Travels to South Australia

22 Jan2016

In the second week of January I flew to Adelaide, with a stop-over in Melbourne to visit friends and view the Warhol/Ai Weiwei Exhibition at the NGV. Brilliant! In Melbourne I met up with Dr Bronwyn Hughes and Donna Kennedy of AGDA and GLAAS Inc for lunch and much conversation. Also met with Sharon Harrison and Helen Kelly, both current members of the Ausglass Board, at Federation Square. I really enjoyed seeing the exhibition Virtuoso at Kirra Galleries, which was fortunately still showing at Fed Square.

But my main objective in flying to South Australia was to visit pioneering contemporary stained glass artist Cedar Prest, OAM. Cedar, now 76, is preparing for retirement and consequently is divesting her impressive collection of primarily mouthblown ('antique') glass.

I selected about 100x sheets in all and The Glass Emporium of Adelaide will pack and ship them to Sydney. Much of the mouthblown glass is destined for use in six double lancet windows to the clerestory of the historic St Peter's Anglican Church in East Maitland. Having visited her old studio in the church at Kensington, SA in 2005 (during the Ausglass/GAS Conference) I knew Cedar had a big range of beautiful greys, olives, browns and many unusual colours that the regular suppliers just don't stock.

Now in her 76th year, Cedar is preparing herself for retirement. Her interest has moved away from the business of glass and even the making of labarynths, a consuming passion of more recent years, has now become physically too difficult. I stayed two days with Cedar, who was the perfect host. We swam at Maslin's Beach and walked the labarynth that she built at nearby McLaren Vale with partner Robyn Hunter (who died two years ago) and 30x members of the local community.

During earlier correspondence Cedar had agreed to be interviewed to record her life story as an oral history, so most of our time was spent talking! For me it was a fascinating insight into a strong and energetic woman who has single-mindedly dedicated her life to creative endeavours both here in Australia and Internationally. Having come to know Patrick Reyntiens on a personal level, Cedar Prest was in the right place at the right time to bring about the dessemination of post-war German design sensibility in stained glass first to England, then the United States and Australia.

Arguably Cedar Prest's most important contribution to Australian stained glass has been working with groups of volunteers to bring into being many significant community based projects in South Australia, Western Australia and the Northern Territory. Her fiesty response to this blog, via text from the hospital bed post-op: "Not quite retired! Artists don't".

Cedar Prest at Maslins BeachCedar Prest at Maslins Beach

Selfie with Sharon & HelenSelfie with Sharon & Helen

With Dr Bronwyn Hughes & Donna KennedyWith Dr Bronwyn Hughes & Donna Kennedy

Selection of Hartley woodSelection of Hartley wood

Selection of SeleniumsSelection of Seleniums

Kokomo, Spectrum & BullseyesKokomo, Spectrum & Bullseyes

Selection of Freedom glassSelection of Freedom glass

Heading for a swimHeading for a swim

Walking the labarynthWalking the labarynth

This entry was posted on Friday, January 22nd, 2016 at 10:48 pm

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