Glass man thinks opportunity is smashing

By Zaryd Wilson

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New Zealand Glassworks - Te Whare Tuhua O Te Ao manager Scott Redding. Photo/ Bevan Conley
New Zealand Glassworks - Te Whare Tuhua O Te Ao manager Scott Redding. Photo/ Bevan Conley

The man at the helm of Whanganui's new community glass facility comes with international experience but says Whanganui is the right place for him.

Scott Redding is originally from Wellington and spent the past 14 years in Melbourne before taking over the Whanganui District Council's community glass facility manager role a few months ago.

In November last year, the council bought Chronicle Glass on Rutland St to establish the community glass facility.

Renamed New Zealand Glassworks - Te Whare Tuhua O Te Ao, it is intended to become a nationally significant facility and keep glass art alive in the city.

Mr Redding's most recent work was with Philip Stokes Studio Glass, also an open-access studio, which he ran with his husband.

But it was time to return to New Zealand to do things he couldn't do in Melbourne, like buying a house.

"We moved in September down to Wellington, just having a bit of a holiday after working non-stop for ten years, and I actually saw (the job) on Facebook," Mr Redding said.

"So I jumped on the council site and had a look and it ticked all the boxes."

Mr Redding brings a wealth of experience and knowledge about the glass scene to Whanganui.

"I do make my own work but I wouldn't say I'm a professional glass artist," he said.

"But I'm definitely a professional assistant, I've probably assisted some of Australia's best glass artists over there. I'm very competent when it comes to all aspects of glass."

Mr Redding said he liked what he has seen so far in Whanganui and was excited about he future of New Zealand Glassworks.

"You can expand on the great glass scene that's here and just build on what's already been established, hence the new name, and trying to make it a more national identity and to attract more national and international artists to come over and use the facility.

"I think New Zealand's a bit more supportive of the arts and crafts scene too, compared with Australia."

Mr Redding is familiar with Chronicle Glass, because former owner Katie Brown has visited studios he's worked in overseas.

"I think it's going to be a merging of Chronicle Glass and the Whanganui Glass School, bringing together that commercial aspect and the educational side."

Mr Redding also wants to turn the gallery into a tourist attraction by stocking artists from throughout the country.

"We'll be expanding on that by doing more international workshops. I have some great contacts in Australia and the States so we'll be bringing more international glass artists over to help educate."

Mr Redding said Whanganui had an advantage within the New Zealand glass scene which presented the city with opportunities.

"I'm not aware of any other glass blowing studio in the country that is open access, not only to professional glass blowers but also to be running those workshops," he said.

"There will be economic spinoffs because we will be doing weekend workshops, long term workshops, we'll still be doing Open Artists Studios and I'm looking at bringing down the New Zealand Glass Association conference.

"It really will be the national centre for community glass."

- Wanganui Chronicle

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