Flame worker Ian O'Driscoll working on a glass creation at hiis Glass Art Gallery at New Italy.
Flame worker Ian O'Driscoll working on a glass creation at hiis Glass Art Gallery at New Italy.

A glassy reason to visit New Italy

WHEN flame worker Ian O’Driscoll is asked how long it takes to create an intricate glass figurine, he gives an unusual answer.

“Thirty-nine years,” Mr O’Driscoll says.

That’s how long he has been working with glass.

With wife Julie, they run the Glass Art Gallery at New Italy next to the museum and cafe.

For 14 years they given talks to busloads of tourists and shared their knowledge.

In the past 13 months, gallery takings have been down 60 per cent due to the Pacific Highway upgrade and the entrance to New Italy being difficult to navigate, Mr O’Driscoll said.

“There were two crashes there at Christmas,” he said.

The highway upgrade is expected to be completed by Easter.

Despite the highway difficulties, it’s worth a visit to the gallery.

Mr O’Driscoll sculpts glass rods at a heat of 1200 degrees Celsius.

“It makes the glass runny,” he said. “It has to be white hot to do a proper weld.”

The intricate figures he sculpts include unicorns, whales, swans, dolphins, cars and numerous other surprises.

Native animals glass figures are popular, he said.

Prices range from $10 for a dolphin to $150 for a free standing glass dragon.

The gallery stocks other artists work including Lazslo Biro, Arnie Gautsh, Steve Morris and Jane Elwell.

Mr Morris’ engraved glassware is stunning with jellfish and dragonflies etched delicately onto wine glasses and vases.

  • Glass Art Gallery at New Italy is open 10am-4pm every day.

Flame worker Ian O'Driscoll's dolpin figurine at New Italy.
Flame worker Ian O'Driscoll's dolpin figurine at New Italy.

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