Whanganui UCOL lecturer and award-winning glass artist Kathryn Wightman has been named as a finalist for the inaugural FUSE prize in Australia.
The FUSE prize is a juried competition, with only ten established artists and five emerging artists named as finalists out of 83 entries from Australia and New Zealand.
Ms Wightman is competing in the established artist category, with a $20,000AUD prize up for grabs.
She says she was keen to enter when the new FUSE prize was announced earlier this year. "I was a little nervous that my work would not make the cut but it is a huge achievement and honor that my work is considered to represent the current top ten.
"It is really important to continue to make, challenge and develop yourself as an artist."
Ms Wightman was the winner of the 2014 Ranamok Glass Prize for Australian and New Zealand glass artists.
Ms. Wightman's recent works explore the connection between human existence and surfaces in the home that we interact with on a daily basis. The piece selected is titled 'Capturer' and emulates wallpaper typically found in domestic interiors, inspired by a roll of wallpaper found on a recent trip to the UK.
"I am intrigued by the connections we form with the spaces we occupy, and in this piece mirror sheet floats behind the printed glass surface allowing the viewer to become part of the patterned surface. Strange shadows creep behind the pattern as the light in the space changes creating an illusion of a world behind the wall."
Once drawn the pattern was broken down into seven layers that were screen-printed with glass powder onto flat sheets of clear glass. Once all seven layers were in place the glass sheets were placed in the kiln and 'cooked' at about 700 degrees Celsius to secure the surface.
"Entering these types of competitions provides me with a platform to step outside my comfort zone to create work that wouldn't necessarily tick the box of commercial gallery criteria," Ms Wightman says.
The 2016 FUSE Prize winner will be announced on the 12 May, with an exhibition of the finalist's work held at JamFactory Adelaide from 13 May – 3 July and JamFactory at Seppeltsfield from 9 July – 18 September.
Ms Wightman also taught one of the artists selected for the emerging artist category, Lewis Batchelar. Mr Batchelar obtained his Diploma in Glass Design and Production from UCOL in 2012 and is currently part of a mentoring program delivered at the JAM Factory in Adelaide.