Located just 15km south-east of Halls Gap, James McMurtrie’s Glass Blowing Studio and Gallery is one of the hidden gems of the Wimmera, offering a rare opportunity to see glassblowing in action.
Stunning, unique and Australian made, James’ work takes the form of lights, bowls, vases, garden sculptures, glass scapes and more. The artworks are inspired by the Grampians Mountains that surround the studio, its ever-changing landscape, colours and moods. James also takes inspiration from travelling and historic architecture, with a particular interest in work that utilises local materials in the building process.
With 25 years of experience, an arts degree and a background of working with clay, James credits his interest and the enjoyment he gets from making things with his hands to his childhood growing up on a farm, and his mother’s passion for textiles. Combining these practical skills and artistic flare result in eye-catching work, which are not only found in the Pomonal studio but are showcased in galleries across Australia.
The studio houses a furnace running at 1100 degrees, which molten glass is drawn from and incorporated with colour from New Zealand and Germany using tools similar to those used in 1st century BC. When pieces are finished they are placed in a kiln to take all the temperatures down slowly. James says he finds the firing process most fascinating and opening a kiln to look at the results of a days work is always an exciting moment.
“Working with tools similar to that dating back to the first century B.C. fills me with a sense of history and tradition of the old techniques. Glass blowing proves to be an exciting medium with which I can experiment and express my ideas with immediate results on a daily basis” says James.
“Glass captures the world in a whole different light. Its fluidity and availability to achieve instant results reflects my desire to create beauty and interpret the world in which I live.”
The studio is open to the public to visit and the furnace runs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for most months of the year. While the furnace is running, glassblowing demonstrations are available subject to work schedule, or you can organise an appointment.
James McMurtrie Glass Blowing studio
63 Springwood Hill Rd, Pomonal
Open Tues – Thurs, 9am – 2pm