Degenerate Art, the 2012 documentarydirected by pipemaker Aaron Golbert a.k.a. Marble Slinger, chronicled and in some ways changed the history of functional glass through its popularity and widespread distribution. The film, whose title references a German expression used by the Nazi regime to criticize non-conformist art, inspired multitudes of artists to take up pipemaking as their passion and profession.
Living and working in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, home to one of the nation’s most vibrant glass pipemaking scenes, Slinger developed a body of work that communicatescomplex themes through the utilization of graal techniques.He’s known for his visages of pop culture icons such as Audrey Hepburn and Sherlock Holmes, sandblasted onto matte-finish, color-blended pipes and tubes.
On the Board of Glass Alchemy’s Makers Alliance, Slinger works with the company to determine the future direction of its color palette. Independently, his aesthetic signature includes myriad patterning techniques such as honeycombs, inside out, fuming, disc flips, reticellos, bowties, spirals, stuff and puffs, and traditional shaping styles. Bronze casting, painting, and mixed media are also employed to convey concepts influenced by pop and graffiti art.
In a world of technological excess and social turmoil, one longs to return to the simple goodness of the earth and its bounty. Like a trip to the local farmer’s market, Jen Violette’s cornucopia of glass fruits and vegetables renews in the viewer a connection with the ground we walk upon and the faith that we remain part of a plan that makes life on earth sustainable.
A full-time glass and mixed media artist based in Wilmington, Vermont, Violette is known for her colorful, garden inspired glass sculptures that often incorporate metal and wood. Recreating plant structures with molten glass, the artist has mastered the use of glass powders to mimic the colors and textures found in nature. “Since the growing season is relatively short in Vermont, I enjoy gardening with molten glass to extend my growing season.”
A 27-year hot glass veteran, Violette received her BFA in Glass and Metal Sculpture from Alfred University School of Art & Design, Alfred, New York in 1994. She continued her glass art education through courses at The Studio of The Corning Museum of Glass (CMOG), Corning, New York; the Pilchuck Glass School, Stanwood, Washington; the Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, Rhode Island; the Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, Deer Isle, Maine; and Penland School of Crafts, Bakersville, North Carolina. Her mentors and inspirations include hot glass royalty such as Lino Tagliapietra, William Morris, Martin Janecky, Dante Marioni, Richard Marquis, the late Pino Signoretto, Randy Walker, Karen Willenbrink-Johnsen, Jasen Johnsen, Stephen Dee Edwards, Fred Tschida, Walter Lieberman, and Brian Pike.
Violette’s work can be found in private collections worldwide and is represented by a number of fine art glass galleries including Schantz Galleries Contemporary Art in Stockbridge, Massachusetts; Vetri Gallery in Seattle, Washington; Raven Gallery in Aspen, Colorado; Sandra Ainsley Gallery in Toronto, Canada; and Montague Gallery in San Francisco, California. Her work can also be found at Duncan McClellan Gallery in St. Petersburg, Florida, where from October 12–14, 2018, the artist will be featured along with glass artist Claire Kelly in a weekend event including glass demos by both artists.
Currently fabricating larger scale installations and glass sculpturesdirectly mounted to the wall, Violette’s aesthetic now includes forest floor imagery with fall leaves and branches. She moves in and out of the seasons, simultaneously creating a spring inspired installation containing fiddlehead ferns and glass trilliums, as well as an homage to summer with black-eyed Susans and sunflowers, and a wall piece featuring large-scale ferns installed at different angles.
Upon her return from the Glass Art Society conference in Murano, Italy, in May2018, Violette will participate in a Vermont Crafts Council Studio Tour held during Memorial Day weekend. During August 6–11 the artist will teach her first class ever, a Creative Glass Sculpting Techniques workshop, at the CMOG Studio.