Glassartist Giles Bettison, from Adelaide, South Australia, puts the finishing touches on a glass vase fashioned from murrini squares as Wheaton glass artist Brandon Smith, from Millville, assists. The vase sold for more than $5,000 following the demonstration in an auction at Wheaton Arts in Millville.

MILLVILLE — Dozens gathered around a 2,000-degree furnace Sunday afternoon and watched large-scale glass art come to life at the Wheaton Village.

Seattle-based glass artist Richard Royal, recognized as one of the most skilled glassblowers in his trade, was one of two guest artists to share his expertise with visitors at Wheaton’s 2011 GlassWeekend, a three-day event that ended Sunday.

The Art Alliance for Contemporary Glass and the Creative Glass Center of America at Wheaton Arts sponsored the weekend, billed as a international symposium and exhibition of contemporary glass.

The weekend featured live studio glassmaking demonstrations as well as displays from more than a dozen glass galleries across the country. Some came to view and discuss the glass sculptures and others were in the market for buying the high-end artwork.

An oversized chess set made entirely of glass was priced by one artist at $14,000. A sunset landscape created within a piece of glass less than a foot long came with a $7,200 asking price. A piece made by artist Giles Bettison, of Australia, during one demonstration was later auctioned off for more than $5,000.

Patricia Picciotti, of Berlin, Camden County, said she wasn’t planning to buy anything at the exhibition, but came to appreciate the artwork on display.

“Everything here is beautiful,” Picciotti said. “It’s so unusual.”

Margie Smith, of Marlton, Burlington County, was at the village for the first time Sunday. Standing in front of a $45,000 glass bowl nearly 3 feet in diameter, she said she was overwhelmed at the intricacies of the work on display.

“This looks like something that belongs in the Borgata,” Smith said.

Tim Tate, a glass artist based in Washington, D.C., displayed a series of artwork known as his “Dreamscapes” collection. The series blends traditional glassmaking with digital media. Each piece, valued at $8,000, features a glass dome with objects inside and a video screen behind a magnifying glass. The work is meant to evoke a dream-like state, he said.

“It’s an idea I came up with at 4 a.m.,” Tate said. “It took me a year and a half just to make a design that would allow you to turn the screen on and off.”

One Dreamscape about heaven features a video of a street from his hometown of Silver Spring, Md., he said while explaining his work to a group of visitors.

“When you think of heaven, don’t you think of going home?” he said.

Contact Jennifer Bogdan



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