The Chandelier Show opens at the Canberra Glassworks
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The Chandelier Show opens at the Canberra Glassworks

How many glass artists does it take to change a lightbulb? There's something quite practical in the opulence of the Canberra Glasswork's new exhibition The Chandelier Show.

Seven new works by nine local artists hang from the roof, all are working light fixtures, but all exquisite and challenging and stunning in their own way

Glass artist Christine Atkins with her work Illumine.

Glass artist Christine Atkins with her work Illumine.Credit:Jamila Toderas

Christine Atkins' Illumine is a collection of glowing spheres, each containing a practical LED globe inside a unique piece of blown glass that refracts light outwards onto the sphere.

"With a lot of my work I look at water and light for inspiration and then translate that through into the glass medium," Atkins says.

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"This piece is about that similarity and how light refracts through water."

Hung here so the lowest sphere brushes the ground, Atkins likes how you can interact with the piece at eye level.

"There's this relationship between the piece and the body, there's an intimate feel to it."

Other artists included in the exhibition are Scott Chaseling, Ngaio Fitzpatrick, Jacqueline Knight and Kate Nixon.

Nixon's piece Afterwards invokes an instant reaction. One pictures a lazy evening of lounging about in velvet, drinking gin, under the glow of the bronze blown glass.

Husband and wife team John and Ruth White have combined for the first time to create , with Ruth's fine engraving detailing John's industrial design, a piece inspired by their love of native plants, capped by a glowing waratah.

World renowned glass artist Tom Rowney has collaborated with emerging artist Wendy Dawes for a stunning piece, Bush Light, inspired by the quintessential Australian light in the heat of the afternoon, as it is reflected on the leaves of eucalypts, with inky, squirrelling lines paying homage to scribbly gums.

Curator Jane Cush, artistic director at the Canberra Glassworks, said she was amazed how everyone met the brief in different ways.

"All the artists have risen to the brief to create a showstopping 'light that hangs'," she says.

"The diversity is amazing from stunningly made eucalypt leaves hanging and nestling together, to a walkway of birdcages filled with neon lights."

Atkins says she enjoyed the open brief.

"People will always take their own idea, their own interpretation on it, and you're always guaranteed to have a range of outcomes," Atkins says.

"This was a wonderful opportunity for people to do that and take their own unique stance."

The Chandelier Show, Canberra Glassworks, 10am-4pm, Wednesday to Sunday, until August 7, 2017. Gallery Floor Conversation: 2pm, Saturday, June 10, 2017. Entry is by donation

Karen Hardy is a reporter at The Canberra Times.

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