PREPARATIONS are in full swing in Stourbridge’s Glass Quarter for this year’s International Festival of Glass.
The festival, taking place in August, will see celebrated glassmakers and artists from around the world demonstrating, teaching and exhibiting at venues including the Ruskin Glass Centre at Amblecote, Red House Glass Cone in Wordsley and Broadfield House Glass Museum in Kingswinford.
The spectacle, which will celebrate 400 years of glassmaking in Stourbridge and 50 years of studio glassmaking worldwide, will run over the August Bank Holiday Weekend from August 24 to 27.
Ahead of the main event, a series of glassmaking masterclasses for beginners to accomplished artists will run from August 20 until August 23.
Techniques being taught will include furnace building, marble making, hot glass casting, extreme fusing, glassblowing and kinetic flameworking.
The main event will feature a series of exhibitions staged at venues across the Glass Quarter - including the prestigious British Glass Biennale which celebrates the best of British glassmaking.
Other exhibitions will include 21st Century Engraved Glass, a national display of contemporary and traditional original glass engraving by members of the Guild of Glass Engravers; and Back to the Future which will feature work by top glassmakers from the West Midlands - inspired by renowned collections at Broadfield House Glass Museum.
Among those whose work will be on show in the Back to the Future exhibition, running at Broadfield in Kingswinford from August 18 to January 27 2013, is Stourbridge based artist Vic Bamforth who aims to produce a collection of commemorative pieces.
The Hull-born glassmaker, working at Amblecote’s Ruskin Glass Centre, said: “As this year’s been quite a big year with the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, the London 2012 Olympics, the anniversary of the sinking of Titanic and 400 years of years of glassmaking in Stoubridge I’ll be focusing on the idea of commemoration.
“I’m aiming to have around five pieces in the exhibition.”
The festival, which has been held every two years since 2004, will also include opportunities for visitors to try their hand at glassmaking techniques such as glassblowing and engraving.
There will also be a host of talks, demonstrations, open studios, a glass bead fair, a glass recycling challenge, glass heritage walks, children’s activities and a programme of performances.
For more information about events taking place throughout the festival visit website www.ifg.org.uk or www.biennale.org.uk or call the festival office on 01384 399410.