To dream of shapes and colours and to see them magically materialise under intense heat is what Peter Minson loves about glass. It is in his blood. Peter Minson’s grandfather made the first neon signs in Australia and was involved in the design and manufacturer of the first thermos flask and radio valves. After the Depression he started Minson Scientific, manufacturing glass items such as eye-droppers for chemists. Peter’s father and grandfather made light globes for the English company, Osram.
Peter is a successful glass artist whose 1995 Churchill Fellowship took him to the United States and Europe to study glass lampworking in depth and to improve his aesthetic and technical knowledge.
On his Fellowship he attended a glass conference in North Carolina and visited such places as the Corning Glass Museum and the Pilchuck Glass Centre in Seattle. He saw the Baccarat factory in France, the Historic Glass Museum in Venice and, like Will Tys 25 years before, he also visited the Ware Collection of botanically correct glass flowers at Harvard. Peter was amazed at these because the medium of glass is so temperamental that it would have been extraordinarily difficult to make these models. Leopold and Randolph Blaschka had constructed many glass invertebrates for natural history museums in Scotland, the United States, New Zealand and South Africa.
Peter visited the small sales outlet in Toronto who were selling his work. He had many discussions with lamp workers and other glass-makers. He writes: 'It is obvious Australian glass artists are equal to those overseas and in some ways are producing more innovative and creative work than those overseas. We do not lack originality in this country and it is only the distance we are separated by that limits a greater impact on the overseas market. The main lesson learnt [is that] we need to promote ourselves better overseas.'
Peter has a studio in Binalong, a small village 95 kilometres north-west of Canberra, where he creates glass teapots, jewellery and Australian flowers. Peter also runs private classes and workshops in glass, inviting guests to participate in ‘the magic of my everyday world.’
Excerpt from “Inspiring Australians” written by Penny Hanley (2015)
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