Nola Anderson felt like she'd come home as she stood surrounded by kilns, fire and glass artists this week.
The former assistant director at the Australian War Memorial has just been appointed chair of the Canberra Glassworks, a move that, for her, makes perfect sense
"I've been following glass in Australia for many, many years," she said.
"I started writing about glass and the growth of studio glass in Australia in the late 1970s, and have been following it since … It's been a matter of following how it's grown and what influences have continued in terms of what work the various artists have been doing over the years. So it's really a little bit like a homecoming."
Ms Anderson left the War Memorial in December after a 25-year career, and is now working as a freelance consultant in the arts and museum sector.
She will replace the outgoing chair, Andrew Sayers, who is leaving Canberra after recently announcing his retirement as director of the National Museum of Australia.
She said it was an exciting time to step into the glassworks scene in Canberra, at a time when a number of local artists are becoming well known overseas, especially in America.
"So much has happened in the last few months, it seems, which just underpins the fact that the Glassworks is Canberra, it's national and it's international," she said.
For example, Canberra artist Jenni Kemarre Martiniello recently received a $90,000 fellowship at the National Indigenous Arts Award.
And founding head of the ANU School of Art Glass Workshop Klaus Moje received a significant lifetime achievement award from the Pilchuck Glass School near Seattle in Washington, an institution that has employed so many Australian teachers and teaching assistants that its summer program this year was dubbed the "Australian Summer".
Meanwhile, a major exhibition at the Museum of Glass at Tacoma, Washington State in the US, Links: Australian Glass and the Pacific Northwest, featured work by 21 Australian artists, 19 of whom had been through the ANU Glass Workshop as students or staff.
Ms Anderson said Canberra had become known as a centre for glass art, and that glass artists were steadily putting Canberra on the map. "It's the wow factor of what we're doing here in Canberra.''
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