Jeffrey Stenbom: Coping with PTSD, Connecting with Other Veterans through Kilnformed Glass
In the aftermath of 9/11, Jeffrey Stenbom felt compelled to act and joined the U.S. Army. Stationed in Germany, he was deployed to Kosovo and sent to Iraq for the second year of the war. As a cavalry scout, forward reconnaissance or “finding the bad guys” became his daily routine for the next three and a half years during the height of the conflict.
There were crises on the home front as well. While serving in Iraq, Stenbom missed both the birth of his first son and the death of his sister and only sibling. A combination of deployment and emotional upheaval triggered post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and Stenbom was discharged from the Army and returned stateside in January 2004.
Back home, Stenbom tried to make a new life for himself as he struggled with anger issues caused by his PTSD. By chance, he discovered kilnforming glass in a class offered at Normandale Community College in Bloomington, Minnesota, where he was pursuing the last class required for his associate of arts degree.
The passion, drive and focus inspired by fusing helped Stenbom manage his PTSD. It also helped him recognize that he wanted to build a future incorporating both art and teaching. The artist earned his BFA in glass and sculpture and a complementary BS in art education from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. A desire to teach at all levels inspired Stenbom to apply to graduate school at Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Stenbom’s thesis show at Tulane, entitled Thank You, included four large installation pieces that came together as an exhibit. The show included large, clear, cast glass dog tags suspended from an acrylic chain with a blown glass clasp. Kiln cast glass combat boots were reflected in a cube of one-way mirrors atop a ground of discarded brass rifle shells. There was also an interactive glass ground with imprints of army boots over which visitors could fit their own steps and a flag woven of U.S. military uniforms.
“The concept behind the exhibit developed from a research fellowship on symbolism and iconology. My goal was to be more effective in how I communicate symbolically with my own art. I then considered symbols that are iconic within the culture of the military and decided to use those things to draw the viewer in to consider the piece overall.”
The largest piece Stenbom has created to date includes 7,300 cast glass dog tags and was installed on a wall of the Bellevue Museum, Bellevue, Washington. Titled Every Year, the piece is a startling representation of the number of veterans who commit suicide each year.
Powerful symbolism and iconology define Stenbom’s current work in glass. Residencies at The Studio at The Corning Museum of Glass, Pilchuck Glass School and the University of Wisconsin-River Falls have provided fertile ground to advance his ideas. Now instructing, in 2020 the artist will teach kilncasting at Urban Glass, Brooklyn, New York, and 3D design as well as fused glass at Normandale Community College. His work will be exhibited in A New State of Matter: Contemporary Glass, at the Grand Rapids Art Museum, Grand Rapids, MI, beginning on January 25, 2020.
Watch “Jeffrey Stenbom, “Every Year” Installation Time-lapse” on Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/219605414?ref=em-share
Carmen Lozar: The Art of the Story
Spilling out from their bottles, bowls, cartons and cans, Carmen Lozar’s flameworked characters tell a story about how messy life can be. These small narratives accentuate the movement and flow of glass but also speak volumes about our relationship to the world.
“I have found myself drawn to glass for the innate sense of motion it can bring to a work of art. While the intrinsic motion of most materials becomes paralyzed at the touch of the human hand, glass, as an amorphous solid, never relinquishes its visual motility. I have chosen to pursue a career in glass sculpture not only for my love of the material, but also because there is so much left to be explored within the field of flameworking and the medium itself.”
Art has always played an essential role in Lozar’s life, growing up with a mother who performed puppet shows and a father who created scale ship models and watercolor renditions of the ramshackle barns on the outskirts of town. During undergraduate studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Lozar interned at the Bullseye Glass Factory in Portland, Oregon, and attended Pilchuck Glass School as a Saxe award recipient and staff member. Upon completion of her BFA, the young artist travelled to China, Indonesia, Thailand, and India to explore eastern traditional art. Back in the US, she moved to the Southwest and opened a casting and flameworking facility in Tucson, Arizona. Work from this period was exhibited in numerous shows, including SOFA, Chicago. In 2003 Lozar completed her post-graduate degree at Alfred University, New York.
Born in 1975, Lozar lives in Bloomington-Normal, Illinois where she maintains a studio and is a member of the art faculty at Illinois Wesleyan University. She has taught at Pilchuck Glass School, Penland School of Craft, Pittsburgh Glass School, Appalachian Center for Crafts, The Chrysler Museum, and the Glass Furnace in Istanbul, Turkey. She has had residencies at the Corning Museum of Glass and Penland School of Craft. Although she travels abroad to teach and share her love for glass – most recently to Turkey, Italy, and New Zealand – she always returns to her Midwestern roots.
“The sculpture I create with glass is meant to inspire and provoke imagination. Telling stories has always been my primary objective. Some narratives are sad, funny, or thoughtful but my pieces are always about celebrating life. My most current body of work deals with spills.”
In summer 2019, Lozar taught her Small Scale, Large Impact Masterclass at the Seventh International Festival of Glass, Stourbridge UK, as well as flameworking classes at the Cleveland Institute of Art, Penland School of Crafts, and UrbanGlass in Brooklyn, New York. In 2020, Lozar will teach flameworking at SW Art Glass, in Phoenix, AZ, January 4-5 and Pilchuck Summer Session 3.
Lozar is represented by the Ken Saunders Gallery in Chicago, and her work is included in the permanent collection at Bergstrom-Mahler Museum of Glass, Neenah, Wisconsin.
Alex Bernstein: Time, Creation and Transformation
If we were to examine a cross-section of an ancient iceberg, no doubt the layers and various densities and opacities of color would be beautiful, but they would also signify something greater than ourselves. Such is the case with Alex Gabriel Bernstein’s sculpture. The forms and the techniques he uses to create them, mirror processes in nature such as oxidation, erosion, growth and decay, inspiring in the viewer a profound contemplation of time, creation and transformation.
Unwittingly, fortuitously, Bernstein discovered a method of applying metal to glass, and began using it as a jagged, impenetrable crust for his glass castings. Though others have openly copied these techniques - resulting in a new verb, “bernstein-ing” - none will achieve the depth or emotions unique to Bernstein’s sculpture.
As the child of two established glass artists, William and Katherine Bernstein, Alex grew up in a creative environment with access to many of the artists of the American Studio Glass movement. The beautiful surroundings of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Western North Carolina where they lived, played almost as much a part in his inspired upbringing as did the breadth of teachers around him.
After studying psychology at the University of North Carolina in Asheville and working at a children’s psychiatric hospital, Bernstein made the decision to pursue his artistic endeavors full time. He received an MFA from the Rochester Institute of Technology’s School for American Crafts and went on to teach at the Rochester Institute of Technology, the Cleveland Institute of Art, the Penland School of Crafts, and The Studio at the Corning Museum of Glass. Twelve years ago, Bernstein was the Department Head of Glass at the Worcester Center for Crafts in Massachusetts, but made the decision to return to his hometown in 2007 to set up a studio and focus on creating his own work full-time. He is currently on the board of the Asheville Art Museum as well as the North Carolina Glass Center.
Bernstein has recently mounted solo shows at George Billis Gallery, New York City; Hooks Epstein Gallery in Houston; Habatat Gallery in Royal Oak, MI; and the William Traver Gallery, Seattle. His work is included in numerous collections, including those of the Corning Museum of Glass, the Glasmuseum Frauenau in Germany, the Mellon Financial Corporation, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, and the Palm Springs Art Museum.
Upcoming Bernstein exhibitions and events include Habatat Prime Chicago, a pop-up gallery located three miles from Navy Pier and open during Sofa Chicago. The 7500-square-foot space offers an incredible collection of the finest in contemporary glass, including Bernstein’s newest work. Winterowd Fine Art, a contemporary art gallery located on historic Canyon Road in Santa Fe, New Mexico, is gearing up for Bernstein’s solo exhibition in 2020. In January 2020, Bernstein’s work will be exhibited at a collectors weekend held at Lahaina Gallery in Maui, Hawaii.
Receive This Glass
"Receive this glass
it holds my memories
to be pollinated
by your sight
your touch through time."
- Paul J. Stankard
There are few works of art in any medium that are so beautiful, so transcendent that the viewer is transported inside the piece and into the soul of its creator. Such is the case with the paperweights and botanicals created by internationally acclaimed artist and pioneer in the studio glass movement, Paul Stankard. By blending mysticism with magical realism, his work references the continuum of nature and allows us to celebrate on an intimate level her primal beauty.
Considered a living master in the art of the paperweight, Stankard’s work is represented in more than 75 museums around the world. Over his 40-year artistic journey, he has received two honorary doctorate degrees, an honorary associate's degree, and many awards within the glass community, most recently the Masters of the Medium Award from Smithsonian's The James Renwick Alliance and the Glass Art Society’s Lifetime Achievement Award. He is a Fellow of the American Craft Council and a recipient of the UrbanGlass Award—Innovation in a Glassworking Technique.
In 1961, Stankard enrolled in Salem County Vocational Technical Institute’s Scientific Glassblowing program (now Salem Community College). During his subsequent 10-year scientific glassblowing career, fabricating complex instruments was his focus. As head of the glass department at Rohn & Haas in Philadelphia, the artist began experimenting with floral paperweights as a hobby. The work was eventually noticed by art dealer Reese Palley at a craft expo in Atlantic City, New Jersey, and in 1972, Stankard abandoned industry for art.
Stankard says: “Every artist’s transition from detail to delicacy will follow a different path. In my case, my techniques evolved from working as a scientific glassblowing technologist producing custom precision instruments used for medical and organic chemistry research. This gave me a platform from which to interpret nature in a personal way. From the get-go, I was able to employ a detail-oriented precision that was borrowed from my work in industry.”
He continues: “Art-making is as varied as there are artists working. You take advantage of the skill-set you know, and you make it personal. You go beyond the practical, and you go beyond making product. You learn from your process and build on your personal vocabulary, fusing your detail into the realm of delicacy.”
Stankard’s role as educator includes establishing the flameworking studio at Penland School of Craft, Spruce Pine, North Carolina, and serving as a founding board member and President of The Creative Glass Center of America, Millville, New Jersey. The artist taught students in the US at Penland; the Corning Museum of Glass, Corning, New York; Pilchuck Glass School, Stanwood, Washington; and abroad at Kanaz Forest of Creation Japan with Hiroshi Yamano as well as at North Lands Creative, in the Scottish Highlands. He remains an Artist-in-Residence and Honorary Professor at Salem Community College, where he founded the International Flameworking Conference.
Now dividing his time between flameworking and writing, Stankard is the author of three books; an autobiography No Green Berries or Leaves: The Creative Journey of an Artist in Glass, an educational resource Spark the Creative Flame: Making the Journey from Craft to Art; and most recently Studio Craft as Career: A Guide to Achieving Excellence in Art-making. His love of Walt Whitman poetry continues.
Stankard’s work will be exhibited at Habatat Prime Chicago, a pop-up gallery located three miles from Navy Pier, as part of Sofa Chicago, October 31 through November 3. The 7,500-square-foot space offers an incredible collection of the finest in contemporary glass, including Stankard’s newest work. For more information, visit www.habatat.com. Also, the Wiener Museum of Decorative Arts in Dania Beach, South Florida, will exhibit the Wiener collection of Stankard’s work in its The Art of the Flame exhibition. The exhibition preview weekend will be held November 9 and 10, and the show will run through April 30, 2020. Learn more at wmoda.com.
Mutant: Narcissus Quagliata’s New Book of Poetry and Sketches
“Divested of the illusion that art matters, divested of the illusion that it is meaningful and worthwhile to have a successful life as an artist, the irrational love for the creative process itself is all that I have left. It all boils down to my addiction to entering over and over in the magical moment and mysterious space when an idea forms inside of you and becomes itself by traveling from the dark cave of my soul to the outside reality, be it a huge glass dome or a small watercolor.”
October 2019 marks the release of Narcissus Quagliata’s fourth book, Mutant, a collection of poetry and sketches created from 1968 to 2018 and inspired by the life and times of this internationally acclaimed artist. The book intimately explores the relationship between dreams, words and images on 216 pages with 13 full-color photographs of Quagliata's glass and watercolor work.
Born and raised in Rome, Quagliata later lived in San Francisco for 30 years where he began his journey of redefining stained glass as an artistic medium. He made a name for himself by addressing subjects and issues in his glass that were typically handled by painters. Reversely, his work in glass made him an outlier in the world of painting. Still, the artist managed to cultivate a successful career without ever definitively fitting in anywhere.
With the introduction of new technologies in glass fusing, Quagliata set about reinventing the glass panel as a painting, spontaneous and free. He developed new attitudes and methods to rethink what could be done with glass using the kiln. Through his Painting with Light techniques, the artist pioneered a second area of the glass arts.
In both stained and fused glass, Quagliata devoted 50 years to the exploration of the human figure as a gateway to the strangeness of life in an incomprehensible universe. His work has been exhibited in museum collections worldwide including the Metropolitan Museum, New York City; De Young Museum, San Francisco, California; Museum of Light, Mexico City, Mexico; Museum of Glass San Ildefonso, Segovia, Spain; and many more.
Major public works by Quagliata include Wind, Fire and Time, a 6700- square-foot, public commissioned, fused and stained glass dome in the Central Station of Taiwan’s metro system in Kaohsiung, Taiwan (2008); Divinity in Light, a dome of glass over the entry Rotunda of Santa Maria degli Angeli in Rome, Italy (1999); Return to the Cosmos, a 360-square-foot backlit glass mural in an office tower lobby at Reforma 115, Mexico City, Mexico, (2004); and most recently The Resurrection Window in Leawood Kansas, a 3440-square-foot fused glass window designed by Tim Carey and created in collaboration with Judson Studios (2017). Quagliata has twice received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts for his work in the U.S.
At 76, Quagliata continues to be much in demand professionally, dividing time between his studio in Mexico City, Mexico, and an ongoing residency at Judson Studios, Los Angeles, California, in his role as Director of Innovation. At Judson, Quagliata works to further develop the studio’s fusing capabilities while also helping to guide its artist development program, introducing artists in other mediums to stained and fused glass and successfully executing their concepts in glass.
Mutant, and Quagliata’s previous book, Archetypes and Visions in Light & Glass, are available at dlartglass.com or order by phone (303) 449- 8737. Both titles will be available for purchase at the October 23 lecture in Lakewood, Colorado. Have your copy signed by the author!
“An authentic art survives stylistic evolutions over time to become a benchmark of art history. In this regard, I believe historians will judge Scott Parsons’ work as being authentic, original, and (most importantly) a contribution to the historical trajectory of stained glass in architecture.” Kenneth von Roenn
Scott Parsons: Sacramental Imagination
Applying his graphic arts talent to the world of stained glass, Scott Parsons designed 26 stained glass windows created in three series for Our Lady of Loreto Parish in Foxfield, Colorado. Fabricated by Derix Glasstudio, Taunusstein, Gemany, these windows redefined the roles of both the artisans making the work as well as the new technologies and materials used in their creation. Through imagery not from stained glass tradition but rather a contemporary sensitivity and visual language common to our time, Parsons expresses what he calls sacramental imagination - a dimension beyond our perceived reality.
“I am inspired by the idea of place, of defining a space with a sensitivity that can transform, celebrate, and engage the redemptive qualities of metaphor for the profoundly personal and communal in people’s lives.”
An international award-winning artist, Parsons earned his MFA in Studio Art, magna cum laude, from the University of Colorado, Boulder in 1990. In addition to teaching printmaking and drawing as a professor of art at Augustana University in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, he has completed numerous public art commissions across the United States and Canada. His work, which has been reviewed in Architectural Record, Sculpture, Art in America, Stained Glass Quarterly, Public Art Review, and Faith & Form, includes Percent for Art and private commissions for churches, museums, research facilities, university buildings and transportation centers.
Parsons has received five Faith & Form Awards for Liturgical Art and three CoD+A (Collaboration of Design and Art) Top 100 Projects Awards.In 2002, his terrazzo floor at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, titled Algorithmic Tapestry, was recognized by Art in America as one of the most significant works of public art in the United States. In 2014, Parsons received two Honor Awards in Religious Arts: Visual Arts from the Interfaith Forum on Religion, Art, and Architecture (IFRAA) for his Our Lady of Loreto windows. The artist has also received multiple National Terrazzo and Mosaic Association Honor Awards for his designs in those mediums.
After serving on the Faith & Form jury this summer in Charlotte, North Carolina, Parsons currently is at work on new windows for La Casa, in Paradise Valley, Arizona, which will be installed next month. His list of upcoming commissions includes 15 Stations of the Cross mosaic panels for Saint Michaels in Sioux Falls, South Dakota; glass designs for a church in Kentucky; mosaics for a church in Missouri; and terrazzo for the airports in Charlotte, North Carolina, and Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
At first glance, the work of Evelyn Gottschall Baker could have been unearthed in an archeological dig outside of Buena Vista, Colorado, where the artist lives and works from her studio, Glass Fractions. But a closer look will reveal these perfectly colored and shaped skeletal remains are actually pâte de verreglass castings. Using her unique mold-free process, Gottschall Baker is putting her work on the map at events such as Bullseye Glass Co.’s 2018 Emerge/Evolve competition and exhibition.
On view now at the Belleview Art Museum, Belleview, Washington, Gottschall Baker’s series of animal bone replicas garnered her an Honorable Mention in Emerge/ Evolve 2018. The artist spent over a year developing her own technique for sculpting glass paste into forms that can be fired without a mold. Her experience and discipline as a test engineer proved invaluable in the methodical, detailed testing required to create the complex firing schedules for this kilnworking method, which must account for shrinkage, varying thicknesses, and the way in which heat affects individual components.
Beginning her career as a graphic artist and illustrator, Gottschall Baker eventually became an advertising manager and senior illustrator for the Department of the Army, for whom she created highly detailed, exacting paintings and drawings. After receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree, she became a test engineer for a large U.S. defense contractor. During this time, Gottschall Baker studied watercolor and oil painting, and took classes in stained glass, which allowed her to pursue a part-time career as a stained glass artist.
Gottschall Baker enrolled in her first fused glass class in 2011, primarily to create components to incorporate into stained glass pieces. But her interest in fused glass grew into a passion, which was eagerly pursued through a number of classes, many of which were offered by D&L Art Glass in Denver.
“Living in Colorado,” says Gottschall Baker, “I find it natural to try to capture the beauty of our local landscape into works of art using glass. My initial desire to simplify my style was well suited for stained glass, but as soon as I discovered glass fusing, I began re-introducing detail and realism into my art. During the several past years, I have embraced this realistic style, and have begun to use both traditional and non-traditional casting and mold techniques to create sculptures that depict the beauty around me.”
In 2018, Gottschall Baker began teaching her techniques in workshops in various studios throughout the US, Canada, and Scotland. She’ll be teaching at Bullseye in Portland at the end of March 2020 and at Bullseye in Santa Fe in November 2020.
Eusheen Goines: The Fillacello King
Born in a small village known as Takima, Oregon, Eusheen Goines comes from a family of artists and musicians. At a young age, he learned to live off of creating art and travelling like a nomad. By the age of 18, this lifestyle took the artist on solo journey working for Renaissance Fairs throughout the country.
In 2000 Goines discovered flameworking glass while working at a smoke shop and began spending the majority of his free time behind the torch. For years, he worked with the some of the best artists in functional glass including Mike Luna and Darby Holm. Now residing in Evergreen, Colorado, Goines is a part of the Everdream Studio.
With a free-flowing style Goines creates functional art pieces that can be instantly recognized as his by their intricate, controlled detail and color. His aesthetic signature, the fillacello, is created much the same as reticello but is painstakingly laid out on tubing then filled with color before it is condensed. One would be hard pressed to find better examples of line work manipulation than that of Goines.
In addition to flameworking glass, Goines spends his time “skateboarding, snowboarding, traveling, rocking shows, and relaxing with friends and family. Everything you see in my portfolio,” he says, “is a direct influence from my Mom (Libby Goines) and Dad (Patrick Farley), my brother (Shen Goines),Warren and Wanda Goines (my grandparents), Gilbert Velasco, Darby Holm, Banjo Matt, Natey Biskind, Mike Luna, Chaz Pyle, Micah Blatt, Clinton Roman, Cowboy, Jarred Betty, The Dome School, and many many others.”
In 2006, Goines discovered the joy of teaching and began sharing his techniques in Japan and the U.S., including the Corning Museum of Glass, where he will teach a workshop in January 2020. The artist has now demonstrated worldwide in Australia, Japan, Germany, Costa Rica, and the U.S.
This Saturday, September 14, 2019, Goines and his fellow Everdream artists will be exhibiting work at HEATERZ 90210, a private high-class soiree in the heart of Beverly Hillz, featuring all new artwork and experiences curated by the collective.
For more information, stay tuned to the Everdream Instagram accounts:
Geometry and the projection of light have always been key components of Debora Coombs’ artwork. In 2013 she began exploring mathematical projections as a way to understand shifts between dimensions of space. Working from Penrose tiling (a two-dimensional shadowof a five-dimensional lattice), 3D sculptures in glass and paper were built using her classic design skills to explore various aspects of mathematics.
A number of high-profile residencies have allowed Coombs to explore these new concepts. In the spring of 2016, she did a month-long collaborative residency with computer scientist Duane Bailey, and in October, a 2-week residency at Assets for Artists: The Studiosat MASS MoCAat the Massachusetts Museum for Contemporary Art, North Adams, Massachusetts.
In 2017, a 3-week residency at Carroll College, Helena, Montana, allowed the artist to focus on the theological symbolism of geometry, which resulted in a commission for 85 square feet of hand painted geometric stained glass windows for All Saints, the new chapel on campus. That same year, Coombs spent a month at Jentel Artist Residencyin Banner, Wyoming, making a series of math-based drawings that led to the discovery of a new geometric figure.
In February 2018, Coombs was invited by artist Lauren Bon of the Metabolic Studiosin Los Angeles, California, to spend two weeks collaborating and contributing to a landscape project for redirecting LA’s river water for the irrigation of city parks. In April, she presented this and other recent work at the 13th Biennial Gathering for Gardnerin Atlanta, Georgia, an international conference for mathematicians and artists. Then in May 2018, longtime New Yorker staff-writer Lawrence Weschler invited Coombs to speak at the Tamarind Institutein Albuquerque, New Mexico, as part of his Wonder Cabinet, a gathering of artists who work in close association with scientists.
Coombs’ award-winning stained glass has been exhibited, commissioned and collected internationally for over 30 years. A Fellow of the British Society of Master Glass Painters, the artist studied stained glass at Edinburgh College of Art, Scotland; University of Wales, Swansea; and received her Master’s degree from the Royal College of Art in London, England, 1985. An experienced educator, Coombs directed the glass department at Chelsea College of Art in London from 1994 to 1996. She has lectured and taught stained glass for professional associations and colleges including Pilchuck Glass School, Stained Glass Association of America, American Glass Guild, and the British Society of Master Glass Painters. Her religious commissions include two 25-foot-tall figurative windows for Marble Collegiate Church in Manhattan, 20 stained glass windows for St. Mary’s Cathedral in Portland, Oregon, and 4 windows for St. Henry’s Catholic Church in Nashville, Tennessee.
Rare in the stained glass world, Coombs has successfully extended her devotion to content and story-telling to her non-commissioned work. Her piece, “Ornithologist,” from her 2009 Menfolk series, was included in New Glass Review 31, The Corning Museum of Glass publication dedicated to presenting cutting edge works of glass art. Her solo exhibition titled Menfolk, opened at the Jeanetta Cochrane Theater Gallery in London, England, before traveling to the Stained Glass Museum at Ely Cathedral, Cambridgeshire, England, in the spring of 2010. That same year, Coombs completed a collaborative work with artist Michael Oatman as part of his mixed-media installation “All Utopias Fell,” which remains permanently on exhibit at MASS MoCA.
In June 2018 Coombs ran a hands-on pilot project for children and community members at the J Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, and contributed to a panel discussion chaired by Margaret Wertheim from the Institute For Figuring about the connections between art and mathematics. The focus of this one-day conference was STEM to STEAM; practical ways to bring the A for Art into STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) programs in education.
In November 2018, Coombs completed two stained glass windows with geometric themes for Carroll College, Helena, Montana. Work continues on three more windows, scheduled for completion in February 2021. The artist’s sculptures are currently on exhibition at the Schow Science Library in Williams College, Williamstown, Massachusetts.
Jane Bruce is an independent artist and educator based in New York City. She teaches and exhibits internationally and her dual careers of artist and maker have taken her around the world, from Europe to the USA, to Australia and back again. Bruce works in a range of techniques to create objects and mini installations, primarily through the processes of kiln forming, blowing and coldworking glass.
Born in England, Bruce received a Master of Arts from the Royal College of Art, London, and undertook further postgraduate study at the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred. She has been the recipient of a range of fellowships, visiting artist awards and grants, including fellowships from the Creative Glass Center of America and the New York Foundation for the Arts; artist-in-residence at The Studio of The Corning Museum of Glass, visiting artist at Museum of Glass, Tacoma, and a New Work Grant from the Australia Council. Exhibiting internationally, her work can be found in many major museum collections worldwide, including those of the Victoria and Albert Museum, London; European Museum of Modern Glass (Europaisches Museum fur Modernes Glas, Kunstsammlunger der Veste Coburg) Germany; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; The Corning Museum of Glass, New York; Toledo Museum of Art, Ohio; and The Powerhouse Museum, Sydney, Australia.
As an educator, Bruce served as senior lecturer in the Glass Workshop of the Australian National University Canberra School of Art (1994 - 2001) and was Head of Workshop (2001-2003). She was artistic and technical director for Northlands Creative Glass, Caithness, Scotland (2003-2007) and continues to organize annual symposiums there for British and international artists and students. She has also taught workshops in the US at UrbanGlass in Brooklyn, New York, Bullseye Glass Co., in Portland, Oregon, and Pilchuck Glass School, Stanwood, Washington.
Bruce’s Vase, Bottle, Bowl series furthered the artist’s exploration of the vessel, which is deeply rooted in the history of the decorative or applied arts. Interested in the essential object, she reduces the vessel to its central and fundamental parts and attributes. She says: “If I were to pick an adjective to describe this work, it might be formal. As well as abstracting the vessel and presenting its elemental nature, it is also important as to how composition, color, light, proportion, and the juxtaposition of positive and negative space work within the object, and how a group of objects form a resolved statement.”
On the other hand, Bruce’s Houseseries explored a more personal concern related to landscape and loss in a particular place. In what became known as The Clearances, (1760-1830), the Highlands of Scotland were emptied and became a wilderness. Even today, with many ruined crofts still dotting the Caithness landscape, there continues to be a strong sense of loss and desolation in that place. “Inspired by this history and what remains, the current house forms seek to evoke thoughts of loss, the past and what might have been.”
Bruce is working on two related series currently categorized as Indefinite Objectsand Deep Space Panels, both addressing deep and never-ending space. As the viewer moves around the works they seem to change and reconfigure as the viewer’s viewpoint changes. These new series will be on view in an exhibition titled Constructs: The Thing About Space Is That It Just Keeps Going, at River House Arts, Toledo, Ohio, from October 4 – November 16, 2019. Although these new works contain very little glass, and the Deep Space panels contain none at all, they are about space and light, which Bruce considers to be inherent qualities of glass.
From November 5 through December 10, 2019, Bruce will teach her workshop, Color, Light, Glass: An Introduction to Kilnformed Glass at UrbanGlass. In June 2020, the artist will travel to North Lands Creative Glass for an international artist symposium that will look at issues of home and place and which she founded and has coordinated since 2010.
Whether a chameleon, a crested kingfisher or a Cristo Rhinoceros hornbill, Devin Somerville’s high-end art pipes begin with custom millies that are stacked and assembled into mind-blowing and unforgettable creatures. Also known as Crunklestein, the artist’s take on the ancient Italian technique of millefiore has become his aesthetic signature. Once a process amongst many used by Crunklestein, when friends, fans, and fellow artists came face to face with his colorful, ornate millie pipes, the artist was encouraged to make all of his work using the chip stack technique he developed.
Somerville,aka Cap’n Crunk Glass, resides in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and produces a variety of dab rig styles, specializing in the mini or tiny tube design. His small dab rigs usually include mini encased millies throughout the neck and body of the piece, while his full sized incredibly detailed and realistic sculpted oil rigs showcase his unlimited range of talent and creativity.
Blowing glass since before the year 2000, Crunklestein currently creates the largest work of his career for an exhibition and workshop to be presented at Level 42 Gallery in Asheville, North Carolina. On Friday, August 16, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Somerville will teach his millie making techniques, and on Saturday, August 18, his stacking and sculpting processes. Later Saturday evening, an exhibition of new Crunklestein functional glass and collabs opens at Level 42 Gallery.
Amongst other career highlights, Somerville is the only two-time champion of The Bern Gallery’s Pipe Classic, held in Burlington, Vermont, each of the last 14 years.The Pipe Classic is the world’s first and longest running pipe-making competition, bringing together 12 of the world’s most prolific pipe-makers for an annual event that forever changed competitive pipe-making as we know it. Names are made, heroes are born, and champions are crowned. This year’s field features three past champions, and a who’s-who of the medium’s masters. Twelve artists, 12 hours, 12 pipes, one champion! Be there at Pipe Classic 14, held September 23 – 29, 2019.
The Permission of the Mind
Howard Ben Tré
Using methods learned in his metal-foundry class at Brooklyn Technical High School, Howard Ben Tré pioneered the art of casting molten glass long before YouTube tutorials and Facebook casting groups existed. His hands-on technical innovations changed what was possible in cast glass and allowed Ben Tré to create career defining monumental sculptures that could survive the rigors of outdoor installation.
Among Ben Tré’s public commissions are the award-winning installation of fountains and seating created for Post Office Square Park in Boston; the plaza and sculpture for BankBoston’s headquarters in downtown Providence; an interactive fountain for the hall of the renovated Mary Baker Eddy Library in Boston; the pedestrianization and street scheme redesign of Warrington Town Center in England; and plazas with sculpture/fountains and landscaping for Target Corporation Headquarters in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Whether casting glass for public spaces or personal series, Ben Tré found inspiration in the geometry of ancient ritual objects and historical architecture. His Wrapped Forms (1998 - 2000) evoke the relics and customs of Asian ritual while Lightness of Being (2008) juxtaposes fragility and strength, masculine and feminine. As light is transmitted, diffused, and refracted through the dense glass mass, Ben Tré’s sculpture takes on a mysterious life of its own. Sections of the glass were treated with gold leaf either on the surface or by installing gold leaf covered lead bars within the glass matrix, adding to the magic.
Public and personal work plays off one another, sparking new ideas and forms. In fact, they emanate from the same source— Ben Tré’s desire to use art to bring people together in our collective humanity. Whether viewed in a public square or a private gallery, his cast glass returns us to the realm where utopian visions and social ideals don’t seem so foolish. Ben Tréreminds us that if we give our minds permission, anything is possible.
Ben Tré’s work is included in numerous private collections in the US, Europe and Asiaand in more than 101 museum and public collections worldwide, among them the Metropolitan Museum of Art; the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; the Philadelphia Museum of Art; the National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto; and the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Nice. He has been featured in 54 solo exhibitions in the U.S. and abroad, including a ten-year retrospective organized by the Phillips Collection in Washington, DC, that traveled nationally, and a retrospective exhibition at the Glass Art Museum in Toyama, Japan. Other one-person exhibitions of sculptures and drawings include those organized by the Musée d’Art Moderne et d’Art Contemporain in Nice; the David Winton Bell Gallery at Brown University; the Toledo Museum of Art; and the Cleveland Center for Contemporary Art.
Born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1949, Ben Tré received a B.S.A. from Portland State University, Portland, Oregon, in 1978 and a M.F.A from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1980. He is a three-time recipient of the National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship and a three-time recipient of the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts Fellowship. His achievements in the visual arts were recognized by the First Annual Pell Awards for Excellence in the Arts (1996), the Artist Award of Distinction by the National Council of Art Administrators (2005), and the Aileen Osborn Webb Award (2006). His public art has been recognized with awards by the Providence Preservation Society for Urban Design (1998), the British Council for Shopping Centres for Town Centre Environment (2002), and the Royal Town Planning Institute for Best Urban Design Project (2002).
Currently 40 years of drawings, works on paper, lecture notes and a number of sculptures in the Ben Tre’ collection dating back to 1977 are being assembled and archived for research purposes.
Viewing the hot sculpted work of Prague’s Martin Janecký inspires a sensation akin to gazing upon precious and antique art treasures from around the globe. His glass busts in white or black glass remind us that the human form speaks volumes about beauty, history, hope and art in a way that no other object could.
Born in the Czech Republic in 1980, Janecký began working with glass at the age of 13 at his father’s factory. His secondary school training at Novy Bor concentrated on the creation of glass art and introduced him to artists and designers from around the world that hired him to execute their ideas. In 2003, the young artist made his first trip to the United States where he studied at the Pilchuck Glass School under Richard Royal and William Morris. Among Janecký’s most recognized strengths was his mastering of blowing and sculpting “inside the bubble,” the technique used in the creation of his startling original works.
Before long, Janecký became a highly sought teacher in his field. He has taught, demonstrated and exhibited in Europe, America, Australia, Africa and Asia, to include the Corning Museum of Glass, Pilchuck Glass School, Chrysler Museum of Art, UrbanGlass, the Rietveld Academy in Holland, Bornholm Design School in Denmark, the Australian National University in Canberra, and the Toyama City Institute of Glass Art in Japan, among many.
Following a 2013 visit to Mexico, Janecký embarked on an exploration of the human skull in a tribute to Dia de Muertos, an outgrowth of his passion for the culture and people of Mexico. He says: “The willingness of the Mexican people to share this occasion with an outsider like me, someone from a totally different environment, was a humbling experience that inspired me to want to create a body of work that honors and celebrates this amazing event. My plan was to recreate iconic examples of this culture in glass, which had never been done on this scale. I did so with humility and a huge respect for Mexico’s history and culture.”
Janecký’s homeland,The Czech Republic, is rightfully proud of its own globally recognized tradition of glassmaking. Writes Dr. Petr Nový, Head Curator, Museum of Glass Jablonec nad Nisou, Czech Republic:
“Martin Janecký’s expressive realism is somewhat alien to the Czech art scene, meaning it isn’t always met with a clear sense of comprehension. It is as if non-abstract works should primarily be viewed as handicraft instead of art. But in Janecký’s case, superb handicraft serves as a springboard for this unique artist to be able to capture emotions in his glass works. And such power is something we find only very rarely in the contemporary world of studio glass art. …
“Janecký has earned a rightful place among the greatest not just Czech, but also global, stars of the glass art scene. His original works are generating great enthusiasm among galleries and collectors, including from global celebrities. His successes are not just the result of talent, creativity, and artistic boldness, but chiefly a considerable amount of hard work. Expertise in the field of glass art requires constant application and searching out new limits – and that is only possible with an all-encompassing day-to-day dedication. Although Janecký’s confidence as an artist has undoubtedly grown, he nonetheless remains humble with regards to his chosen material, knowing there is still so much to discover. And this approach is evidently one of the key reasons why Martin Janecký’s glass works are so remarkably distinct.”
The Corning Museum of Glass is a proud collaborator on an exciting, new competition series, Blown Away—created by producers marblemediaand a co-production of Netflix andBlue Ant Media of Toronto. The 10-episode show, which will bring the art of glassblowing to a global audience through the Netflix streaming platform, will launch on July 12, 2019.
The show follows a group of 10 highly skilled glassmakers from North America who have a limited time to fabricate beautiful works of art that are assessed by a panel of expert judges. One artist is eliminated in each 30-minute episode until a winner is announced in the 10th and final episode. YouTube star Nick Uhas, best known for his popular science show Nickipedia, hosts Blown Awayand renowned artist Katherine Gray serves as the “resident evaluator.”
The series was filmed in the largest glassblowing studio ever built in North America, designed specifically for the scope and scale of the competition. The space allows 10 artists to work simultaneously, using two large glass-melting furnaces, 10 reheating furnaces and 10 individual work stations. The Craft and Design Glass Studio at Sheridan College in Toronto consulted on the studio design and aided the competitors for the first nine episodes.
The Corning Museum of Glass, which houses the world’s most comprehensive collection of glass, the library of record on glass, and one of the top glassmaking schools in the world, served as a key consulting partner on the series. Eric Meek, Senior Manager of Hot Glass Programs at CMoG also served as a “guest evaluator” for the series finale, helping to select the winner of the competition.
The winner of Blown Awayis awarded the title of “Best in Blow” and a prize package valued at $60,000, which includes a week-long Guest Artist appearance at CMoG. The winner will complete two working sessions this summer, July 17-18 and August 28-29, in preparation for the “Blown AwayResidency,” October 14-18. During these times, the winner will participate in glassmaking demonstrations for the public in CMoG’s Amphitheater Hot Shop.
This summer, CMoG is displaying the exhibit Blown Away:Glassblowing Comes to Netflix, which tells the story of how the Museum found its way into the global spotlight. Visitors can see work created on the show by each competitor, and watch a behind-the-scenes documentary with interviews conducted on the set and footage captured of the Museum’s Hot Glass Demo Team taking part in the finale.
“The Corning Museum of Glass inspires people to see glass in a new light,” said Eric Meek. “Blown Away is a global platform, and it’s exciting to think about how this will broaden glassmaking’s level of exposure.”
For a complete list of contestants and judges visiting talking our your glass.com, click on Season 4, click on Blown Away. Or visit www.cmog.organd search for Blown Away.
Thanks to our sponsors His Glassworks, Inc, Sunshine Glassworks Ltd., Bullseye Glass company and the Corning Museum of Glass.
I’ll begin the show asking Donna Luke, Blue Marble’s vice president of production, about the behind the scenes story of Blown Away. Then I visit with Eric Meek about the Corning Museum of Glass’ role in the program, and finish up by interviewing one of the judges, Katherine Gray.
Blown Away contestants include
Guest evaluators include
The functional glass community is defined, in part, by the technical mastery and mind-blowing aesthetic of high-end art pipes. But in equal measure, philanthropy defines this growing segment of the glass art community. One key player in organizing charitable events within the pipe community is Allison Key, founder and director of the well-known Michigan Glass Project (MGP), a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. The 2019 MGP will be held July 19 - 21 at the Russell Industrial Center, Detroit, Michigan.
MGP’s mission is to unite artists through charitable events that create and foster positive change in the community.Artwork created on site at the yearly happening is sold, auctioned, or raffled to raise money for a philanthropic cause. A large silent auction is held during MGP with artwork continually being added throughout the weekend. Profits generated above expenses to hold the event are donated to the yearly charity.
Since its inception in 2012, MGP has donated $36,000 to The Belle Isle Aquarium in Detroit, the nation’s oldest operating aquarium. In 2015, MGP began working with Art Road Nonprofit, an organization dedicated to returning art classes to Detroit area public schools, donating $40,000 to the cause. MGP’s 2016 event double that donation to $80,000. Previously Art Road was only able to provide art to grades K-5 at Spain Elementary, but the increased funds allowed middle schoolers at that school to be added to the roster.
MGP’S 2017 donation marked a milestone in giving as the organization hit its $100,000 goal. Art Road used the additional money to add art class to a fourth school. The following year’s $125,000 resulted in the addition of art classes at two Ecorse schools. Thanks in part to MGP, Art Road now provides complete art class curriculum including instructors and supplies to over 2,200 Metro Detroit students at six schools.
To document this unique and highly successful project, Dan Collins, filmmaker who worked on Marble Slinger’s 2012 Degenerate Artmovie and his own documentary about Marcel Braun’s Project 33, will produce a documentary film on Key and MGP. A Kickstarter to raise funds for Collins’ film will be launched next week some time, around the first of July 2019.
Key is co-owner of Urban Pheasant Glass Studio, the Crystal Dragon at the Michigan Renaissance Festival, a wholesale glass business called Key Glass Co. and a retail location in Detroit called Motown Shakedown. In 2018, Key also became co-owner of Glassroots Art Show, a fixture in the industry as a multi-faceted event bringing together suppliers, toolmakers, high-end artists, production blowers, distribution companies, galleries, and head shops. After celebrating a decade in Madison, Wisconsin, in 2019 Glassroots is moving to Asheville, North Carolina, where the trade show will be held October 7 through 9.
Tim Carey’s mission is to bring glass to the forefront as an image-making medium through continued exploration of techniques that he and Narcissus Quagliata developed at Judson Studios. Tim Carey Studio, established in Compton, California, on July 1, 2018, is moving to south Pasadena, where the artist will continue creating projects and commissions in his hybrid fusing and glass painting process.
Judson Studios’ Resurrection Window, the largest single composition fused glass window in the world, was dedicated on Easter Sunday, April 16, 2017. Created for the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kansas, the groundbreaking work measures a mammoth 37 feet tall by 94 feet wide. As Judson Studios’ designer at that time, Carey worked in concert with Quagliata to create the first-ever notable liturgical window created entirely from fused glass.
Carey States: “After designing the Resurrection window in 2014 and realizing it couldn’t be done solely with traditional methods, I sought out glass master Narcissus Quagliata and his Painting with Light fusing technique. Together we designed a custom fabrication process that changed my goals as an artist and inspired me to open my studio to investigate further.”
Trained in traditional drawing and painting at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, Carey spent the first five years of his career as a figurative oil painter and muralist. He discovered stained glass and specifically glass painting by chance on a tour of The Judson Studios in Los Angeles in 2003. The artist took a part-time job at the Studios as a glass painter, which evolved into a full-time passion and 14 years at Judson Studios. Lead artist on some monumental projects during his time at Judson, Carey honed the skill of working with communities, both religious and secular, to realize their dreams in glass.
Since its inception, Tim Carey Studio has created groundbreaking residential commissions such at The Cowboy and has embarked upon an exciting partnership with Macie Art Glass in New Jersey, creating windows for a large Mausoleum in the Trenton area. Carey also continues work in collaboration with Judson Studios and will be teaching his techniques at Bullseye Glass Co. in Portland, Oregon, in October 2019.
Raised in Milford, Ohio, Karen Willenbrink-Johnsen and her naturalist father spent many a day on forays through the woods. As a landscaper, the elder Willenbrink taught his daughter about trees, birds, fossils, and native peoples. She says: “I’m constantly inspired, revitalized and awed by the power of nature.” A self-described all-American girl, the artist grew up with her twin sister, older brother, younger brother, and parents who loved to camp and hike. In their childhood home, nature and happiness was celebrated, resulting in Willenbrink-Johnsen’s palpable passion for life.
Soon after receiving a BFA in sculpture from Ohio University, glass became a driving force in Willenbrink-Johnsen’s life. The artist spent several years honing her skills in the Catskill Mountains region of New York. She subsequently embarked on a 16-year stint working with glass artist William Morris, who taught Willenbrink-Johnsen to follow her vision and let the enthusiasm of her spirit guide her ideas.
Like Morris, Willenbrink-Johnsen creates sculpture not only by blowing, but by hot sculpting. Components are hot formed or lampworked ahead of time and held in a garage to keep them warm while a base is being formed. Once the base is ready, the painstaking process of joining the elements to the base begins. Stress is introduced each time a new component is added, and the weight of the piece increases. A delicate balance of time and temperature is required for a sculpture to reach successful completion.
Willenbrink-Johnsen’s team includes husband Jasen Johnsen, whom she met at Pilchuck and married in 2001. Jasen served as the head studio technician at Pilchuck Glass School for nearly 10 years and worked as teaching assistant for Pino Signoretto and Hank Murta Adams before beginning to co-teach classes with Karen.
As bird watchers, the Willenbrink-Johnsens observe every feather, talon, and branch presented in their work and invite viewers to enjoy their sculpture with the same attention to detail. Combining unmatched technical mastery with a profound love for their medium, nature, and each other, the artists explore new territory through not only birds forms, but complex treatments of their environs.
Chris Ahalt sculpts in meticulous detail and bright colors his animal balloon series, depicting visually strong animals made fragile by delicately balancing them above on a wire. Hours of intensive work result in deceptively simple animal balloons featuring hollow glass sculptures of African and Asian elephants, black and white rhinos, giraffes, hippos, sharks, and whales, to name a few. Ahalt’s sandblasted glass is strung up on copper wire embellished with hand-forged ridges that emulate real ribbon and tethered to small weights. The flexibility of the wire enhances the illusion as the glass balloon sways back and forth.
Says Ahalt: “Balloons suggest celebration, children, and wonder. The iconic animals that I pick appeal to those child-like sensibilities. Most of us grow up with a favorite animal, and the idea of turning one’s favorite animal into a balloon seems a fitting marriage that is hard to dislike. These animal balloons also metaphorically speak to their fragile lives, many of them endangered. Some of the balloons, such as the rhino, have their legs bound alluding to the precarious environments created for them by humans. I think of these animal balloons as a mixture of playfulness and harsh reality – homage to not only the iconic beauty of these majestic animals, but also as tribute to the many endangered species that may not survive.”
Ahalt graduated from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design with a BFA in Sculpture/ Furniture Design,and currently lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where he specializes in custom glassware, vases, sculpture, lighting, prototyping, and commissioned work. He has taught numerous glassblowing workshops nationally and has two coming up this summer- Taming the Beastat The Chrysler Museum’s Perry Glass Studio, Norfolk, Virginia, July 6 – 11, and Pushing the Bubbleat the Toledo Museum of Art, Toledo, Ohio, August 12 - 16. The artist’s work was featured in the 2011 March/April issue of American Craft Magazine.
Initially introduced to the world of flameworking by his good friend Repo in 1998, Ahalt’s career in flameworking was cemented by a 2005 trip to Venice, Italy, where he apprenticed under renowned master flameworker, Cesare Toffolo. The young artist learned to use jacks and diamond shears in the flame, a unique flameworking approach pioneered by Toffolo. Working in Italy had a huge impact on Ahalt, who has dedicated his career to matching the perfection of form and thinness of Venetian glass.
Two Dimensional Biographies by Amir H. Fallah
Los Angeles based painter Amir H. Fallah renders two-dimensional biographies of his subjects using alternative imagery to create a visual language that helps us understand who a person is. Though surrounded by intimate belongings, the faces and bodies of Fallah’s subjects are covered in highly ornate fabric, turning everything we know about portraiture upside-down.
Brainard Carey wrote, in Praxis Interviewmagazine: “Portraits of the artist’s veiled subjects employ ambiguity to skillfully weave fact and fiction like the textiles that cover them. While the stories that surround his muses are deeply personal, as told through the intimate possessions the subjects are encompassed by, they universalize generational experiences of movement, trauma, and celebration. With their Pop Art hues and investment in domestic life, Fallah’s paintings wryly incorporate contemporary American tropes into paintings more formally rooted in Islamic Art, including the organization and arabesque embellishment of Persian miniatures. In doing so, his work possesses a hybridity that reflects his own background as an Iranian- American immigrant straddling cultures.”
In 2017, Judson Studios translated two of Fallah’s paintings into stained glass. Embracing the World, the artist’s stained and fused glass self-portrait, alludes to Renaissance paintings of mother and child. An homage to his son, the piece was sold before the opening of Fallah’s solo show at Shulamit Nazarian Gallery in LA. A second Judson collaboration, entitled Offering, features Fallah’s portrait of an Iranian artist who came to America to pursue her art career the day after The Supreme Court upheld Trump’s Muslim ban.
Fallah received his BFA in Fine Art and Painting at the Maryland Institute College of Art in 2001 and his MFA in Painting at the University of California, Los Angeles in 2005. He has exhibited extensively in solo and group exhibitions across the United States and abroad, including solo presentations at the Schneider Museum, Ashland, Oregon (2017); the San Diego Art Institute (2017); the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, Overland, Kansas, (2015); and The Third Line, Dubai (2017, 2013, 2009, 2007, 2005). The recipient of the 2017 California Community Foundation Grant and 2015 Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters and Sculptors Grant, the artist was chosen to participate in the 9th Sharjah Biennial. This event enriches the cultural landscape of the Gulf by commissioning, producing, and presenting innovative and challenging art experiences for the United Arab Emirates community while offering an internationally recognized platform for artists from the region.
As his work attracts new collectors in painting and glass, Fallah will participate in three solo exhibitions in 2019-2020: the first in August 2019, at Dio Horia gallery in Greece; then in January 2020 at MOCA Tucson; followed by April 2020 at Shulamit Nazarian Gallery in Los Angeles. The artist is currently working with Judson Studios on a large public stained glass project for LA City to be unveiled in 2021.
Susie J. Silbert, curator of Modern and Contemporary Glass at The Corning Museum of Glass, is trained in glass working and design history. Prior to joining the Museum in 2016, Silbert was an independent curator and writer motivated by the complex and intertwined histories of material, making, and makers. Silbert earned her MA in Decorative Arts, Design History, and Material Culture from the Bard Graduate Center and taught History of Glass at the Rhode Island School of Design. Her most recent exhibition New Glass Now, is a groundbreaking survey of the landscape of contemporary glass.
The first exhibition of its kind organized by the Museum in 40 years, New Glass Now represents artists of 32 nationalities working in 25 countries ranging in ages from 23 to 84. On view from May 12, 2019, through January 5, 2020, the show includes large-scale installations and delicate miniatures, video and experiments in glass chemistry, all of which demonstrate the vitality and versatility of this dynamic material.
New Glass Now is the third exhibition in a groundbreaking series organized by the Museum to survey contemporary glass on an international scale. Glass 1959 and New Glass: A Worldwide Survey, organized in 1959 and 1979, respectively, played an important role in creating and defining the field of contemporary glass. The 1959 exhibition helped lay the foundation for what became the Studio Glass Movement just a few years later in 1962, and the 1979 show spurred collecting by institutions and private individuals, new scholarly attention, and continued artistic innovation. The 1959 and 1979 exhibitions will be revisited in an exhibition, titled New Glass Now/ Context, in CMoG’s Rakow Library, which complements the exhibition of contemporary glass simultaneously on view.
Karol Wight, President and Executive Director of The Corning Museum of Glass, said: “New Glass Now continues a more than 60-year commitment to share the history of the medium over more than 35 centuries, including the contemporary development of art and design realized in glass. The exhibitions that CMoG curated in 1959 and 1979 defined the field of Studio Glass and brought critical attention to the work being done by glassmakers the world over. We hope that New Glass Now will continue this important tradition and reveal exciting new insights into work being made today across the globe.”
Coinciding with the opening of the exhibition, CMoG will publish the 40th anniversary issue of New Glass Review, its annual exhibition-in-print of contemporary glass. Published since 1979, New Glass Review has brought important critical and popular attention to the material and the artists and designers working with it. The 2019 edition will include the 100 artworks and design objects chosen for the contemporary survey New Glass Now as well as important contextual essays and information.
Working seven days a week at Vitrum became a strain that left Conway and O’Toole with no time to create or even think about their own art. Though the partners hated the idea of closing the doors and losing contact with their staff and students, at the end of 2016 the time had come.
It didn’t take long for Conway and O’Toole to realize that they could take everything they had developed over 15 years of teaching at Vitrum Studio and transform it into a collection of eBooks for the fusing community. A natural extension of Vitrum Studio’s classes, these eBooks contain beautifully-crafted projects and richly illustrated step-by-step instructions that delve deeply into the process of each project, exploring how and why each technique works. Currently available titles include StripCut Reimagined: Books 1, 2 and 3, and Finding Place: Light and Landscape Books 1 and 2. Conway and O’Toole have begun work on their sixth eBook, Optic Topics, with instruction on creating intricate patterns with stringers, and are in the research phase for their seventh eBook, to be titled either Powder Imagery or Botanical Portraits in Glass.
With a spiritual outlook, Jen Fuller explores large-scale glass making and multi component site-specific installations. As her career evolves, the artist views glass as a material capable of capturing ephemeral fleeting moments and outlining emotion. She says, “I’m in a relationship with glass as a mutual collaborator. It does what it wants and is more than merely a tool. It is a living entity.”
In 2009, Fuller attended the Glass Art Society conference in her hometown of Portland and later that year met Warren Carther of Winnipeg's Carther Studios. Both events inspired her to explore glass as a medium. As Carther’s apprentice for three months in 2010, Fuller assisted the artist in building his Aperturecommission for the Winnipeg airport. This introduction to site specific, large-scale work provided the young artist with the emotional fortitude necessary to pursue her own visions in large-scale glass.
Upon return to Portland from Carther’s studio, Fuller was awarded an Emerging Artist grant from the William T. Colville foundation to build a glass kiln, a process that introduced her to Portland metal artist, Steve Tilden. A new arts residency with Recology, the trash purveyors for the city of Portland, resulted in the artist’s first series made from recycled glass and reclaimed materials, setting the tone for future work. Fuller approached Tilden about making metal frames for her Recology project, but he suggested she learn to weld. The two artists formed a friendship and began collaborating on a series of life-size mythical creatures. After eight years of collaboration, Fuller’s glass studio is now located in Tilden’s metal shop.
In 2018, working with the horticulture team of Lan Su Chinese Garden Glass, Fuller spent one year harvesting plant specimens from the garden and rendering them in pate de verre. Her 36 specimens were exhibited for two months in the Scholar’s Pavilion of the garden. Other notable projects include Fuller’s River Memoir for the Milwaukie Courthouse, a site responsive sculpture memorializing the local role of the Willamette River.
In February 2019, Fuller completed a temporary installation titledF(Light)for Portland’s Winter Light festival, consisting of 150 glass paper planes that were digitally projected with imagery of the sky, different color washes, and sound, and installed underneath the 100-year-old Hawthorne Bridge. In March 2019, working with two art professors from Spokane Falls Community College, Fuller designed a glass and light exhibit called The Things I Could Not Sayto teach students how to make and install a body of work. The project made public Fuller’s glass cremation series that she’s been quietly working on for herself.
Fuller continues her exploration of large-scale flight patterns in glass and light, installing a birds in flight sequence in the Thai Pagoda of Olbrich Garden for Gleam Light Festival 2019, held in Madison, Wisconsin. Other new work includes Piano Push Play, Fuller’s glass and mirror piano that will be left in various locations in downtown Portland and on which the public is encouraged to play.
Aaron Golbert a.k.a. Marble Slinger, chronicled and in some ways changed the history of functional glass through the popularity and widespread distribution of his 2012 documentary film, Degenerate Art. In keeping with his goal to document the history of the glass pipe scene in America,Slinger will present an exhibition titled True OGs, which opens this Friday, April 19, 2019, at Fiore Gallery in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The show presents the work of more than 65 artists who began their pipe making careers prior to 2000.
On his Instagram, Slinger wrote: “Before social media, before the Internet, before digital cameras, before cell phones, and before legal and medical cannabis there were True OGs. My concept for this show was to highlight a group of folks who have endured 20 plus years of making glass pipes for a living. We’ve seen so much change since the ‘90s - the colored glass, the equipment, the online revolution, from Operation Pipe Dreams to legalized recreational weed. I remember not being able to use the word bongpublicly, when all pipes were for tobacco useonly. Now, thousands of people share pictures of themselves smoking weed without a care in the world.”
A few notes on Friday’s True OGs opening:
Only VIP ticket holders will be admitted to the gallery from 3 to 6 pm. The gallery opens at 6 pm for general admission, no ticket required. Space in the gallery is limited, therefore a second venue at 1714 N. Mascher has been rented to host a party that can accommodate everyone. The party space will be open to the general public from 4 to 11 pm, with plenty of music, food, and space to relax and connect with friends. The party venue is located only a few blocks from the gallery, and postcards with maps will be distributed. A shuttle will also be provided from 6 to 9 pm between the venues. Fiore gallery will be open this weekend from 2 to 10 p.m. on Saturday and 2 to 6 p.m. on Sunday.
Inspired by an abiding passion for functional glass, Nick Deviley founded Glassroots Art Show in 2009 as a way to legitimize glass pipes as an art form while adding to his ever-growing collection. Glassroots has become a fixture in the industry as a multi-faceted event bringing together suppliers, toolmakers, high-end artists, production blowers, distribution companies, galleries, and head shops. After celebrating a decade in Madison, Wisconsin, in 2019 Glassroots is moving to Asheville, North Carolina, where the trade show will be held October 7 through 9.
An entrepreneur and self-made businessman since the age of 18, Deviley, now 37, began buying and selling glass pipes as a side hustle. His vast collection has recently found a home at his The Glassroots Gallery in Sister Bay, Wisconsin. From his farmstead, where he resides with his wife, five children, and flock of chickens, Deviley talks with Glass Artabout his abiding love of cannabis community and culture, his expanding glass collection, and Glassroots’ new home.
The secret to success is different for every artist. By creating with the philosophy that one learns something new every day and allowing her endless passion for working with clients to inspire and inform her art, Kathy Barnard has achieved an enviable level of personal and professional accomplishment. The artist’s work, which includes carved and etched glass, stained glass, and carved granite and tile murals, can be found in public spaces, churches, private homes, and galleries in the US, Hawaii, Alaska, Apia Samoa, England, Scotland, Germany, and Japan.
Barnard’s career is marked with groundbreaking commissions. One of her first stained glass projects, the Tree of Life, was designed in 1988 for the Jewish Community Center Campus and Offices of the National Jewish Federation in Overland Park, Kansas. This circular stained glass window measures 15’ in diameter and features a tree in medium hues and shades of blue. Her largest carved and etched glass commission was completed in 2000 and took Barnard two and a half years to complete. Measuring 40 feet tall by 35 feet wide, this signature wall for the SNB Bank building in Tulsa features Oklahoma wildlife and landscape. In 2007-2008 Barnard combined both etching and stained glass in a tour de force titled Ode to Joy, Flight of Dovesfor Porter Adventist Hospital in South Denver, Colorado. The artist designed and fabricated a 25-foot-by-25-foot entryway, a 16-foot carved donor wall, two carved glass entry doors, and a 12-foot-by 9-foot stained glass chapel headwall.
President of the Stained Glass Association of America (SGAA) from 2015-16, Barnard remains on the SGAA Board of Directors as well as being a regular attendee of the American Glass Guild (AGG) conferences. Cooperating on an inaugural joint conference, SGAA and AGG members will meet in San Antonio, Texas, June 3 through 5, 2019, with pre-conference classes held on June 1 and 2. “This historic conference will be a great opportunity for members of both organizations to network alongside their shared interest in stained glass.”
It is difficult to say if Barnard works primarily as a glass carver or a stained glass artist. It varies from year to year and according to which clients and commissions she works with in a given time period. Most recently the artist has completed seven stained glass panels for Presence Resurrection Hospital, Chicago, Illinois. Installed in custom steel frames, these etched and painted Lamberts glass windows represent Healing Stories of the Bible.
A master at juggling large public commissions and smaller autonomous panels, Barnard has simultaneously been working on Fables & Other Muses, a series of exhibition pieces that includes her Raven collection and additional panels inspired by images from the natural world. “I love to tell stories with my works in glass by layering content. At first you see one aspect of the story or image but with more time viewing the piece, you may see something more.”
To commemorate a client’s induction into the National Academy of Sciences, Barnard is currently producing a private commission that combines etching, carving, painting and firing, silver staining, fusing and slump casting, double glazing and lamination. The design, which represents the unique discoveries of Barnard’s client in the field of genetics, contains laboratory animals, scientific symbols and notations in the borders, and various species in a fantasy wildlife scene. Amidst healing flowers of echineacia and floating atop a field of water lily leaves are playful mice with fruit fly wings.
Not knowing the full story, Barnard’s mice with wings could be viewed as a delightful design of playful images and color. But look again to discover deeper meaning.
The more scientists discover about genetics, the more we understand why mice with wings can only exist in a fantasy world created by an artist.