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.
It’s not uncommon to read comparisons between Albert Einstein and Paul Marioni, artist and one of the founders of the Studio Glass movement, many based on their shared lifelong fascination with light. Known as an innovator in the glass world, Marioni has been pushing the limits of his medium for five decades, redefining what is possible not only in process but content. He says: “I work with glass for its distinct ability to capture and manipulate light. While my techniques are often inventive, they are only in service of the image.”
A surrealist whose work addresses issues of nature, identity, and emotion, Marioni relies upon dreams as well as political and social convictions to make statements, causing us to forget the unfair advantage that working with glass affords. Using material that is inherently beautiful, the artist inspires people to think rather than telling them what to think. Marioni’s work can be found in collections including the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C.; The Corning Museum of Glass, Corning, New York; and the Museum of Arts and Design, New York, New York.
Marioni, who graduated in 1967 from the University of Cincinnati, Ohio, is a Fellow of the American Crafts Council and Glass Art Society Lifetime Achievement Award recipient. He has received three fellowships from the National Endowment of the Arts and has taught at schools worldwide including the Penland School of Crafts, Bakersville, North Carolina; Pilchuck Glass School, Stanwood, Washington; the Glass Furnace, Istanbul, Turkey; and more recently at Soneva Art and Glass in the Maldives.
At 77, Marioni remains passionate about the “road show,” a grassroots effort started by artists like himself, Fritz Dreisbach, Dale Chihuly, and Richard Marquis, to spread knowledge and enthusiasm about glass to anyone who showed interest. “I’ve worked in glass all but three years of my life. What was I thinking to get into a field with no history, no books, no teaching? Obviously I wasn’t thinking. But we built the Studio Glass movement on cooperation, not competition, because there was no past. There was nothing for us to get. And we’ve barely scratched the surface of what can be done.”
In addition to gallery work, Marioni has produced over 100 public and private commissions in both cast glass and terrazzo. From his studio in Mexico, the artist currently works on the biggest commission of his career for the $52 million Bellevue, Washington, light rail station. Its train serves business powerhouses of the Pacific Northwest including Microsoft and Boeing. Selected as lead artist for the project through a national competition, Marioni is designing 3000+ square feet of art glass for the platforms as well as the terrazzo floors.
Like quilts fashioned from various colors and textures of coral reef, Shayna Leib’s Wind and Watersculptures reflect the two major passions in her life - music and the ocean. Trained as a classical pianist, the artist relies upon the same part-to-whole nature of music that brings together individual notes and melodic lines in the creation of a greater composition. Growing up on the Central Coast of California, Leib became a diver and underwater photographer, further informing the direction of her art.
In a recent American Craftarticle, Fear & Fascination, Judy Arginteanu wrote:“A large wall sculpture (about 4.5 by 2 feet) might contain some 40,000 individual pieces of hand-pulled, custom-colored cane, which she then slumps, cuts, and meticulously arranges in intricate patterns, like those nature seems to create so effortlessly. It takes many weeks to produce one sculpture…With the help of one assistant, Leib does all the work in her 640-square-foot studio, a converted warehouse in the charmingly boho East Side of Madison, Wisconsin…She can spend hours on the coloring process alone, and each piece of cane has at least two colors to add shimmering depth. She can use up to six different versions of a color in a monotone landscape; for a multicolored piece, the number may be 25 or 30.”
Leib studied Russian literature, glassblowing, and classical piano while completing her Bachelors of Art degree in Philosophy at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, California. Accepted into a PhD Philosophy program in New York, she chose instead to pursue a Masters of Fine Arts in glass and metal at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and graduated with her MFA in 2003. Working as a metal fabricator and forger at Pearson Design Studios in Maine, Leib reproduced the famous designs by the late Ronald Hayes Pearson for his wife, Carolyn Pearson. Upon her return to California in 2004, she taught sculpture and drawing at Cal Poly State University until her move in 2005 to teach glass at the University of Madison-Wisconsin.
Currently Leib works in a variety of mediums including ceramic, stone, metal, photography and fabric, though glass remains her focus. She prefers to use glass not for its mimetic qualities to capture the look of other materials, but for its ability to express flow, freeze a moment in time, and manipulate optics. She states: “The things I find beautiful have always been fractal in nature. I am intrigued by multitudes of tiny little parts - blades of grass all bending in the wind to the same rhythm. As you pan out you have waves of form. Zoom in and you see each individual blade of grass moving to the flow of the wind.”
Leib’s work, found in numerous private and public collections nationally, has been exhibited at SOFA Chicago and New York for the last decade. She is represented by Habatat Galleries Florida in West Palm Beach, showcased in museums, worldwide blogs, and magazines, and featured on the pages of Contemporary Lampworking, The Best of American Glass Artists Volume L-Z, and A História Do Vidro(A History of Glass).Leibwas recognized as a 2010 Wisconsin Arts Board Grant Recipient, nominated in 2011 for the Louis Comfort Tiffany Award, and in2015 listed as one of the 30 Most Amazing Glass Artists Alive.