerary, making sure the schedule worked and that he got the most out of his visit. Our first port of call from Sydney Airport was Marc Grunseit's studio in Alexandria, followed by the Glass Artists' Gallery at Glebe. Ellen Harris, an Australian stained glass artist living in Norway, happened to be at the Gallery at the time and so we all enjoyed a delightful lunch at Blackwattle Cafe on Glebe Point. Ellen very generously shouted us all, commenting that "it's so cheap, compared to eating out in Norway!"

Maureen Cahill & Donghai Guan

After lunch on the Thursday I dropped Donghai off at Sydney College of the Arts where Andrew Lavery, Head of the Glass School, took over. Ben Edols and Kathy Elliott graciously offered to host Donghai for the two nights of his Sydney sojourn, so that presented the opportunity of visiting firstly, Rob Wynne of Denizen Glass, Manly and then Emma Varga's studio in Brookvale on Friday morning.

Friday afternoon I met Dr Guan at Circular Quay and together we walked through the City, over Pyrmont Bridge, to the Power House Museum where Eva Czernis-Ryl, Senior Curator, took us on a tour of the glass collection in the basement.

Donghai loved Pyrmont BridgeDonghai loved Pyrmont Bridge

Dr Guan & me on Pyrmont BridgeDr Guan & me on Pyrmont Bridge

Dr Guan in PowerHouse basementDr Guan in PowerHouse basement

The historical glass collectionThe historical glass collection

Eva Czernis-Ryl showing off the collectionEva Czernis-Ryl showing off the collection

Dr Guan, Eva and me in PowerHouse basementDr Guan, Eva and me in PowerHouse basement

Donghai with Min, Curator of Asian & Decorative ArtDonghai with Min, Curator of Asian & Decorative Art

From Ultimo we walked across town to my studio at Central, taking in the new Frank Ghery building on the way. This building has attracted much praise and criticism in equal measure. Donghai was most intrigued with Hibernian House, asking "are all buildings like this?" He also enjoyed my studio space and was highly complimentary of my work, both glass and on paper.

A portion of the stairwell, Hibernian HouseA portion of the stairwell, Hibernian House

Hibernian rooftopHibernian rooftop

Guan with Janet Mansfield's workGuan with Janet Mansfield's work

Janet Mansfield installation near AGNSWJanet Mansfield installation near AGNSW

It was my good fortune to have a private showing of Dr Guan's slide presentation for the Adelaide Conference. Donghai's work is very powerful; deliberately so, as he has based much of his work on research of historical artifacts representing power and authority. We finished off the Sydney leg of his trip with a visit to Sabbia Gallery in Paddington, followed by Martin Browne Contemporary, Australia Galleries, Sarah Cottier, a group of galleries clustered around Royalston Street in Paddington. Sabbia was showing a spectacular exhibition, their annual Masters in Glass.

Adelaide Fringe

12 Mar 2014

As Treasurer of Ausglass, the Australian Association of Glass Artists, I was obliged to travel to Adelaide several weeks back to attend the AGM and annual Face-to-Face Board Meeting. Ausglass is a Not-for-Profit organisation and as such must be publicly accountable and follow all the rules set out by ASIC. Finance is not really my forte but I've managed to have been of some use over the past 18 months, helping to keep the organisation on track (with much assistance from Fiona Holmes our bookkeeper).

So Feb 15/16 was a heavy weekend of meetings but we did have the Saturday evening off and it was FRINGE! I made my way down to the Garden of Unearthly Delights just to see what sort of mischief I might get up to.. and managed to score tickets to 2x shows, Cabaret Coathanger and The Hot Dub Time Machine, both of which I thoroughly enjoyed. It was my first Fringe Festival and I found the event truly delightful.


a mini-Spiegeltenta mini-Spiegeltent

Hot DubHot Dub

John BennettJohn Bennett

the Campanilethe Campanile

Lizard manLizard man

Space CowboySpace Cowboy

Sideshow WonderlandSideshow Wonderland

Roving troupeRoving troupe

More decorationMore decoration

the Veggie Galleythe Veggie Galley

I never did discover what the roving troupe of psuedo-Scouts were actually doing, but like everyone else they seemed to be having fun. At The Imaginarium I took in 2x different stand-up comics, just $5 for 15 minutes and very hilarious. John Bennett was late in the evening and quite baudy but very funny in that self-deprecating, deadpan kind of way.

My Ausglass meetings were successful but I certainly enjoyed the comic relief of Fringe.


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This blog is where you will find my latest news. It can range from posting images of progress of the current commission to art crit to political or social commentary, both national and international. Anything, basically, that's commanding my attention and I feel is worth sharing with you, my reader. Enjoy. My previous blog can be found at