New Zealand Glass

New Zealand Glass
New Zealand Glassfrom the
New Zealand Glass Glass Encyclopedia

Viesnik
above: paperweight
by Peter Viesnik


glass vase by Keith Mahy
above: vase by Keith
Mahy



Angela's book on
New Zealand Glass


New Zealand Glass: A short explanation:

During the 19th century there were numerous attempts to set up successful bottle and glassworks in New Zealand, all of them failing. They failed because of the very high set-up costs, very high costs of imported sand, no local skilled glassworkers, and fierce competition from importers.

By 1902 there was such a desperate shortage of bottles in New Zealand that the Government took action in 1903 by putting bottles on the free import list. No longer restricted to buying from Britain, bottles and glassware poured into New Zealand from all over the world.

There is a wealth of glass with commemorative messages from New Zealand events like the New Zealand International Exhibition of 1907, the Dunedin Exhibition of 1925, and local events like the Hawera Show of 1917. They were etched at the shows, sometimes with messages like "From Charlie to Addie", but almost all the glass was imported from the USA.

Imported glass became cheaper and more readily available, and no further interest was shown in setting up a glassworks in New Zealand until the 1920's, when the Australian Glass Manufacturers Company built a bottle works in Penrose, Auckland which is still going strongly today.

In 1950 the same company set up Crown Crystal Glass in Christchurch to make tableware. This was the only pressed & blown glassworks to make tableware in New Zealand, and it survived until 1987.

The story of New Zealand Glass is told in more detail on a book called New Zealand Glass (click here for more information).

In the 1970s the Hokitika glassworks was founded by two Swedish ex-employees from Crown Crystal glass, specialising in lamp shades. This venture succeeded until 1987, when the New Zealand government lifted import tariffs and Hokitika Glass could no longer compete. Two years later, in 1989, Ove Janson, one of the original founders, returned to Hokitika and together with Barry Wilson founded a new "Hokitika Glass" company making hand-made animal figures, paperweights, and blown glass bowls and vases. These are made to this day by Barry Wilson and his son Anthony at Hokitika Glass.

The Studio Glass movement started in New Zealand in the late 1970's, following a trend worldwide. In 1979 Dick Marquis and Ed Carpenter came to New Zealand to teach their studio skills to Garry Nash, Peter Raos, Peter Viesnik, John Croucher, Keith Mahy, Tony Keupfer, Mel Simpson, and others. The Hot Glass Company was founded in Devonport in 1980, and New Zealanders watched their budding glass artists making hand-blown glass. In those very early days they sometimes collected glass from the tip and remade it into Mexican-style glasses and decorative pieces.

In 1980 the New Zealand Society of Artists in Glass was founded, and in 1981 another international workshop was organised. Studio Glass in New Zealand had taken a firm hold and has never looked back. There is no doubt that today's New Zealand studio artists produce glass comparable to the best in the world. Perhaps their lack of a long tradition encourages great spontaneity.

New Zealand glass is often for sale on ebay. If you are interested to see what others are selling, click on New Zealand Glass.

References and Sources:



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Waterford Crystal
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  • INFORMATION about New Zealand Glass !
    Including many original catalog pictures and dozens of photographs.
    NOW available - this is the new second edition of this book and it covers the fascinating history of glass in New Zealand, the story of Crown Crystal Glass, NZ bottles and an overview of contemporary New Zealand glass artists.
    Available as a paperback or as a Kindle book.

    Buy Now or take a look

    If you are in the UK, this link is better








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