Pushing the boundaries: Sculpting with hot glass (COE104 glass)

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The Zoo Cafe

23 High St

Drysdale, VIC 3222


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Tutor: Mauro Bonventura, Mestre, Venice, Italy.

Mauro Bonaventura lives in Mestre, near Venice in Italy. This will be his first visit to Australia, where he will teach and demonstrate his skills and art as part of the 2020 Festival of Glass.

Mauro is an internationally renowned contemporary glass artist and sculptor whose work has been exhibited in museums and art galleries around the world. He is a generous, supportive and engaging teacher who encourages students to explore what glass can do when softened and manipulated and then, with that knowledge, create unique pieces of glass art.

When he was 18, Mauro graduated with a Diploma in Electronics, but he then become an apprentice in the age-old tradition of Venetian furnace glassblowing; and in 1992, he began to do lamp working. To make ends meet, Mauro produced typical Venetian trinkets, such as glass animals, rings and pendants. However, he felt an urgent need to pursue his creativity as a sculptor. He enrolled in Venice's "Liceo", which specialises in Art subjects, from where he received a Diploma in 2003.

Mauro's sculptures often feature life-like glass figures, encased in cages or spheres made of intricate glass netting. He continues to hone his skills and perfect his mastery of glass to create outstanding and thought provoking pieces of glass art.

Mauro's workshop at the 2020 Festival of Glass - "Pushing the boundaries" - offers glass artists in Australia a unique opportunity to engage and learn from him.

Learn more at: www.maurobonaventura.com and on his Facebook page.

Programme: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 day programme - please choose your day/s when you register

9.30 am - 5.00 pm daily.

Day 1 and Day 2: All levels - some basic experience with lamp working is required.

NB: If you have no prior experience of lampwork you MUST attend the Beginners' session on 7 Feb 2020 with Glenda MacNaughton. This session will cover the basics of using a gas-and-oxygen torch to soften glass safely and then explore different techniques for shaping the glass into small, simple sculptures.

  • 8 Feb 2020. Day 1 Making small sculptures. Learn traditional Venetian techniques for shaping glass to create your own unique, small scale sculptures. The specific sculptures will depend on student interest and experience but may include lollies and small animals. The focus will be on getting to know how soft glass reacts to sculpting off-mandrel and how to shape and decorate the sculptures. Mauro has experience in creating a wide variety of small Venetian style sculptures and the most effective techniques to use for success.

  • 9 Feb 2020. Day 2 Pendants and rings. Learn techniques for shaping, pulling and stretching glass to create jewelry for yourself or others. You will also explore different techniques for creating pendants that can be used in other projects. The specific projects will depend on your interests and skill levels, but each project will give you an opportunity to stamp your own personality on it.

Day 3, 4, 5 and/or 6: For students with more experience, or those who complete Day 1 and Day 2

  • 10 Feb 2020. Day 3 Sculpting Figurines – people. Learn the correct sequence for making a human shape off mandrel, avoiding thermal shock, giving it personality and creating a base for it to be self-standing.

  • 11 Feb 2020. Day 4 Sculpting Figurines – horses. Expand your skills in creating figurines by moving from humans to animals, again learning the correct sequence for building the sculpture, avoiding thermal shock and creating personality in your sculpture. It is strongly advised you attend Day 3 but this is not essential. However, if you do not attend Day 3, you MUST have some experience with off-mandrel sculpting to gain the most from this fourth workshop.

  • 12 Feb 2020. Day 5 Netting – basic freeform and small spheres. Learn how to gather, stretch and join glass to create small, free-form netted shapes to use for pendants and small sculptures. Expand on these skills to create a basic sphere that can turn into a one-of-a kind sculpture. Mauro will guide you and offer lots of opportunities for you to practice. You will be amazed at what grows from these skills! You can go as large as you dare and your skill levels allow.

  • 13 Feb 2020. Day 6 Netting and incorporating figurines – growing your skills. Develop your netting skills to create more complex spheres and other shapes, including figurines in the netting. In the process, learn how to join soft glass and create larger sculptures. The specific projects undertaken will depend on each student’s interests, experience and skill level. It is strongly advised that you attend Day 5 if you wish to attend this workshop. If you attend Day 3 and 4 you will have the opportunity to learn how to incorporate your figurines into the netting to create your own very individual sculptures.

  • NB: The photos are examples only - the specific size and design of sculptures you make will depend on your designs and level of experience.

Tools required: Rod holder, (top right - will be provided) grabbers as per image on far left, small glass scissors (second from left), tweezers (third from left) meat pounder (or similar) (fourth from left) & Didyium glasses. (See photo below.)

If you register by December 15 2019 tools can be purchased in advance if required.

Workshop Fees:

Per day - $390 per person per day (includes all materials needed).


Maximum 10 participants


Working with hot glass has specific safety requirements that need to be followed.

Personal Safety requirements
I. Clothing
• Wear natural fibre clothing.
• Wear closed toe shoes; have a pair of “studio shoes”.
• Use a lab coat, cotton or leather apron, Kevlar sleeves or a long sleeved shirt with natural fibres (cotton or wool).
• Long hair should be tied back. Do not wear loose or hanging jewellery.

II. Hygiene
• Wash hands before eating and after leaving the studio.
• Damp clean to prevent movement of frit dust.
• Ensure cold water and/or burn cream is easily to hand when you are working at the torch.

III. Habits
• Keep glass organized.
• Keep bench top organized.
• Drink lots of water to prevent dehydration.
• Stretch and/or move around periodically.
• Do not use any equipment without an instructor present.

IV. Special Conditions (chronic illness, pregnancy, etc.)
• Please discuss risks with your doctor before attending a workshop involving hot glass.

1. Workshops with the 2020 Festival’s Resident Artist
The Festival of Glass committee has to plan these workshops many months in advance and ensure that each one will be self-financing; only then can we invite our Resident Artist/s to travel to the 2020 Festival.

  • If a workshop has more than the minimum number of attendees, a potential attendee who withdraws prior to 18th December 2019 will forfeit 75% of their deposit.
  • Any potential attendee who withdraws after 17th December 2019 will forfeit their deposit.
  • If a workshop is cancelled at any time, potential attendees will receive a full refund of the fees that they have deposited.

2. Workshops run by exhibitors at the 2020 Festival Expo
These workshops aren’t planned as far in advance, so the withdrawal policy is more flexible. For each of these workshops, if a deposit has been requested by the tutor, we will apply the following policy:

  • A potential attendee who withdraws before 17th December 2019 will receive 75% of the fee that they have deposited.
  • A potential attendee who withdraws after 17th December 2019 will forfeit whatever fee they have deposited.
  • If a workshop is cancelled at any time, potential attendees will receive a full refund of the fee that they have deposited.

Anyone who has booked into a workshop and wishes subsequently to withdraw should notify the Workshop Co-ordinator by e-mail (festivalofglassdrysdale@gmail.com). The Workshop Coordinator will acknowledge receipt of the request to withdraw and arrange to refund the appropriate percentage of the fee that the person has deposited.


Yes, you will need to provide your own lunch. However, the workshops are held in the function room of Cafe Zoo so you can eat at the cafe. If you choose to provide your own lunch the cafe asks that you eat outside of the cafe. There are also several venues nearby - please use this link to see some of the options available.


There are many transport options for getting to Drysdale. Drysdale is on the Bellarine Peninsula, Victoria, Australia. Please follow this link for details: https://sites.google.com/site/afestivalofglass/transport-and-accommodation


Please visit our Festival website to see other events you may wish to participate in at this time. http://www.festivalofglass.net.au

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The Zoo Cafe

23 High St

Drysdale, VIC 3222


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