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On March 31, 2010, Ione Thorkelsson was in Rideau Hall, receiving a Governor General’s (Bronfman) Award, one of Canada’s foremost distinctions for excellence in the artistic disciplines. These awards carry a prize valued at $25,000.

Ione has an interesting and impressive list of accomplishments. After four years of studying architecture at the University of Manitoba, she started working in the artistic field.

In 1973, she started making vividly coloured functional blown glass.

Over 35 years ago she built her own studio and proceeded to teach herself the intricate technique of kiln fired glass. As she was a pioneer in this art form, years were spent perfecting the techniques necessary to create finished pieces.

From her unique home on the edge of an ancient escarpment of glacial Lake Agassiz near Roseisle, MB, Ione has begun creating a body of cast glass pieces and installations based on biological forms. An image of her work is displayed in the Icelandic National League of North America’s 2010 Artisan Calendar for November.

After 40 years of working as an artist, Ione has an impressive list of contributions to the artistic community in the form of exhibitions, collections, shows, publications and journals. In 2007, she was inducted into the Royal Canadian Association of Artists. More can be learned by visiting the web site or Ione’s personal web site at

Ione’s grandparents, Halldor and Gudrun Thorkelsson arrived in Winnipeg in 1914. They lived on Sam Baldwin’s Island by the Narrows for a year, then homesteaded near Dog Lake and later moved to Ashern. Her parents Edwin and Margaret Webster were both from Ashern.

For years she has been involved with the Icelandic community which as she says, “has been such a great support for me”. This same community was watching with great pride as she accepted the award from Governor General Michaëlle Jean in the capital city.

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