Light werx…

Richard William Wheater: Neon Workshop…

Richard William Wheater


Here at the Hideout, Megsie’s had a hankering to do neon for years – not the sign variety*, more of a nebulous yearning to play with ethereal installation (out in the landscape) and maybe the odd Ned and Shwe – so she’s been known to pour over programs at the ‘Chuck or Northlands that offered neon workshops from time to time – only to set them wistfully aside in the light of more pressingly prosaic commitments. Such is life and don’t we all know it.

So when she saw that Richard William Wheater (who’s work she’d been clocking on and off over the last few years) was out from the old Dart to run an intensive workshop at the Canberra Glassworks, well, it was just too good an opportunity to miss. [Notwithstanding that it’s been in excess of a decade since she dallied with a torch (with the wonderful James Minson) and that it patently takes more than 4 days to get even a vague grip on Neon, duh!! n(Ed)] And off we went.

And a very interesting 4 days it was, as one might expect; plenty of challenges, lots of fun (in terms of Megsie’s very peculiar sense of humour), anxiety in spades, lessons learnt (again!) and progress (of sorts) made. So hey, Ops Normal!



Days ended with James Turrell (or Hotel Hotel) and one morning started with Light Yoga…which really isn’t our thing ‘cos, as you know, Megsie would only assume this position for mooning…




or this one for the Haka…



…but, hey, the shadow play was fabulous…



After which we swung by Ken+Julia Yonetani’s Crystal Palace at NGA Contemporary…


Ken+Julia Yonetani, Crystal Palace

Ken+Julia Yonetani, Crystal Palace


A surprise treat was a visit and demo by Melbourne Neon maestro Steven Cole (whose father made the iconic Skipping Girl sign!) with his protégé Katie and Ferdinand…


And the rest of the time was spent torch hopping (and bung hunting!) with a little hot shop thrown in…


Anyways, it was all quite intense and exhausting – but not entirely discouraging. And it was quite marvellous to be there to witness one of Harry’s hearts charged up and glowing/flickering (we predict a wave of emotive installations coming soon to a gallery near you…)

So what, you may ask, has Megsie taken away from it all? Well, a serious determination, it goes without saying, to get hold of a torch pronto and get bending! And plenty of affirmation, on various other counts. And it was great to do the workshop with Bernz (we’ll definitely be kicking the studio footy around coast-side.)


[ *as a writer, Megsie’s disinclined to use text in her artwork – the only exception being…yep, you guessed it…’cunt’. n(Ed)]

10 thoughts on “Light werx…

  1. Fun fun fun and the enthusiasm of a workshop. Those wall lights can have nite companions. I drool at the european workshop adds. Been knock backed for 3 locally, 1 didn’t have time for what I went for. Got asked to do some locally and RAV knocked me back for mem’ship and PLInsurance. So I’m working on that. Never give up. ps I saw some big name cutting, labelled engraving yesterday, and thought “that’s not very well done” but I guess it’s artistic.


    • Yeah Pete, but expectation can be a cruel mistress, eh. Luckily we’re silver lining kinda guys. Meanwhile insurance and OH&S crush the life out of, well, life these days. There goes all the pleasure.


    • I can see you making fab neons, Wendos. No brown neon for the poo sad to say, but (if it survives the gas bombardment/kiln assault) there’ll be a uranium (neon filled) Yorkie poo heading for the Hideout – and a phosphor powder ‘Harry Potter wand’ (that I won in the class quiz!) We’ll keep our fingers crossed. xx


  2. Interesting-I saw scenes of this workshop on someone’s Instagram the other day but didn’t realise you were there.
    How was it being at the Canberra Glassworks? The thought of it makes me grind my teeth ever so slightly…


      • You have to expect email addresses like that for families of IT-types don’t you?
        Well done for staying the neon course in such a setting. Your tenacity is commendable. 😉


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