Talking Out Your Glass podcast

As editor of Glass Art magazine from 1987 to March 2019, Shawn Waggoner has interviewed and written about multitudes of the world’s greatest artists working glass in the furnace, torch, and on the table. Rated in iTunes News and Noteworthy in 2018, Talking Out Your Glass continues to evolve, including interviews with the nation’s finest borosilicate artists making both pipes and sculpture on the torch. Other current topics include how to work glass using sustainable practices and how artists address the topics of our times such as climate change, the political chasm, and life in the age of technology.
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Dec 20, 2017

MadArt Studio proudly presents Reforestation of the Imagination by Seattle-based artist Ginny Ruffner, in collaboration with digital artist Grant Kirkpatrick. This exhibition will inhabit MadArt Studio from January 2 through March 24, 2018, with an Opening Reception and Artist Talk on Sunday, January 2, 1 - 4pm.


Showcasing this collaboration, Reforestation of the Imagination combines traditional glass and bronze sculpture with augmented reality. Ruffner utilizes technology to overlay digital information onto sculptural objects, portraying two disparate worlds, one that is invisible to the human eye. This process expands the boundaries of Ruffner’s renowned practice in glass sculpture, as she finds new and creative ways of remaining relevant as a formative artist of the region. Working with Kirkpatrick to develop the facilities for augmented reality, this collaborative effort also challenges traditional notions of sculpture to encompass the intangible, ephemeral object.


The installation engages viewers’ curiosity as they navigate the space using handheld devices, exposing an otherwise invisible world of holographic imagery. Created from Ruffner’s drawings, an augmented reality emerges from a forest seemingly marked by devastation. The forest, made up of Ruffner’s painted and colorless glass stumps, scattered logs, overhead limbs, and suspended leaves, is experiencing a cycle of regeneration, which is materialized through visitors’ smartphones. This imaginary and potential beauty revealed through augmented reality is the forest reimagining itself.


How Ruffner responded to extreme physical and emotional duress is as telling about her internal drive and strength of character as her most impressive artwork. At a crescendo in her career, in 1991 an auto accident nearly took the artist’s life. But in cheating death, Ruffner was rewarded with an intensified and broader creative life, resulting in everything from groundbreaking works in flameworked glass, to pop-up books, large-scale sculpture, and mind-blowing public art. 

Dec 7, 2017

It’s difficult to pinpoint Gil Reynolds’ most significant contribution to kilnformed glass. His studio, Fusion Glassworks, built its reputation as a leading innovator of glass fusing and kiln forming techniques, evidenced by cutting-edge commissions around the country. A pioneer and founding father of today’s contemporary Kiln Formed Glass movement, Reynolds educated others through his books The Fused Glass Handbook and Kiln Crafting, and innumerable articles for art glass magazines and journals. Since 1987, Reynolds’ Fusion Headquarters Inc. has supplied kilnworking artists around the world with glass, tools, and supplies, some developed by Reynolds himself. 


Innovating has always been Reynold’s top priority, witnessed in equipment development such as his Murphy Fire Bucket. But he also has an inventive approach to technique as seen in his Flow Bar process, an adaptation of ancient Egyptian pattern bar procedure. Inspired by his explorations in pastels, Reynolds continues to develop products such as his Easy Fire enamels that will expand art glass in a painterly direction. Even the Fusion Headquarters’ website has been recently redesigned to be mobile friendly and more responsive. 


Known from the earliest days of his career for sharing any and all technical information he accessed or developed, Reynolds lectured extensively around the US and in Japan, China, The Netherlands, Canada, and Italy. In 1993 he founded Hot Glass Horizons (HGH), a seminar event for glass fusing and other hot glass techniques.


Keeping up with the times, Reynolds now teaches online via his YouTube channel and Glass Art magazine’s Glass Expert Webinars™.  Upcoming webinars include Fused Glass Breakthroughs, December 7; Advanced Flow Bars, January 16; How to Change the Shape of Glass in a Kiln, February 15; and Mold Making Magic, April 3. 


Since the 1970s, Reynolds has been designing, fabricating, and installing site-specific custom kilnformed glass, sometimes incorporating cast, blown, and stained glass elements as well as metal, wood, stone, and mixed media. By studying lighting, architectural motifs, client concepts, existing colors and themes, end use, and budget, Reynolds’ one-of-a-kind commissions complement their environments. His artwork graces numerous private and public spaces including The Allison Hotel and Spa, Newberg, Oregon; Ohbayahsi-Gumi, Ltd., Tokyo, Japan; A. Pfann, Hilversum, Holland; Del Webb at Mirehaven, Albuquerque, New Mexico; and Percent for Art commissions in Oregon and Washington State.


Reynolds recently completed a corporate commission for Anesthesia Associates Northwest in Portland, Oregon, where he created the company’s logo from stainless steel and edge-lit dichroic. He also designed and fabricated a wall piece from cast and enameled float glass that references the molecular structure of ISOFLURANE, an anesthetic drug. The artist currently designs cast glass chair rails for a private client on Manhattan's Upper East Side. 


Nov 16, 2017

Richard Parrish’s distinctive Mapping and Tapestry series were inspired by his early life on a farm in Eastern Idaho and growing up in the American Intermountain West. The artist’s dreams of big skies, endless prairie, and a single butte with little else on the horizon continue to inform his kilnformed glass. 

About a third of Parrish’s practice focuses on teaching and traveling around the world. The rest takes place in his Fusio Studio in Bozeman, Montana, where he makes three kinds of work including commissions and a series of decorative wall pieces entitled Tapestry. His less decorative series dubbed Mapping is comprised of large hanging wall panels with bas relief surfaces suggesting landscapes, topographical, and aerial views. The surfaces with their earthier feel encourage viewers to relate to them as paintings rather than glass. 

Parrish holds a Master of Architecture degree from the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, and a Bachelor of Architecture degree from the University of Idaho in Moscow, Idaho. He taught architecture and design at The University of Michigan and Montana State University but currently teaches classes in kilnformed glass throughout the world, focusing on the visual elements of design, color theory, and inspiration. The artist will teach four classes in Australia in March 2018. At his Montana studio, Parrish plans an expanded version of his Color Theory for Kilnformed Glass class in the summer of 2018 and a special class in September structured around the idea of Place and its potential for artistic inspiration, complete with visit to Yellowstone National Park. 


Initially featured in a solo exhibition Aerial Perspectives of the American Landscape held at the Rockwell Museum in Corning, New York, Parrish's work is now on view at the Bullseye Resource Center, in Emeryville, California. He is one of six artists participating in a group exhibition on Climate Change at Rockland Center for the Arts, Nyack, New York, titled "The Tipping Point," scheduled for April 15 - May 25, 2018. In May 2018, works by Steve Klein, Parrish and artists-in-residence will be on view at the Pilchuck exhibition space in a show titled  "Dis- Dissonance and Discovery." Continuing his exploration of aerial views and the western landscape, Parrish will have a solo exhibition at Bullseye Projects, in Portland, Oregon, opening May 2 2018. In addition, he'll be working on a commission for an individual associated with the United Nations inspired by the Niger River in Mali.


Nov 2, 2017

A unique combination of talents is required for an artist to move back and forth between conserving historic stained glass and creating original work that can pass the test of time. Since 1976, Mary Clerkin Higgins has been doing just that. An internationally renowned contemporary stained glass artist, Clerkin Higgins brings inspired creativity and a fascination with color to her original work. However, in the role of conservator, she checks her artistic voice and relies upon the finely honed technical skills and careful attention to detail of past masters.


During the 2017 American Glass Guild conference held in Rochester, New York, Clerkin Higgins was awarded the first Nicholas Parrendo Lifetime Achievement Award. In September, she presented a paper to the Corpus Vitrearum Conservation forum, titled Bringing Back the Ghosts. An original co-founder of the American Glass Guild, Clerkin Higgins received New York’s Landmarks Conservancy Lucy G. Moses award for her work at Packer Collegiate Institute Middle School Project; and a New York Construction Award of Merit for her work at Lady Chapel project, Cathedral of St. Patrick.


In 2014, Clerkin Higgins’ original creation, Oh! won the American Glass Guild’s inaugural American Glass Now Award for Excellence in the Art of Stained Glass, acknowledging the creative use of materials, original expression, aesthetic impact, clarity of narrative, and complexity of execution in the work. The 12-inch-by-40-inch piece rendered in blown glass, vitreous paints, and lead was subsequently selected for Corning Museum’s New Glass Review 36.


Last year Clerkin Higgins spent considerable time conserving two 13th-century pieces, one for Harvard Art Museums from Canterbury Cathedral and one for the Baltimore Museum of Art from the Tours Cathedral in France. Higgins’ conservation work can be found in the foremost museums and public and private collections across North America. She has conserved stained glass from the 12th to the 20th centuries, made by renowned masters and notable moderns, including John LaFarge, Tiffany Studios, Henry E. Sharp, Frank Lloyd Wright, Marc Chagall, and Frederick S. Lamb. She has also worked on windows by Harry Clarke, William Morris, Daniel Cottier, and Charles Rennie Mackintosh.


Clerkin Higgins, the conservator, currently works on three Tiffany windows for a museum in Washington DC. As artist, Clerkin Higgins creates a new window with Sabra Field for a hospice chapel at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in New Hampshire; a new window for a church in Winston Salem, North Carolina, filled with Rowan LeCompte windows made with Clerkin Higgins’ assistance; and a 15th- century martyr for a collector. Her personal work is on view in the juried show Workhouse Glass National 2017 in Lorton, VA, from October 28 through January 14, 2018. 


Higgins feels lucky to have kept busy working these past decades without the need to advertise. For 17 years she worked on more than 100 pieces in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and The Cloisters, all while maintaining her own studio.



Oct 20, 2017

While their sculptural forms and assemblages evoke the sensuous curves of the feminine, Jenny Pohlman and Sabrina Knowles provide a narrative that embraces our common humanity. Drawing on inspiration from day-to-day life, travel, or studies of ancient and contemporary cultures, Pohlman and Knowles have blazed a trail for women working in hot glass through their successful and cutting edge artwork.


“From our earliest collaborative efforts we have explored the feminine fluidity, curvature, strength, and plasticity inherent in glass. The innate three-dimensionality of molten glass assists with our design visions, and we often see new forms emerging from the forms we are working on in the hot shop. These glimpses into the next possibility fuel our enthusiasm and the direction of our designs.”


The Pohlman Knowles collaboration spans two decades. As seekers, they have undertaken multiple international two-month journeys to developing nations absorbing religious beliefs, political histories, current affairs, architecture, social structure, and people’s personal stories. After lengthy incubation Pohlman and Knowles morph their experiences into sculptural stories to share what they have learned about healing, self-empowerment, and the power of the human spirit.


Pohlman and Knowles have been honored with numerous awards including Pratt Fine Arts Center’s Service in the Arts Award in 2011 and Service in Education Award in 2000. The artists received a Saxe Fellowship award from the Bay Area Glass Institute, San Jose, in 2009; a 2015 residency at Pilchuck Glass School, and residencies at Museum of Glass, Tacoma, 2014, 2007, and 2003; as well as Wheaton Arts and Cultural Center in 2004 and 1999. Their work can be found in the collections of the Museum of American Glass, the Museum of Glass, the National Liberty Museum, the Racine Art Museum, and Tacoma Art Museum, among many others.


On view now through November 4, 2017, at Schack Art Center in Everett, Washington, is the Pohlman Knowles exhibition Lodestar. Defined as a principle, interest, or person that serves as an inspiration or guide, Lodestar features an installation of signature compositions and works from the artists’ latest series integrating photographic images in blown glass. This process was inspired by the strength, grace, and beauty of the Himba women, who the artists briefly met in Northern Namibia.

“We believe in the Magnitude of the Multitude and what it represents, that collectively we can effect change and create something more beautiful together than separately. We wish to show a feeling of reverence and solidarity together as is expressed in our Multiple Homage series and power through Luna, our Wheel of Liberation. Prayer beads are used in many cultures throughout the world. They can be used as a meditation and remind us that we can hope for something better.”

On view at Bellevue Arts Museum, Bellevue, Washington, Making our Mark:  Art by Pratt Teaching Artists runs from November 9 – April 23, 2018. Pohlman and Knowles will be represented by Duane Reed Gallery at SOFA Chicago, November 2 through 5; and in 2018, opening in July, the Bainbridge Island Museum of Art, Washington, will present Journey: 25 Years of Collaboration- A Mid-Career Survey of Works by Sabrina Knowles & Jenny Pohlman.



Oct 6, 2017

In 1973, before annealers, colored glass, or instructional materials on flameworking, teenaged Milon Townsend worked glass in the torch, transforming his bedroom into a makeshift studio. In time, the artist taught himself to express his understanding of the human form in complex and elegant sculpture.

Townsend’s early career involved selling his glass art at fairs and shows until he opened a series of stores, culminating with two locations in Manhattan and a full time crew of 26 people in his retail/wholesale operation. Twelve years in New York City exposed him to the world of dance, which quickly found its way into Townsend’s sculptural aesthetic, as seen in his groundbreaking Body Language series. From 2005 to 2015 Townsend set flameworking aside and created, experimented, and transferred his vocabulary of human forms to kiln casting.

A tireless educator, Townsend has authored numerous books, and hundreds of articles on the topics of glass process, creative thought, and career development for artists. He has also produced a series of videos that demonstrate the techniques he developed, making them available to other artists in his field.

Sep 23, 2017

Whether gallery work or public installations, Susan Hirsch’s Fire Fusion Studio in Southern California produces glass art that reflects the endless possibilities of her material and techniques. The artist’s signature line of fused and slumped glass sculpture features poetry, lyrics, or other messages embedded in multilayered patterns, textures, and finishes. She believes these words help viewers think differently and more deeply about the work than is possible when using color and form alone.

Hirsch came to glass art from a fine arts education and a 30-year career in advertising and design. As a graphic designer familiar with Illustrator and Photoshop software, Hirsch does most of her design on a computer to give her clients a good representation of the final product. Designing in a vector program such as Illustrator makes on site client presentations possible and transfers smoothly to water jet, where computer aided design (CAD) software can read and cut intricate patterns.

In 2012 at the Glass Craft & Bead Expo in Las Vegas, Nevada, Hirsch came across a booth for Rayzist, a leading manufacturer of photoresist films and sandcarving equipment. It occurred to her that glass fusers could benefit from Rayzist’s offerings. The following year she demonstrated techniques on glass in the company’s booth at Expo and has done so for the past four years. Hirsch also developed and markets workshops to teach other fusers how to use Rayzist products.

Hirsch’s artwork falls into three distinct categories— ancestry work, gallery work, and public installations. Her aesthetic can be described as contemporary and minimalist, appealing to an exclusive group of contemporary art collectors. The artist makes extensive use of Rayzist masking in much of this work, as well as powder sifting, engraving, and enamel imagery to produce contrast and texture.

With the freeform, fragmentary quality of memory, Hirsch’s ancestory work begins with the artist scanning historical family documents and photographs in Photoshop. Transparencies, somewhat like negatives, are developed creating a mask that is exposed to ultraviolet light and rinsed. Multilayer sandblasting using Rayzist photomasks permits the etching of tiny lettering and fine detail to create an historical context for ancestral pieces.

Fire Fusion Studio also produces public artwork and installations including a series of fused trees that line a wall of a Kaiser Permanente facility – one of many Hirsch artworks commissioned by Kaiser. The artist recently produced 40 panels for another hospital that were etched with positive, peaceful, health-promoting sayings, created using Rayzist photomask and etching.



Sep 7, 2017

According to Japanese tradition, anyone with the patience and commitment to fold 1,000 paper cranes will be granted their most desired wish, because they have exhibited the crane’s loyalty and recreated its beauty. Backed by a successful $92 thousand dollar Kickstarter campaign, Jeremy Grant-Levine, AKA Germ, will flamework no less than 1,000 glass cranes in a year’s time. Exploring one large idea requires the artist to focus on the moment rather than the future. He says, “It’s a step back from feeding a commodity market for a year to focus on one thing rather than what’s next.”


Based in Philadelphia, Germ has been flameworking glass pipes for over 13 years, earning a reputation as one of the most technical and innovative makers in the industry. Mixing classical shapes and modern silhouettes, he transforms functional glass into sculpture that has been exhibited at galleries in Seattle, Philadelphia, New York, Miami, and Tel Aviv. Germ has also taught workshops and collaborated with other artists worldwide.

His 1,000 Cranes project represents more of a fine art move for the veteran functional glass artist, whose smokeable pieces typically sell for thousands of dollars. This, the largest project Germ has undertaken to date, will require up to 250 pounds of glass for flameworking and approximately two miles of wire for display, totaling $20,000 in materials.

As Germ works solo making the cranes, his focus remains on this larger scale, singular artwork rather than the many individualized pieces he typically creates when making pipes. Though he misses the personal aspects and relationships involved with functional glass, the 1,000 Cranes project offers Germ the chance for a more grand impact. Upon completion, his work will be displayed in an immersive installation in conjunction with Arch Enemy Arts, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Aug 25, 2017

By suspending creatures in moments of tension and recalling the myths and legends with which they are associated, Shelley Muzylowski Allen reminds us that nature is precious and in many ways fleeting. From the red gazelle to Asian and African elephants, some of her subjects face extinction or have been forever lost in the tides of time, taking with them some of humanity’s finest qualities.


Relying upon her background as a painter and an understanding of anatomy, Muzylowski Allen creates impressionistic or contemplative expressions and vignettes. In combination with sumptuous coloring and the acid etched surfaces of glass, her forms inspire a remarkable and powerful influence on human feeling.


Born in Manitoba, Canada, Muzylowski Allen never considered working with glass until a co-worker remarked that her paintings would translate well to three dimensions. After taking a course at Pilchuck Glass School, Stanwood, Washington, it quickly became evident that the artist had found in hot glass the perfect material for her painterly approach. Her textures, patterns, and gesture of brushwork enrich strong, three-dimensional forms.


Muzylowski Allen worked with the William Morris sculpture team in Washington State as a glass sculpting assistant from 1998 through 2004. In 2005, she established a glass and sculpture studio with her husband, artist Rik Allen, at their property in Skagit County, Washington. The couple has taught internationally at the Toyama Institute of Glass in Japan; Nuutajarvii Lasikyla, Finland; and the International Glass Festival in Stourbridge, England, as well as in the US at the Penland School of Craft; Pittsburgh Glass Center; and at Pilchuck.


Muzylowski Allen has been awarded Provincial and Canada Council grants. Her work is held nationally and internationally in public institutions and private collections. In 2008, she had a solo exhibition at the Museum of Northwest Art in La Conner, Washington, Modern Menagerie. Other selected shows include The San Juan Museum of Art, northwest Washington; Blue Rain Gallery, Santa Fe and Scottsdale; Habatat Galleries, Michigan; Traver Gallery, Seattle; and Schantz Galleries, Massachusetts. In 2012, Muzylowski Allen was a guest artist at Studio Salvadore in Murano, Italy, where she collaborated with artist Davide Salvadore on a series of large-scale sculptures.


Whether living things such as the beloved and revered horse or creatures associated with magic and mythology such as the unicorn, Muzylowski Allen renders her menagerie in states of grace, repose, or movement. They are transitory, by their choice or by ours. These archetypal symbols reflect not only the artist’s insights and experiences but inspire a deeply emotional connection for the viewer.


Aug 8, 2017



It’s interesting to contemplate the many obstacles to liberty - past, present, and future. Walking through the glass gallery of the National Liberty Museum (NLM), home to Maurice Gareau’s biblical glass scenes in stained glass, one remembers the colonists who came to America seeking religious freedom. Having escaped persecution in Europe, their challenge then became how to live in peace with others who did not share their beliefs. The NLM’s glass chess set by Gianni Toso includes flameworked pieces arranged in groups, as if conspiring to find answers to the complicated dilemmas that the search for liberty generates.

Located in the heart of historic Philadelphia, the National Liberty Museum is dedicated to preserving America’s heritage of freedom by encouraging people to find their own place in the story of liberty. Visitors to the Museum enjoy an inspiring and entertaining experience, as they interact with incredible stories of heroes and a collection of contemporary glass art including a 20-foot tall glass art sculpture entitled Flame of Liberty by Dale Chihuly. 

The National Liberty Museum first opened its doors to the public in January 2000. An independent learning and exhibit center, the museum is supported by visitors, community leaders, and foundations. Core themes include leadership and good character, diversity and inclusion, peaceful conflict resolution, and civic engagement.

In the Spring of 2017, the NLM sponsored a temporary exhibit titled The Treachery of Images: A Glass Art Exhibition. This exhibit pushed the limits of artistic respectability by showcasing the work of pipe makers and embracing the challenges they face in their efforts to be accepted within the art world. Later in the podcast, you’ll hear from pipemaker Jeremy Grant Levine, also known as Germ.

The NLM’s current GlassAccess Temporary Exhibit, Transparency: An LGBT+Q Glass Art Exhibition began in June runs through August 6, 2017. To celebrate Pride 2017, the National Liberty Museum hosted the nation’s first museum exhibit of studio glass works produced exclusively by artists of the LGBTQ community. Later in the podcast you’ll hear from participating artists Tim Tate, Jenny Pohlman and Sabrina Knowles.

We begin our podcast tour of the National Liberty Museum's history, goals, and exhibitions with glass department manager, Meegan Coll.






Jul 11, 2017




Jun 27, 2017
Known for his one-of-a-kind creature pipes, Salt began flameworking in 2001 in his hometown of Austin, Texas, where he still resides today. From spots and stripes, teeth and claws, to his trademark eyes, Salt’s detailed borosilicate sculpture has an undeniable hold on the functional glass community. His loyal 159K Instagram followers wait for new work to be released and search select shops and galleries for exotic creatures to add to their collections.
Salt Glass is inspired and informed by influences as vastly different as Surrealists such as Salvador Dalí and Maurits Cornelis Escher to elements from hip-hop culture such as graffiti and music, specifically the free-style movement. As he works, Salt let’s his imagination run wild. He endows his creatures with names and personalities, imagines how they might move, how and what they might eat. Environments they will thrive or die in are pondered.
On another level, the artist uses the creative process to examine thoughts, concerns, and dreams. As Salt works glass in the torch, he focuses on the feeling of having negative energy consumed and changed by this creature, allowing it to not only consume negativity, but transform the energy to positivity in a magical glass alchemy.
Sponsored by the company of the same name, Salt serves on Glass Alchemy’s artist board, contributing invaluable feedback to the development of new products for pipemakers and flameworkers. Independently, the artist has pioneered a variety of revolutionary technical advances including the Gill and the Salt Perc.
Says Salt: “In the end, my style is the fruit of my continually striving to put a message in my work and to amplify my voice as an artist and as a human. I want to do my best to represent the pipe making community that raised me and raise the voice of my generation.”
Jun 13, 2017

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reports that we are now witnessing the highest levels of displacement on record. An unprecedented 65.3 million people around the world have been forced from home. Among them are nearly 21.3 million refugees, over half of whom are under the age of 18. In a world where nearly 34,000 people are forcibly displaced every day as a result of conflict or persecution, Susan Cox makes a poignant statement about the importance of home and the heartbreak of losing our place in the world.

Informed and inspired by her background in architecture, Cox’s cast glass forms reveal her unique understanding of the correlation between light and space. The artist considers elements that define the concept of "home," including the evanescent qualities of childhood memories and the lifelong moments of looking back and looking forward. She explores the landscape where we feel most at peace or at home, as well as the act of individualizing a home to identify and make our own. Cox’s sculpture triggers examination of the home within each of us.

Working at her kiln and casting studio in Pound Ridge, New York, Cox earned a Master’s degree in architecture from Columbia University. In 2009 she turned to glass as a more immediate means of exploring ideas about light, space, and memory. In 2014, Cox was awarded a four-month residency at Bullseye Resource Center, Mamaroneck, New York, and was selected as an “E-merge” finalist. In 2015, she was honored by ArtsWestchester as one of their “50 For 50” artist’s, recognizing 50 outstanding artists living or working in Westchester County. Cox had her first solo exhibition "Finding Home," held December 3, 2016 through April 4, 2017 at View Art Center, in Old Forge, New York.                 

May 30, 2017

Judson Studios’ Resurrection Window, the largest single composition fused glass window in the world, was dedicated in April, 2017. Created for the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kansas, the groundbreaking work measures a mammoth 37 feet tall by 93 feet wide. For the ambitious project, Judson Studios collaborated with world-renowned artist Narcissus Quagliata to bring Judson designer Tim Carey’s vision to life. This represents the first time a notable liturgical window was created entirely from fused glass.

Chosen for the Resurrection Window project via a worldwide selection process, Judson Studios designed, fabricated, and installed 161 panels each measuring 4 feet wide by 5 feet tall. Located above the sanctuary chancel and choir loft, the spectacular 3,404 square feet of glass is comprised of approximately 6,000 individual pieces of painted, fused, and glazed glass. Though protected from the elements by a glass curtain wall, the colossal expanse of art glass is visible at night from miles away.

To accomplish the daunting task of producing this first ever fused window wall, Judson Studios expanded from their workspace in nearby Highland Park to a new addition in South Pasadena. More than 5,000 square feet of modern factory and kiln capabilities enabled the studio, with Quagliata’s assistance, to complete their most challenging commission to date.

The dramatic centerpiece of a $93-million capital improvement plan, the Resurrection Window serves as a beacon on the church’s 76-acre Leawood campus. Designed by Minneapolis-based HGA Architects and Engineers and Gould Evans of Kansas City, the new sanctuary changed the local landscape with its seven stainless steel-clad exterior panels. These "sails" rise more than 104 feet above ground and represent each day of creation, the wholeness of life, and the seven days of Holy Week. In harmony, Judson’s Resurrection Window tells the biblical story from Genesis through Revelation.

Our conversation begins with president of Judson Studios, David Judson. Next we’ll hear from designer Tim Carey, then Narcissus Quagliata about each of their roles and experience in the creation of the Resurrection Window.


May 12, 2017

Robert Mickelsen’s second act in glass not only pays homage to his early career in flameworking, but couldn’t have happened without it. The artist gracefully transitioned from sculptural to functional glass, promoting his artwork to an entirely new fan base and resulting in the most successful years of his career.

Born in 1951 in Fort Belvoir, Virginia, and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii, Mickelsen apprenticed with a professional lampworker for two years in the mid ‘70s, then sold his own designs at outdoor craft fairs for 10 years. In 1987 he took a class from Paul Stankard that opened his eyes to the possibilities of his medium. 

Mickelsen stopped doing craft shows in 1989 and began marketing his work through fine galleries and exhibitions in high profile shows nationwide. His work can be found in many prominent collections including the Renwick Gallery of American Crafts at the Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C.; the Corning Museum of Glass, Corning New York; and The Toledo Museum of Art, Toledo Ohio. 

Beginning in the mid 1990s, Mickelsen taught flameworking at major glass schools including the Pilchuck Glass School, Stanwood Washington; Penland School of Crafts, Bakersville, North Carolina; and The Studio at the Corning Museum of Glass, Corning, New York. He has published numerous technical and historical articles on flameworked glass and served for six years on the board of directors of the Glass Art Society as treasurer and vice-president.

June 19 - 23, 2017, Mickelsen will co teach with Jared Betty the first flameworking workshop at Pratt Fine Arts in Seattle, Washington, to include pipe making as part of the curriculum. From July 17 – 21, 2017 Mickelsen returns for his ninth year in a row to Pittsburgh Glass Center, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to teach the creation of organic forms made from bubbles of borosilicate glass. He also teaches private workshops at his home studio in Ocala, Florida. 

Apr 28, 2017

Sarah Hall has refined a unique and hi tech approach to architectural glass that gifts the world with both beauty and power. Through the use of photovoltaic cells that convert solar energy into electricity, Hall’s windows can store sunlight by day to backlight the glass by night. They can also produce clean electricity that feeds directly into their respective buildings’ energy systems. Though designing with photovoltaic cells introduces some challenges, Hall moves viewers through her stunning mastery of light and color.


Hall designs large-scale solar and art glass projects for clients around the world including embassies, cathedrals, schools, universities, and colleges. These include Waterglass at Enwave Theatre at Toronto’s Harbourfront Centre; Lux Gloria at the Cathedral of the Holy Family in Saskatoon; Lux Nova wind tower at the University of British Colombia; Leaves of Light for the Life Sciences Building at York University in Toronto; and The Science of Light at Grass Valley Elementary School in Washington State.

Having studied at Sheridan College in Ontario, Hall continued her education in the Architectural Glass Department at Swansea College of Art in Wales, UK. Her exceptional contribution to the built environment has resulted in Honor Awards from the American Institute of Architects and the Allied Arts Award from the Ontario Association of Architects. Hall’s artistic achievements were acknowledged by her induction into the Royal Canadian Academy of Art in 2002. An Arts Fellowship from the Chalmers Foundation in 2005 supported her innovative work in BIPV (Building Integrated Photovoltaic) solar art glass.


In 2016, Hall’s autonomous glass was featured in the exhibition International Panorama of Contemporary Glass-Art, held at the Centre International du Vitrail in Chartres, France. In addition to projects, lectures, and exhibitions throughout North America and Europe, Hall has co-authored 35 articles on glass art and published three books: The Color of Light (1999); Windows on Our Souls (2007) with Bob Shantz; and Transfiguring Prairie Skies (2012) with Donald Bolen. Her work was the subject of J S Porter’s volume, The Glass Art of Sarah Hall, as well as the CBC documentary series, “Great Minds of Design.” She is presently working on a large format retrospective book of her work entitled:  A Thousand Colours – Sarah Hall Glass.


Through her glass designs, Hall currently explores ways to generatepower and save birds simultaneously. She endeavors to create colored, transparent solar panels that will not only help power the buildings they cover, but also prevent birds from colliding with glass.



Apr 14, 2017

Like something out of a dark fairytale, David Fode’s personal work in stained glass entices the viewer with its frighteningly beautiful aesthetic. His alluring autonomous panels painted in the Munich style provide a canvas for Fode’s highly detailed and elaborate renderings, resulting in an irresistible synthesis of the exquisite and the macabre.

Since 2004, Fode has been designing and fabricating independent works in glass from his Waukesha, Wisconsin, studio HaeuserHeil as a means of promoting the Munich style for applications in private and smaller public venues. Though Fode’s subjects are not ancient, his medium is, making for an interesting and endlessly appealing dichotomy. His contemporary content helps to legitimize the stained glass craft through its appeal to today’s art viewing and art buying audience.

Formally trained in illustration at the American Academy of Art in Chicago, Illinois, Fode has worked in stained glass studios for nearly 20 years, replicating the Munich style for new and preservation projects across the United States. As senior artist at Gaytee-Palmer Stained Glass in Minneapolis, Minnesota, last year Fode designed 14 4' by 4' windows for Trinity High School in Bismarck, North Dakota. With natural light on only one side, the remaining windows were artificially lit to mimic natural light. LED panels set on dimmer switches and timers controlled the light replicating daylight as closely as possible.

Whether creating autonomous panels, restoring historical glass, or designing new projects at Gaytee-Palmer, Fode’s artistic endeavors serve his goal of keeping the art of stained glass alive.

Mar 24, 2017


Lino Tagliapietra’s visit to Pilchuck Glass School in Stanwood, Washington, in the late 1970s was a game-changer. His willingness to share glassblowing techniques regarded as Muranese secrets with American artists hungry for knowledge was one of the most important seeds of the Studio Glass movement’s growth. For Tagliapietra, the Americans planted a seed also, one that would encourage him to leave his career working in Italian glass factories and transform himself into an independent glassblower and artist.

Since 1990, the Maestro has created some of the world’s most recognizable blown glass, represented by prestigious museums including the De Young Museum, San Francisco, California; the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, UK; the Metropolitan Museum, New York, New York, as well as by numerous galleries and private collections.

Tagliapietra’s awards and honors are innumerable and include his 2006 Distinguished Educator Award presented by the James Renwick Alliance of Washington D.C. In 2011, the Istituto Veneto di Scienze, Lettere e Arti in Venice held an exhibition Lino Tagliapietra from Murano to Studio Glass, and in 2015 bestowed upon him the coveted Career Award. Tagliapietra holds two honorary degrees and the title PhD of Fine Arts from Ohio State University. In 2012 the Maestro was chosen for the renowned Phoenix Award. In 2014 he was presented with the Visionary Award at Art Palm Beach, Florida, followed by the Best Glass Work Award, Masterpiece exhibition, London, UK.

Tagliapietra is widely revered as the Maestro of glassblowing, an inspiring teacher, and the elder statesman linking the glass centers of Venice, Italy, and the Pacific Northwest. Vessels, installations, panels, and Avventurina comprise his current body of work. His 2017 exhibition schedule includes Sandra Ainsley Gallery, Toronto, Ontario, from May 13 through August 6; and Lino Tagliapietra, Master of a Glass Renaissance, Morris Museum, Morristown, now through June 18. The New Jersey exhibition will showcase approximately 30 Tagliapietra masterpieces in collaboration with Schantz Galleries.

Mar 10, 2017


Widely regarded as one of the godfathers of the functional glass community, Banjo works glass in a torch to create mind-blowing psychedelic sculpture that transcends its functionality. In doing so, the artist has attracted a legion of faithful fans and collectors, many who do not smoke marijuana.

Banjo’s glasswork brings to life interdimensional biomechanical deities that represent the emergence of sacred feminine energy within the post-modern techno-industrial matrix. He also pays homage to pop culture, crafting thousand-plus piece Transformer robots, motorcycles, cars, and Star Wars characters in borosilicate glass.

Though it’s happening, Banjo and his contemporaries don’t need gallery support or acceptance from the mainstream art world in order to sell their work. The functional glass community has always been tightly woven with the fibers of social networking. With over 150,000 followers on Instagram, hungry collectors devour Banjo’s new work the minute images appear online.

“Pipe-makers, glassblowers, and even glass collectors make up an entirely new class of cannabis celebrity,” wrote Ben Parker Karris, editor and correspondent for Kind Stash, Los Angeles, California. “With the nationwide legalization of marijuana, more artists will be inspired to enter the glass industry, because the demand for pieces is growing so quickly. This heightened demand creates a rise in the value of the work as well. Artists who were once barely earning money for their work are sometimes pulling in as much as $30,000 per piece.”

In 2016, Banjo had his first solo exhibition, Sacramental Vessels, held October 8 through November 13, 2016 at Gregorio Escalante Gallery in Los Angeles, California. Featured alongside other visionary works by Alex and Allyson Grey, Amanda Sage, Chris Dyer, and Luke Brown, Banjo’s android-goddesses snuggled in amongst their pistons and gears, represent harbingers of another incremental step towards normalizing and celebrating marijuana culture as part of creative life. Goddesses in vibrant transparent colors mingled with those created in opaque glass, each one surrounded by the hundreds of detailed nuts, bolts, screws, and knobs of Banjo’s mega-mechanisms.

In terms of industry growth over the next few years, many believe the functional glass movement has a chance to become one of the biggest art movements in recent history. According to Banjo, the government called glass pipes a billon dollar industry as far back as 2003. He estimates that currently between five and 10 functional glass artists are earning half a million dollars per year, with over 300 artists bringing in over 100K each.
Nice and tidy.

Feb 17, 2017


From the archives, this very first episode of Talking Out Your Glass has been edited and re-released for your listening pleasure.

Former editor of Glass Art magazine Shawn Waggoner interviews internationally respected artist Narcissus Quagliata about his 2013 book, "Archetypes and Visions in Light and Glass." They discuss highlights from his 40 years of groundbreaking glass projects, including his work with the figure and public projects such as his Dome of Light in Taiwan. Just how did he conceive and execute one of the world’s largest stained glass domes?



Feb 6, 2017

At 19, Preston Singletary was the night watchman at Rob Adamson’s Glass Eye studio in Seattle. Three months later he started blowing glass, working with his childhood friend Dante Marioni. Both artists credit a visit from Italian Maestro Lino Tagliapietra as well as Pilchuck classes with inspiring their subsequent successful careers in glass.


In the 1980s, Singletary began incorporating Tlingit designs into his work. By doing so he found not only a new artistic direction but a captive audience for glass that reflected the stories and symbols of his Native Southeast Alaskan tribe. Singletary transformed the notion that Native artists work best with traditional materials. The evolution of his glass working skills and designs along with his subsequent commercial success has positioned Singletary as a primary influence on contemporary indigenous art.


Wrote Matthew Kangas for Visual Art Source: “Making indigenous art releases the ego tied up with individual artistic expression in favor of a wider, collective surge and cross-cultural impact. Combining private and public commissions as well as mainstream gallery commitments, Singletary’s new work is advancing both glass and contemporary Native American art. He is perhaps now the leading artist doing so.”


Singletary’s astounding commissions include his glass Clan House screen and house posts at the Walter Soboleff Center in Juneau, Alaska. The screen depicts a Northwest Coast design in sandblasted glass. On the left stands an Eagle warrior; on the right stands a Raven. This screen measures approximately 11.5 feet high by 16 feet wide and weighs over 1000 lbs. It is comprised of 28 glass panels, 28 Plexiglas panels, and over 200 custom made mounting bolts.


More than five years in the making, Singletary’s Family Story Totems include three 7-foot tall 3-dimensional glass totem poles depicting a beloved family story about the artist’s great-grandmother. A collaboration with longtime friend and woodcarver David Svenson, the Family Story Totems are three of the largest cast glass sculptures in the world. From designing, to carving, to casting first in plaster, then bronze, then lead crystal - this project broke boundaries in art glass production. No other artist has attempted glass casting on this scale with this detail.


In terms of his gallery work, Singletary will exhibit new sculpture in Premonitions of Water at the Traver Gallery in Seattle from April 6 – 29, 2017. Opening in 2018 at the Museum of Glass in Tacoma, Raven and the Box of Daylight is the Tlingit story of Raven and his transformation of the world—bringing light to people via the stars, moon, and sun. A dynamic combination of artwork, storytelling, and encounter, the exhibition allows the treasured Tlingit creation myth to unfold during the visitor’s experience.


When he’s not making art, Singletary sings and plays bass with his band Khu.éex’ (pronounced koo-eex). This one-of-a-kind musical collaboration included the legendary late Rock and Roll Hall of Fame composer and performer Bernie Worrell of Parliament/Funkadelic and Talking Heads. Other bandmates include Skerik collaborator with Pearl Jam, Stanton Moore of Galactic, Captain Raab of Red Earth, and tribal members Clarissa Rizal, Gene Tagaban and Nahaan. Following their debut album, “The Wilderness Within," their second album “They Forgot They Survived” will be released on triple vinyl. We’ll hear a track, “Angry Bear,” later in the show.


Of the handful of Native Americans working in glass Singletary is a forerunner, using previously undeveloped techniques to revolutionize a new art form. The artist has unintentionally carved a place in history for himself by sharing Tlingit stories and traditions in the unexpected and technically challenging medium of glass.


Jan 20, 2017

Paul Messink’s multilayered kilnformed glass panels draw the viewer into an ethereal and ghostly landscape that represents the uncertainty of life and its myriad directions. Transforming a painting, an historically two-dimensional art form, into a three-dimensional scene with depth and perspective, Messink poses questions about choices and pathways via scenes obscured and enhanced by the mystery of fog and mist.

Frequently asked if a photograph has been embedded in his layers of glass, Messink actually creates his imagery by applying glass enamels and fusing. The artist creates depth by layering the glass, diminishing the size and color of his subject matter, and manipulating texture and translucence. Messink typically uses between nine and 12 layers of glass that are kilncast into one solid panel.

Formerly an IT project manager in Chicago, Messink is currently based out of Palm Desert, California, with studios in both Palm Desert and the nearby Coachella Valley Art Center in Indio, California. While mostly self-taught, workshops of artists such as Susan Taylor Glasgow, Richard LaLonde, Mark Salsbury, Annette Baron, and Don Schneider helped him refine and advance his technique. Messink now teaches his process around the country to other artists and kilnworkers looking for more expressive approaches in glass.

Messink was awarded “Best in Glass” in the 2012 and 2014 Royal Oak Clay, Glass and Metal show, Royal Oak, Michigan, and was awarded “Multi-Media Artist of the Year” in the Art Comes Alive 2013 competition, Cincinnati, Ohio. In 2014 he received a category award in The Glass Prize 2014, sponsored by Warm Glass UK, and was also awarded "Best in Show" at GATHERING: Contemporary Glass from the Heartland, sponsored by the Indiana Glass Art Alliance.  In 2015 he took home the "People's Choice Award in Glass" at the 3rd Brea Clay and Glass Exhibit, in Brea CA. Messink has participated in numerous group shows around the country.

Jan 6, 2017

Award winning artist/designer Peter McGrain has been working with stained glass for over 30 years. During this time he has handled every type of stained glass project imaginable, ranging in scope from intimate experimental panels to large scale architectural installations. The book Uncommon Stained Glass charts McGrain's journey from crafter to award-winning artist.

In 1990 McGrain's panel "Shrimping the Spring Tide" was honored by the World Glass Congress as the finest example of stained glass created anywhere on earth during the 1980s. The artist expanded his worldwide notoriety through the creation of exhibition showpieces designed and fabricated for Kokomo Opalescent Glass Works and the Paul Wissmach Glass Co. 

Since the development of McGrain's Vitri Fusaille process - a hybrid of glass fusing and traditional glass painting - demand for his workshops has been on the rise along with increased gallery interest. His piece "Man with Fish" appeared in New Glass Review 26, the Corning Museum’s annual survey of avant-garde glass. In 2012, McGrain proved to himself and the world that Vitri Fusaille could also be used in the creation of architectural work as seen in his commission for the Jewish Home in Rochester, New York, his home town. 

I met McGrain in the late 1980s. In fact, he was one of the first artists about whom I wrote a major feature for Glass Art magazine. I had seen his work for the Strassenburgh Planetarium in Rochester and thought it was not only cutting-edge in terms of design and execution, but far superior to much of the stained glass of the day.

The recipient of the American Glass Guild’s 2014 Joseph Barnes Lifetime Achievement Award, McGrain has always been in demand as a teacher, lecturer, and author of books and journal articles, including his current ongoing series for Glass Art magazine on traditional glass painting. McGrain is grateful to stained and fused glass pioneer Dan Fenton for inviting him to teach his first workshop, sparking the discovery of the joy of sharing knowledge and information with students all over the world.

In this conversation, McGrain discusses his early history, his teaching philosophies, and his best works. We’ll even hear an original song!