Whanganui UCOL lecturer and award-winning glass artist Kathryn Wightman has been named as a finalist for the inaugural Fuse Glass Prize in Australia.

She is one of 10 finalists in the Fuse competition and could win a AU$20,000 ($21,743) prize.

Eighty-three entries were received for the Fuse award from Australia and New Zealand, and Ms Wightman said: "I was a little nervous that my work would not make the cut, but it is a huge achievement and honour that my work is considered to represent the current top 10.

"It is really important to continue to make, challenge and develop yourself as an artist.


"Entering these competitions provides me with a platform to step outside my comfort zone to create work that wouldn't necessarily tick the box of commercial gallery criteria."

Ms Wightman - winner of the 2014 Ranamok Glass Prize for Australian and New Zealand glass artists - has been exploring the connection between human existence and surfaces in the home that we interact with each day. The piece selected for the Fuse competition is titled Capturer, and emulates wallpaper typically found in domestic interiors, inspired by a roll of wallpaper found on a recent trip to Britain.

"I am intrigued by the connections we form with the spaces we occupy, and in this piece mirror sheet floats behind the printed glass surface, allowing the viewer to become part of the patterned surface.

"Strange shadows creep behind the pattern as the light in the space changes, creating an illusion of a world behind the wall," Ms Wightman said.

Once drawn, the pattern was broken down into seven layers that were screen-printed with glass powder on to flat sheets of clear glass.

Ms Wightman also taught one of the artists selected for the Fuse emerging artist category, Lewis Batchelar, who graduated from the Wanganui Glass School in 2012 with a diploma in glass design and production.

He is one of five emerging artist finalists.