One of the great characters and pioneer of the Australian Art Glass movement, Don Wreford, passed away in Daylesford Hospital in the small hours of Tuesday, October 6, 2020.
Don had an eventful life. After completing 4 years of study at Hornsea College of Art, London, in 1964, he was instrumental in setting up perhaps the first vegetarian restaurant in London, Manna, in Primrose Hill; still there and now famous! He then travelled through Africa, Cyprus, Turkey, Syria, Mexico, USA, India and much of Europe, studying cultures and indigenous art forms. In the early seventies he taught himself how to work with stained glass before moving to Sydney in 1977 to establish a stained glass studio. Moving from flat glass to hot glass, Don found his ‘metier’ and worked under Stan Melis at the Jam Factory in Adelaide. He moved to Melbourne to study under Julio Santos, Richard Morrell and Dennis O’Connor in 1981.
He was awarded an artist-in-residency at the Phillip Institute of Technology in Melbourne before setting up in Malmsbury in 1988. He moved the studio to Gisborne in 1990 before settling permanently in Daylesford in 1993, where his hot glass studio quickly became a local arts landmark.
His fluid, flamboyant style in glass was matched only by his gift for rhetoric; many visitors to his colourful studio being beguiled as much by his eloquence as his remarkably original glass pieces.
Don Wreford was a child of the sixties; his glass art wonderfully capturing the freedom of expression which epitomised that post-war generation. Given the way the world is moving, we are unlikely to see his like again.