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International Festival of Glass returns to cone

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Staff at the Red House Glass Cone are gearing up for a busy four days of activities as part of this year's International Festival of Glass (26 to 30 August).

Exhibitions, talks, craft activities, glassmaking demonstrations and the launch of a new and exhibition space are on offer at the Red House glass cone this bank holiday weekend.

The highlight for the site will be the launch of the Crystal Mile Contemporary Gallery and Hot Shop by glass artists Bethany Wood and Elliot Walker on Friday 26 August. The new studio will be home to the pair, while the gallery will allow them to display their own work as well as selling studio glass made at the cone and from makers across the globe.

Both Bethany and Elliot are experienced glass makers and have in the past made pieces for cruise liners, film sets and glass collectors. Visitors to the cone may recognise Elliot as he won series two of the Netflix programme Blown Away. Over the weekend visitors will be able to see live glass blowing demonstrations and get the chance to book glass making courses.

Councillor Simon Phipps, cabinet member for regeneration and enterprise, said:

We’re so glad to be participating once again in this year’s International Festival of Glass.
There’s a huge programme of events and activities, with the cone offering craft sessions, workshops, exhibitions, tours and talks. Whether you’re a glass aficionado or just want something fun to do with the family, it’s a perfect day out.

In addition to the new gallery opening the Red House Glass Cone will be holding a number of glass fusing and craft workshops, this includes the chance to make a fused glass cherry blossom tea light holder on Friday 26, as well as free family trails around the site. Staff at the cone will also be providing hard hat tours of the Red House Cone itself over the four-day weekend. The historic cone is currently closed to visitors while awaiting refurbishment works, however it will be specially opened up to limited groups for safe and informative tours.

On Saturday 27 there will be a pop-up exhibition of glass makers represented in art, featuring pieces from the council's own collection as well as the unveiling of two new paintings by local artist Keith Turley of glassmakers at work. Keith will be in the education room on Saturday to talk about the inspiration behind his amazing portraits of glass artists in the hot glass studio. There will also be a talk about local art. The site will be open from 11am to 5pm with the exhibition running from until 4pm.

On Sunday 28 there will be family crafts including how to make a lotus flower and papyrus art, with a small charge for both activities. Sessions run 11am to 3pm. There will also be a talk by Dr Elena Feldman about her research and future book about the history of Stuart Crystal. Eleanor will be running these sessions at 1 and 3, with additional talks about the area’s glassmaking heritage by Dr Kate Round. The visitor centre itself will be open from 11 till 5.

On Monday 29 the centre is open from 10am to 4pm, with the lotus and papyrus craft sessions continuing. People will also be able to find out about volunteering for the cone and the wider museum service.

Throughout the four days there's the chance to look abord “Sagitta” the historic working boat, which will be moored at the canal side. The site is also the temporary home to a magnificent 3x3m glass angel wings sculpture “Solace” made by renowned glass artist Layne Rowe, which been on display in local cathedrals, Chelsea Flower Show and was recently featured on BBC news.

For more information about the schedule of events for the International Festival of Glass please see https://www.ifg.org.uk/exhibitions Or to book craft and glass fusing sessions at the Red House Glass Cone https://www.dudley.gov.uk/things-to-do/museums/red-house-glass-cone/

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