New Zealand Glassworks - Te Whare Tuhua o Te Ao in Whanganui has had an action-packed year.

Glass artists are taking a short Christmas break but will be back in action from January 7.

The Rutland St Galley is open every day and assistant Briarlee Rees said it has been busy.

"We've had a lot of out-of-town visitors and quite a few international ones as well.

"It's exciting to hear people from Europe enthusing over our local artists' work."

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The Rutland St venue functions as a facility for hot and kiln glass artists, UCOL design students and as a public gallery for exhibiting local and national artists.

The gallery currently has works by local and national artists which have been created by blowing, fusing and casting.

Open to the public workshops, where participants get to craft their own paperweights, have been a popular feature throughout the year.

In February 2019, NZ Glassworks hosted the highly successful CoLab Conference.

The New Zealand Society of Artists in Glass, and its Australian counterpart Ausglass, had previously organised their conferences on alternate years and this was the first time they united for a combined conference.

The weekend event attracted international visitors and included speakers, workshops, hot glass demos, and public events including a beach furnace and dig in at Castlecliff Beach.

Treasure hunters swarm Castlecliff Beach during the CoLab Australasian Glass Conference. Photo / Bevan Conley
Treasure hunters swarm Castlecliff Beach during the CoLab Australasian Glass Conference. Photo / Bevan Conley

Whanganui District Council's charitable trust purchased the Rutland St glass facility from glass artists Katie Brown and Lyndsay Patterson, who previously ran it as private enterprise Chronicle Glass.

The council said the move was about keeping Whanganui's reputation as a national centre for glass art, particularly following the closure of the Wanganui Glass School in 2015.

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Glass artist Scott Redding moved back from Melbourne to run NZ Glassworks and brought his internationally-recognised glass artist husband, Phillip Stokes.

The facility has gone from strength to strength, celebrating its third birthday in September.

In April 2018, a $34,000 funding boost was approved by Whanganui District Council to enable the Rutland St glassworks and gallery to remain open year-round and employ gallery assistant Jackie Wilkie.

The gallery is open daily from 10am to 4.30pm at 2 Rutland St and visitors can see renowned Whanganui glass artist Katie Brown at work on January 7.