Queanbeyan glass artist Matthew Curtis is celebrating the first prize in his 30-year artistic career, the recognition coming late more because he finally started entering competitions.
Curtis on Thursday was announced the winner of the 2022 FUSE Glass Prize, Australasia's richest prize for glass, open to both Australian and New Zealand artists.
The non-acquisitive $20,000 cash prize was awarded to Curtis for his piece Margin, 2022.
"It was really wonderful to get that in the bag," he said.
"It's probably the first prize I've won. I haven't participated much, to be honest."
The works of 12 established and six emerging artists were selected as finalists by the 2022 judging panel which included the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, Art Gallery of South Australia, the 2020 FUSE Glass Prize Winner, Canberra Glassworks and JamFactory.
The winning piece came from an exhibition he did last year for the Sabbia Gallery in Sydney.
"To take a piece from that body of work and win this prize, it's great validation of my work and the feedback I get," he said.
"It's wonderful because otherwise I'm stuck at home in my workshop with the dog and I'm too close to it."
Curtis also created the work Field of Light, which was commissioned by John and Rosanna Hindmarsh for the Iskia apartments in Campbell.
His sons Oscar, 21, and Hugo, 18, were instrumental in helping their dad with that work at the studio where he runs his practice with partner Harriet Schwarzrock.
"Last year when I was making the component parts, we were sort of in lockdown but I still had my furnace running so my two sons Oscar and Hugo - it was probably the highlight of lockdown - I got to work with them," he said.
"For someone like me after blowing glass for 30 years, having my sons help me with the work was very nice."
Curtis said the $20,000 prize money would make a difference.
"Partly because a lot of my sales, my work, travels to the US and what I've been finding, is that shipping is just outrageously expensive now. So it puts a dampener on making and shipping work to the States for sure," he said.
"This work that won the FUSE prize, Margin, that was me going, 'I'm going to do what makes me happy' and start from scratch and work in the domestic market more.
"It did pay off and having the money means you can relax and keep working."
Coinciding with the United Nations International Year of Glass in 2022, the exhibition of finalists' works will tour to Canberra Glassworks from August 24 to September 25.
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