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29 August 2014 / leggypeggy

Run amok at Ranamok—just don’t break anything

The Magpie's Hoard

‘The Magpie’s Hoard’ by Robert Wynne, Australia

I’m taking a little diversion from my Central Asian/Silk Road travels to tell you about the Ranamok Glass Prize.

Over the last 20 years, this prestigious annual acquisition event has showcased creativity, skill and innovation in contemporary glass works in Australia and New Zealand.

Founded by Maureen Cahill and Andy Plummer, both accomplished glass artists, Ranamok has flourished, along with the careers of its winners and finalists.

Glass carpet

Detail of ‘Carpet’ by Kathryn Wightman, New Zealand, winner for 2014

Glass carpet

‘Carpet’ by Kathryn Wightman, New Zealand, winner for 2014

This year’s winner and finalists are on display at the Canberra Glassworks. Poor John and I took ourselves along, and I was delighted to be encouraged to take as many photos as I wanted.

Work offered for consideration for the prize is expected to be a major piece from the artist. Finalist works are chosen for showing innovation, excellence and imagination. There were 28 finalists this year and the winner was awarded $15,000. Judges were Grace Cochrane, Ivana Jirasek, Frank McBride and Andy Plummer.

drawing - cell

‘drawing – cell’ by Shizue Sato, Australia

Sadly, this is the last year of Ranamok. Cahill and Plummer believe the event has fulfilled its purpose to raise the profile of glass artistry. Running it has been time-consuming and costly. It’s a non-profit event and costs about $150,000 a year to run, and chasing sponsorship has been a challenge.

But even though Ranamok won’t run next year, Cahill and Plummer are going to donate Ranamok’s acquisitive collection—all the winners from the past 20 years—to the National Gallery of Australia.

If you’re anywhere near Canberra in the first half of September, take time to visit Ranamok (the exhibit closes on 18 September). The Glassworks is at 11 Wentworth Avenue, Kingston, and open Wednesdays to Sundays from 10am to 4pm. Admission is by a gold coin donation—for non-Australians that means $1 or $2.

At that bargain price, I just might have to go back for another look. But I’ll resist buying anything. The winning piece isn’t for sale, but the rest are. Many are affordable, but one has a $20,000-plus price tag. Can you guess which one?

P.S. I haven’t included pics of all the works. Some were hard to photograph (white-on-white or at awkward angles) and a few photos weren’t all that great. Which artwork do you like best?

P.P.S. I can’t get the caption to stick on the Magpies pic directly above. The piece is from a collection of six by Mark Eliot, Australia.


Leave a Comment
  1. weggieboy / Aug 29 2014 2:25 am

    Magical, glass is! I am amazed to see what skilled artists can do with sand, basically, heat, and a bit of impurities to give the glass color. “Te Kahu” is my favorite of those you show, though I have no doubt seeing these pieces in real life might make my choice less certain: All are super examples of imagination, skill, and execution.


    • leggypeggy / Aug 29 2014 11:38 am

      ‘Te Kahu’ is a great choice. The design represents an Australasian Harrier Hawk and the exhibition catalogue had a pic of it draped across a woman’s shoulders as a cape (before the wooden rod was inserted).


  2. Joanne T Ferguson / Aug 29 2014 12:50 pm

    G’day! Thanks for allowing me to learn something new Peggy! I absolutely love the carpet!
    Cheers! Joanne


    • leggypeggy / Aug 29 2014 1:52 pm

      The carpet was a worthy winner. I especially like the footprints.


  3. Midwestern Plant Girl / Aug 29 2014 10:55 pm

    I love the ‘drawing – cell’.
    I’ve worked with glass a bit, and know some of the more difficult techniques and I feel this one gets kudos from me. Of course 2nd place is the rug. Beautiful!


    • leggypeggy / Aug 30 2014 6:47 pm

      I think ‘drawing – cell’ is my favourite too, simply because I know how hard it would have been to create. But I loved so many that it’s hard to decide. I’d even have trouble settling on a top five.


  4. wineandhistory / Sep 5 2014 2:28 pm

    I think my favorite is the Magpie – so realistic and beautiful!


    • leggypeggy / Sep 6 2014 9:41 pm

      The magpies are great. Did you know that they swoop people in the spring when they are trying to protect their young. Very disconcerting to have your hair ‘parted’ by a swooping ‘maggie’.


  5. mopana / Feb 15 2016 6:14 pm

    Just Wow!


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