Art punters invited to touch glass artworks

Glass artist Richard Landers has his art work on display in this year's Oakura Arts Trail.
ROBERT CHARLES/FAIRFAX NZ

Glass artist Richard Landers has his art work on display in this year's Oakura Arts Trail.

Even with thirty years experience of working with glass, Richard Landers' hands still take a slashing.

He doesn't mind, however, as it was all in the name of art.

"But I can't wear bandaids, I'm actually allergic to them," the Oakura glass artist said.

Landers, of The Glass Gallery, works with the dangerous medium whilst in its most organic form, putting himself at risk of potential lacerations.

He handcrafts glass sculptures, cutting every piece and smoothing every surface so that when admirers stopped to look at his sculptures they were given licence to stroke it.

And there was plenty of touching going on at the weekend.

READ MORE:  Artists prepare for art trail

Landers was one of 15 artists to open up their work spaces to the public as part of the Oakura Arts Trail.

The arts event was first established in 2003 to represent local artists who wished to share their wealth of creativity with the community.

In 2013 the trail underwent a revival and it has continued to grow in popularity.

This year, artists of all different varieties have put on show their paintings, photographs, jewellery, prints and glass works during the opening weekend.

And they plan to do it all again next weekend.

Landers said the short trip west of New Plymouth to his studio had been taken by many in the past couple of days.

"I've just lost count how many people have come through.

"I'm a bit spoilt because it might be something that a lot of people have not seen a lot of before, glass in Taranaki is quite unique."

Landers, who has made stained glass for more than 30 years, believed it was the glass's particular illumination which drew people to his work.

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"It's based on a simple thing called light.

"It's not distracted by colour, so then we look and see form, light, reflection and shadow our minds are not closing off to it just because it doesn't have our favourite colour.

"I think that's why these are fresh and popular and new because they work with the things around them and not as a stand-alone."

Landers said while usually art-lovers refrained from touching artwork, he encouraged people to handle his.

He was confident enough in his skills to know people wouldn't cut themselves and he said it was only natural for people to want to touch something they were instructed not to.

"I try to keep the edges as sharp as possible, but safe and that gives people a licence.

"I think it's something to do with how we were brought up, not to touch glass, and so people love to touch the edges."

For more information on the arts head to www.oakuraarts.co.nz

 - Stuff

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