The Kerfoot Collection
The Kerfoot Collection on display in the National Art Glass Gallery, 2009
The Kerfoot Collection of Australian studio glass was begun in the late 1970's, and has gradually expanded to over 150 works, with many of Australia's leading glass artists represented by well chosen pieces. In 2009, forty-five exceptional pieces were donated by Joyce Kerfoot to the National Art Glass Collection, with the assistance of the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program. Many of these pieces are by artists not previously represented in the Collection; other pieces complement works already in the Collection by illuminating different periods or styles in their creators' artistic careers.
Left to right: Mark Elliott, Phycodura equis (male with eggs), 2005, flamed-worked borosilicate glass; Warren Langley, Druid site, 1987, kiln-formed hot glass, sand-blasted, Bullseye components, silicon glue
Joyce Kerfoot (born in Sydney, 1917) has had a long association with Wagga Wagga and also with art, both of which have led to her collecting works of art glass and the formation of the Kerfoot Collection. In the late 1940s, Joyce was one of the founding members of the Wagga Wagga Art Society, and she actively participated in their activities until 1958, when the Kerfoot family left Wagga Wagga for Melbourne. In 1977 her interest in glass began when she first acquired a piece of blown glass from the Jam Factory in Adelaide.
The studio art glass movement in Australia was still in its infancy at this time, and early on Joyce was able to purchase works at affordable prices by the pioneers of the movement. She purchased two of Sam Herman's works at a visit to his exhibition, and seeking out other glass exhibitions in Melbourne, found works by Denis O'Connor and Klaus Zimmer at the then Caulfield Institute of Technology (now Monash University).
Left to right: David Wright, River of life, 1983, kiln-formed glass; Klaus Zimmer, The original fragment Changsha, 1983, fused glass, etched, stained, silicon, solder, lead; Brian Hirst Hunting and gathering bowl 1982, cast and blown glass, gold lustre, engraving
Joyce returned often to Wagga Wagga, as her 'home town', and was delighted when Wagga Wagga Art Gallery, in the early 1980s, made collecting Australian studio art glass one of its primary missions. She attended many of the major early glass exhibitions here, and purchased some small pieces on occasion, propelled by the excitement and enthusiasm of the artists.
Back in Melbourne, Joyce also continued to attend exhibitions and revelled in new ideas or new phases of an artist's development, feeling an empathy with the glass and its creators. Exercising judgement as to which pieces to purchase became important to her. In the early days, artists of particular interest were the pioneers: Rob Knottenbelt, Warren Langley, Tony Hanning, Stephen Skillitzi, Julio Santos, Richard Clements, Nick Mount and Gerry King. Personal connections were made with a number of these artists, resulting in more acquisitions.
Joyce is still an active art glass collector to this day: Wagga Wagga Art Gallery gratefully acknowledges her exceptional generosity in donating such an extraordinary collection of works to the National Art Glass Collection.
Left to right: Richard Clements, 12 perfume bottles, 1980-1990, flame-worked borosilicate glass; George Aslanis, Exvoli (estuary), 2006, kiln-cast furnace glass