Celebrating its 40th year, Glass Artists of Colorado (GAC) creates opportunities for education, sharing, promotion and friendship. Established in 1979 under the name Glass Artists Fellowship, GAC offers its members monthly educational meetings, artist slideshows, demonstrations, information, seminars, workshops, guest lectures, and field trips. Originally comprised of stained glass artists only, over the years membership has grown and evolved to reflect the dynamic nature of art glass in Colorado.
Says president, Deborah Carlson: “With the closing of most, if not all, retail and teaching shops in Colorado, clubs like ours are a necessity to keep the glass artists in our area involved and informed about the outside glass community and give support to this medium. The Morgan Adams Project, as well as our bi-annual support of Beads of Courage, provides us with an opportunity to come together, share, and focus on our community.”
Currently, GAC is coordinating a special project in conjunction with The Morgan Adams Foundation, D&L Art Glass Supply, Denver, and The Children’s Hospital of Colorado. When Morgan Adams lost her battle with cancer, her mother started a foundation to raise awareness and funds for children’s cancer research.
Carlson asked the children in the cancer unit of Children’s Hospital to draw a picture and write a story about their healing character and assign them special powers. The drawings of the 25 kids who participated are being created in glass via blowing or sculpting in the furnace or on the torch. The glass sculpture along with the corresponding drawing and story will be auctioned off at a special event called ARTMA 2020, on February 8, at Denver Design District. The Morgan Adams Foundation puts on this art auction every two years to raise money for children’s cancer research.
As a special gift to the children, D & L Art Glass Supply and Leslie Silverman graciously opened their teaching facility and furnished all of the glass and kiln time for GAC to produce a glass tile matching the drawing of every child who participated. These will be given out either at the auction or at the hospital. The Morgan Adams Foundation has also made and will give each child a special t-shirt with the project name and Glass Artists of Colorado on it. Every participating glass artist will receive the same t-shirt and a year’s membership to GAC.
Says Carlson: “The children’s comments are amazing, with most of them saying this was the best project they have ever been a part of because it gave them a chance to participate in the fund raising. They were incredibly enthusiastic, and we are grateful. The artists also expressed their gratitude for being included in such a meaningful event. We are blessed to have this great glass community here in Colorado.”
In 1989, Tim Tate received an HIV-positive diagnosis and was told he had one year to live. The terrible news inspired him to follow a dream he’d had since the age of 9 when he visited the Corning Museum of Glass. Driven to use the time he had left to become a glass artist, Tate travelled to Penland School of Crafts in North Carolina for the first in an intensive succession of classes. Penland and the artwork made during this time saved his life.
A Washington, D.C. native, Tate has been working with sculpture now for 30 years. Co-Founder of the Washington Glass School, his artwork is part of the permanent collections of a number of museums, including the Smithsonian’s American Art Museum and the Mint Museum. He participated in 2019’s Glasstress show with Ai Wei Wei and Vic Muniz during the Venice Biennale. Tate has received numerous awards and honors including the 2010 Virginia Groot Foundation award for sculpture; a Fulbright Award from Sunderland University, England, in 2012; second place in the 2017 London Contemporary Art Prize; and the 2018 James Renwick Alliance Distinguished Artist Award.
Along with William Warmus, Tate is the founder and moderator of the Facebook group 21st Century Glass – Images and Discussions. His involvement at Penland includes teaching, serving as featured artist for the 2018 annual auction, and acting as the Development Chair for the Penland Board of Trustees from 2014 to 2018.
In 2001, Tate helped establish the Washington Glass School to focus on sculptural glass made by kiln-casting and mixed media rather than traditional studio glassblowing techniques. Modeled after Penland and the Crucible in Oakland, the school has offered instruction to more than 4,000 students while providing a permanent studio in which Tate makes his work.
After 10 years of making bowls, between 1999 and 2005 Tate made 30 large blown glass hearts, an exercise which required him to work with a glassblowing team and revealed his preference to work solo. His Reliquary works created between 2004 and 2014 drew attention from journalists, galleries and critics, putting Tate on the map of the art world at large.
Never fully fitting into any one definition of Studio Glass, steampunk or video artist, Tate blends traditional craft with new media technology, the framework in which he fits his artistic narrative. Through moving images and endless mirrors his contemporary work possesses the aesthetic of Victorian techno-fetishism, which emerged from fascination with Jules Verne as a boy. Artwork and video, he believes, will be society’s relics of the future.
He says, “I like to reference many possible histories and will do so with video or mirrors to show our common artistic ancestry and illustrate alternate paths. Perhaps centuries from now my work will have the same presence as abandoned archaic machines from the Turn of the last Century, as people marvel over what could have possibly been its intent.”
An early pioneer of the fusing movement in the Northwest, Michael Dupille is accustomed to developing the processes and products necessary to achieve his aesthetic goals in glass. As the creator and early master of Fritography, the artist’s work can be found in numerous public and private collections including those of the Washington and Oregon State Arts Commissions, The Everett Cultural Commission, The Seattle Times, The Pierce County Arts Commission, Amazon.com, and the Seattle Mariners.
He says: “At first, I was the only person doing frit work. Now there are many people teaching the techniques. Working with frit and fusing in general gives you freedom of expression. Learning how the colors work, how they fire, and what you can do with the different sizes of frit provides a conduit for your imagination.”
Some of the most unique developments in Dupille’s work have been the result of experimentation or aesthetic accident. He has the mindset of a perpetual student, always looking for ways to make his art more interesting and extraordinary. This led to the birth in 2003 of Tranchant du Verre, Dupille’s exclusive process requiring a mix of his specially formulated CMC gum called Vitrigel with System 96 powdered glass. He is also the developer of Castalot Glass Mold material.
Innovation and creation have always gone hand in hand for Dupille, as seen in everything from his large-scale glass feathers to his frit paintings of baseball games to his recent 4-foot custom glass hockey sticks.
Dupille’s journey in glass began in the mid-1970s. Upon graduation from Central Washington University in Ellensburg, the young artist moved to the Seattle/ Tacoma area where he attended Clover Park Vocational Technical Institute, studying offset printing and lithography. Meeting fellow fusers Richard La Londe and Ruth Brockmann at a street fair, Dupille was eventually invited to their studio and introduced to one of the founders of Bullseye Glass Co., Boyce Lundstrom. Dupille’s training in design and illustration came in handy for the early print advertising, book layouts and T-shirts he produced for Bullseye and Lundstrom’s glass school, Camp Colton. While working on Lundstrom’s Fusing books two and three, Dupille started teaching glass classes at the school.
As an innovator of new techniques and products, Dupille has been in demand as a teacher for the last three decades, instructing all over the United States and Mexico. Two workshops will be offered in 2020, one at Anything in Stained Glass, in Frederick, Maryland, this September, and in October in the UK at Glassification. Dupille is also working on a couple of new e- books and will release a series of production casting molds later this year. One of Dupille’s favorite experiences is opening up a glass magazine or book and seeing a former student’s work.
In the early 1990s, Brockmann won a competition sponsored by the Oregon Arts Commission to create a pair of murals for the lobby of the Portland State Office Building. Created in collaboration with her partner Hal Bond, Dupille was also enlisted to collaborate on the two murals, which covered a total of 320 square feet and included fused glass, kiln cast glass, and colored cement.
Since those early days, public and private commissions have comprised a large portion of Dupille’s work in glass. Some of his largest and most challenging artwork touches the lives of hundreds of teachers and students in the Public School environment every day. His most recent, Manito Glow was installed in 2017 at Hutton Elementary School in Spokane, Washington, a Percent for Arts project offered through the Washington State Arts Commission. Although the process of creating art for schools is not significantly different from producing other large-scale work, Dupille’s goal is always to inspire his audience. “Glass has such unique and beautiful properties, and the students, parents, and faculty are drawn to it for that as well as the process used to make the work.”
The Corning Museum of Glass Acquires its First Glass Cannabis Pipe, Created by David Colton
The Corning Museum of Glass named David Colton as the recipient of its prestigious 2019 Rakow Commission, awarded annually to emerging and established artists whose work is not yet represented in the Museum’s collection. Colton’s sculpture represents the first-ever glass cannabis pipe to be added to the permanent collection of any major art museum. With its bright pink, red, and purple calligraphic forms, this expressive, graffiti-inspired sculptural object demonstrates the contribution of pipemakers to colored borosilicate glass, the palette of which has expanded greatly since the beginning of the glass pipe movement in the late 20th century.
Heavily influenced by the rise of graffiti in America in the 1980s and ’90s, Colton creates his own take on the graphic art form in sculpture, using glass as his chosen medium. Recognized by his peers for the distinct organic style he has developed, Colton’s practice encompasses abstract borosilicate sculptures and functional glass pipes. Born in Westfield, Massachusetts, Colton began glassblowing in Fort Collins, Colorado in 1995 and currently resides in Westhampton, Massachusetts. The artist’s work is also included in The Dr. Seuss Museum’s permanent collection in Springfield, Massachusetts.
Enjoy this fascinating conversation about how and where glass pipes fit in to the world of fine art and museum collections.
On November 12, 2019, Venice and Murano, Italy, were devastated by “acqua alta,” record high water from tidal floods, which caused severe damage throughout the laguna and islands. Master glassblower Davide Fuin has established a GoFundMe campaign to help glass artists who need outside funding to make repairs and get shops, furnaces and studios back in working order.
Born in 1962 on Murano, Fuin still lives and works on the island. Considered one of the most skilled glassblowers of the last 30 years, he has collaborated with Italy’s famous glass houses including Venini, Toso, Pauly, Salviati, Elite, and De Majo, as well as with many international artists and designers. His work can be found in major galleries as well as private and museum collections in Europe, the United States, Japan, Korea, Saudi Arabia, EAU, and Australia.
On September 15, 2015, at Palazzo Franchetti on Venice’s Grand Canal, the Istituto Veneto di Scienze Lettere ed Arti honored glass master Fuin for excelling in his ability to make blown work according to Murano tradition, highlighting especially the techniques of reticello and retortoli filigree, incalmo, and avventurina. Gherardo Ortalli, president of the Istituto; Gabriella Belli, director of the Fondazione Musei Civici di Venezia; Georg J. Riedel, president of Riedel Crystal; and Rosa Barovier, glass historian, selected the award recipients and were in attendance. William Gudenrath, resident advisor for The Studio at the Corning Museum of Glass (CMOG), Corning, New York, was also present at the ceremony.
“Fuin’s work was selected because he is the most visible, arguably the best, and some would say the last practitioner of the tradition of goblet makers on Murano, said to date from the Renaissance. The goblet tradition in both Murano and Venice is in considerable peril,” says Gudenrath, who himself teaches advanced courses in Venetian techniques and ensures excellence in the CMOG studio facility and its programs.
Every year Fuin spends several weeks teaching at art schools and studios around the world, including The Studio at CMOG. On January 3, 2020, the artist presented a workshop at The Glass Spot, in Richmond, Virginia, and in August will teach at his Murano hot shop.
Known widely as the crème de la crème, Fuin’s work defines classic Venetian glass. In 2000, he began producing a collection of goblets, vessels, and traditional Venetian baskets in Avventurina glass. His goal was to open new markets and appeal to a more exclusive clientele. The number of pieces and the preciousness of the sparkling, seemingly copper infused glass elevates this body of work beyond the functional. Fuin’s Avventurina collection makes an artistic statement about traditional technique and the unimaginable beauty possible only at the hand of a true maestro.