UNIQUE: Gulmarrad artist Su Bishop is showing her work at Wagga Wagga.
UNIQUE: Gulmarrad artist Su Bishop is showing her work at Wagga Wagga. Contributed

Su exhibits with top glass artists

GLASS artist Su Bishop's work has made it all the way to the National Art Class Gallery in Wagga Wagga.

The Gulmarrad artist is being shown alongside some of Australia's best glass artists in the exhibition Dancing with the Flame, where her work features glass works made using an open flame. Like most modern flame workers, Su uses a very hot oxygen-propane flame to make glass beads, jewellery and sculptures.

Su has five pieces in the exhibition - four of her necklaces featuring blown hollow beads, and a sculptural fantasy piece.

She is a self-taught artist who worked glass jewellery while she was living in Exmouth, in the remote northwest of Australia, thousands of kilometres from other glass artists.

DANCING WITH THE FLAME: Su Bishop working on her glass art.
DANCING WITH THE FLAME: Su Bishop working on her glass art. Contributed

As a result, she has a very individual technique. Her work sold in West Australian galleries, from Margaret River to Broome.

After moving to the Clarence Valley, her work was exhibited in some of Australia's best-known glass art galleries in Melbourne and Brisbane.

Her work tends to use big bold beads, bold colours, quirky colour combinations and variations in texture. Many of her designs are asymmetric, but beautifully balanced.

Many of her pieces feature blown hollow glass beads - the hollow beads are light and easy to wear, but also allow stunning effects with light and reflections.

She says she doesn't make flowery beads or fine detailed beads - she can appreciate the skills required, but the work holds no interest for her. She would rather explore colour, texture and variation.

These days, she tends to focus more on making pieces for galleries and events.

It can take several weeks to make a new piece of jewellery, as she develops the design, experiments with colour combinations, and matches beads for size, shape and colour.

Su wears her own designs, frequently adjusting and remaking a piece until she is happy with the appearance and wearability.

More recently, she has been exploring making sculptural pieces using flame worked glass. One of her pieces won the class at this year's Clarence River Arts Festival, while another sold to a collector in Victoria.

A piece on show at the National Art Glass Gallery features a fantasy seascape in a stylised fishbowl made from jacaranda wood. Su is also exhibiting works in the Clarence River Women of Art Exhibition, which opened at the Yamba Museum last week.



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