Through their Ultra-Baroque polycultural work, Einar and Jamex De La Torre tackle topics of identity and contemporary consumerism. Influences range from religious iconography to German expressionism while also paying homage to Mexican vernacular arts and pre-Columbian art. They don’t consider themselves glass artists per se, but treat glass as one component in their three-dimensional collages, one that interacts with a multitude of chosen – not found – objects. Einar recalls their mother’s fondness for puns as a likely source for the brothers’ own interest in multiple layers of understanding.
Collaborating since the 1990s, the De La Torres were born in Guadalajara, México, in 1963 and 1960. They moved to the United States in 1972, transitioning from a traditional catholic school to a small California beach Town. Both attended California State University at Long Beach. Jamex earned a BFA in Sculpture in 1983, while Einar decided against the utility of an art degree. Currently the brothers live and work on both sides of the border, The Guadalupe Valley in Baja California, México, and San Diego, California. The complexities of the immigrant experience and contradicting bicultural identities, as well as their current life and practice on both sides of border, inform their narrative and aesthetics.
Gussie Fauntleroy wrote in the July 2009 issue of American Craft: “Similarly, in their art the brothers intentionally disregard conventional borders between dichotomous pairs such as high and low art and sacred and profane, and between deluxe objects and the detritus of everyday life. Virtually every assemblage and installation incorporates blown glass or cast-resin elements in sumptuous colors that shimmer, juxtaposed with an array of … objects, including plastic toys, snack food wrappers and old tires.”
The De La Torres have been honored with The USA Artists Fellowship award, The Louis Comfort Tiffany Award, The Joan Mitchell Foundation Award, and The San Diego Art Prize. They have had 18 solo museum exhibitions, completed eight major public art projects and participated in four biennales. Their work can be found in the permanent collections of Corning Museum of Glass, Corning, New York; Museum of American Glass, Millville, New Jersey; The Kanazu Museum, Kanazu, Japan; Frauenau Glass Museum, Frauenau, Bavaria, Germany; GlazenHuis Museum, Lommel, Belgium; and the Museum of Glass, Tacoma, Washington, to name a few. Private collectors include Alice Walton, Cheech Marin, Elton John, Irwin Jacobs, Terry McMillan, Sandra Cisneros and Quincy Troupe.
Guest instructors at Penland, UrbanGlass, the Pittsburgh Glass Center and Pilchuck, the De La Torre brothers have shared their multifaceted knowledge of glass technique including blowing, bit work and flameworking with students worldwide. In the last 15 years they have been creating photomural installations using Lenticular printing as a major part of their repertoire.
“If ever there were a case where materials and their masterful use provide a perfect match—and metaphor—for an artist’s concepts and themes, it’s in the art of Jamex and Einar de la Torre,” wrote Fontleroy. “How better to convey the rich complexity and alchemic intermingling of border cultures than through mixed media creations as multilayered, thought-provoking and engaging as the cultures themselves?”
Using optical crystal, Karsten Oaks cold works sculpture that bends light and color via its unique forms. Often a discernible object appears from a momentary perspective creating a vision that allows the viewer to connect on a more personal level with the piece. This mystery inspires a deeply personal relationship between viewer and object and sets Oaks’ work apart from that of his coldworking contemporaries.
He says: “When working on the design within the piece I’m using elements of dynamic symmetry such as spirals and ratios. Using different shapes in the sculpture while staying consistent with the proportions I can create a sense of harmony within what would otherwise be a disorganized form. Even after all of the major reductive cuts have been made, I leave some of the design to be laid out when the rest of the piece is almost complete. I feel that this mild sense of chaos through the work’s creation gives each piece its personality and character when it is finished.”
Born and raised in the suburbs of Minneapolis, Oaks took an interest in the arts at an early age. He started playing music when he was 10 years old and went on to play a variety of instruments. As the son of a trained chef, Oaks grew up learning an appreciation of working with his hands in a creative way and enjoys cooking to this day. When he was 16, a friend introduced Oaks to glassblowing as a medium, and he traveled to Tennessee to take his first classes. This sparked the beginning of Oaks’ love of glass as a means to express his artistic vision.
Now one of the most respected and trusted cold workers in the glass sculpture world, Oaks received his BFA at The Appalachian Center for Craft at Tennessee Technical University under the mentorship of Curtiss Brock. There Oaks realized that the necessity of working quickly with glassblowing or hot sculpting did not give him the creative time needed to fully think through his sculptures. After graduating, the artist relocated to Seattle, surrounding himself with leading artists in the field of glass. His first cold working client was Martin Blank, who convinced Oaks that he should open a cold working studio to offer his services to other artists while continuing to formalize what would eventually be his own body of work.
Oaks was cold working for a list of respected artists when he met Lino Tagliapietra and was selected as the only artist to cold work and finish the maestro’s sculptures made in the US. This steady supply of work allowed Oaks to finally open his own studio, and as time permitted, develop his own artistic vision. In September 2014, Bender Gallery, Asheville, North Carolina, began to represent his work at the gallery as well as SOFA Expo Chicago, Art Palm Beach and Wheaton GlassWeekend with great response.
Lucy Lyon: Every Gesture Tells a Story
In these pandemic days of limiting contact with others and contemplating the dangers of simply being with another person in a shared space, Lucy Lyon’s ambiguous figurative works take on new meaning. Using a stunning combination of technical prowess and a sculptor’s eye, the artist transforms cast glass into atmospheric settings whose characters’ stories, stances, and placement are open to viewer interpretation. Whether solitary or in groups, the figures reflect their state of mind through gesture.
Lyon says: “Even though we are all meeting up with each other and interacting in twos or threes or crowds, each of us is essentially alone. That brings up a bit of melancholy, but it also makes the individual unique and therefore very important.”
An only child, Lyon was artistically inspired at a young age by perusing her mother’s art books that depicted works by Edgar Degas, Francisco Goya and Thomas Hart Benton. Later, in her early twenties, the artist became aware of Edward Hopper’s work. Though Hopper’s were painted and Lyon’s are cast in glass, their figures convey a shared sense of being alone, isolated, even in the company of other figures, reflecting that people have private thoughts in public places.
Born in 1947 in Colorado Springs, Colorado, Lyon graduated in 1971 from Antioch College, Yellow Springs, Ohio, earning a BA in philosophy. Further educated at Pilchuck Glass School, Stanwood, Washington, she has taken a number of workshops across the country from well-known glass artists. Working with glass since 1979, for the past 26 years the artist has been creating breathtaking tableaus from her Jaconita, New Mexico, studio.
Lyon’s work is included in the permanent collections of numerous museums including Imagine Museum, St. Petersburg, Florida; Ringling Museum, Sarasota, Florida; Henry Ford Museum, Dearborn, Michigan; and the Bergstrom-Mahler Museum of Glass, Neenah, Wisconsin. Public commissions include the Sandy Hook Memorial; Night Read for Glencoe Public Library, Glencoe, Illinois; and Waiting Room for Western New Mexico University, Silver City, New Mexico. Recent exhibitions include Divergent Materiality, at Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, Scottsdale, Arizona, and Narratives in Glass, held at Palm Springs Art Museum, Palm Springs, California. Lyon is represented by Habatat Galleries and Lewallen Galleries, Santa Fe, New Mexico.
As with many artists, the seductive quality of glass, along with its ability to be sculpted, attracted Lyon to her medium. In much of her work characters read in libraries, places where one can be in a private and public space simultaneously. Settings or environments have been pared down over the years to simple geometric forms. Walls present opportunities to explore color and blending. For Lyon, the greatest challenge and satisfaction is born of sculpting her figures using subtle gesture - a turn of the head or twist of the hips- to express the figure’s state of mind. The refined figure is the cornerstone of Lyon’s sculpture.
Jon Kuhn: A Matrix for Eternity
Inspired by metaphysical studies and a couple of out of body experiences, Jon Kuhn developed an aesthetic language for expressing the architecture and light of the non-physical world. Though his life as an artist began in ceramics, interest in spiritual studies influenced the artist’s move to glass. Because similar to mediation where we go inside ourselves, glass can hold information and light within.
Regarded as one of the leading glass artists in the world, Kuhn has work in over 45 international museums including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Carnegie Museum, the White House Permanent Collection, National Museum of American Art and hundreds of private residences and public spaces. In 2006, the artist was presented with an Honorary Doctorate for Life Achievements from his alma matter Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas.
Born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, and the son of a political science professor, Kuhn briefly attended Shimer College, then moved on to Washburn where he received his BFA in 1972. Although still uncertain about pursuing a career as an artist, he had learned a great deal about the vocabulary and processes of art and pursued these ideals via ceramics at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, receiving his MFA in 1978.
Interested in metaphysical studies from a young age, Kuhn read his first book on Zen Buddhism at age 12. In college he studied the I Ching or "Book of Changes" - an ancient Chinese divination manual and a book of wisdom which interprets hexagrams formed by tossed coins to form answers to questions about the future. The I Ching is a cornerstone of Chinese philosophy, describing the basic elements of the way to enlightenment (happiness, inner healing, holiness, in God living). He also read many works written by Edgar Cayce, who founded The Association for Research and Enlightenment in 1931 to research and explore subjects such as holistic health, ancient mysteries, personal spirituality, dreams and dream interpretation, intuition, philosophy and reincarnation.
Early explorations in glass revealed themselves in blown, irregularly shaped globes with crusty exteriors. Kuhn cleaved off slices of the raw-looking exterior to reveal the sparkling glass within,
providing us with a window onto our inner selves. But it was his personal involvement in a meditation group on healing that led him to express the qualities of light and architecture only experienced in the non-physical world. Through his sculpture so readily recognized today, the artist began to convey an interior life or central drama with a powerful pull on our imaginations.
After moving to Winston-Salem, North Carolina, in 1985 Kuhn began focusing on his signature processes - cutting, grinding, polishing and laminating - which put him on the map and has delivered consistent acclaim ever since. At last, expressions of the light and architecture of the spiritual realm could be reflected in his cubes, columns and monumental works meticulously crafted in the purest glass fabricated on earth. If light is life, Kuhn’s sculpture is the stage on which the possibilities of this world and others can be pondered.
Of cold glass artists, Kuhn’s work stands out for its complexity, its geometric forms and above all, for its presence, which conveys a spiritual quality. Kuhn says, “The goal of spirituality is perfection. Striving for perfection has never been more evident than in what I do. Perhaps my glass sculpture could become an architectural model of a vision for a better world.”
Born into a working-class family in the industrial town of Lancashire, England, Simon Howard designs and fabricates traditional stained glass through meticulous craftsmanship and sensitivity to architectural surrounds. In demand as a skilled glass painter and restorer for other studios, the artist endeavors to create new contemporary commissions for domestic, private or public spaces.
Some of Howard’s notable works include his Beddoes Window, a commemoration of an 18th-century physician and his tragic Romantic poet son, full of playful symbolism; his Laura Ashley Windows, a full suite of windows for a remodeled Arts & Craft home (previously owned by Laura Ashley); the artist’s Talog series, created for clients who gave Howard creative free reign in their beautiful traditional Welsh farmhouse; Whitland Circles & Milo Stripes, his personal favorites; and his commission for Oldham Royal Hospital, a 3 metre tall panel in the hospital’s mortuary chapel.
Howard’s history reads like great novel. He writes: “Oldham was one of the powerhouses of the industrial revolution, a cotton spinning town with incredible pockets of wealth, beautiful civic buildings, rows upon rows of worker’s houses that supplied the brick mill with labor and a skyline full of tall chimneys pumping out smoke. My family were mill workers for generations and these ‘dark, satanic mills’ (as William Blake called them) and the rows of blackened Victorian terraced houses formed the background to our family stories.
By the time I came along in 1970 the region was well into a crippling decline, and my parents had a series of disparate jobs passing each other on the stairs to our ‘60s maisonette as they swapped shifts in working and looking after me and my older brother and sister. My mum was a seamstress and a district nurse and my dad began work in a large glass supplier. My very early memories of visiting my dad at work are of huge A-frames of green-edged slabs of polished plate and of feeling proud that this was my dad’s arena. He’d be there, in darkened leather wrist guards, calloused fingers in plasters. I’d watch him effortlessly pick up these enormous sheets and carry them to his cutting bench and watch him making quick pencil notes on his list of sizes, working out what he could get from the sheet with minimum waste. T-square, the sing of the cutter, and the snap…all with speed and confidence…and the swift clatter of the thin strips of waste shattering in the cullet. I never had any ambition to work there, but I loved the magic of it.
The funny thing about my dad, and I still wonder now where the impulse came from, was his love of art, the art of the old masters and the Modernists. He was a Grammar school boy, so his education was good, and he was a lifelong reader, later a merchant seaman, but I can’t think where his love of art sprung from. I mention this as it’s because of him that I became an artist; as a young kid I would spend hours looking through his art books, and it became apparent early on in school that I could not only draw, but that art was where my curiosity lay. I tell people now that I never really wanted to be anything else (apart from a rock star in my teens. But don’t we all?). From 5 or 6 I knew that was part of my identity and what I was going to become. My parents were always very supportive. I heard other kids speak of their parents’ resistance to them studying art, but mine were right behind me even when they didn’t have a clue what it was I was making.
Through school I was a painfully shy kid. My family and I moved town just before starting secondary school so I arrived without friends; I do wonder whether that had a huge influence on me. But I became well-known through my ability to draw. I was bullied early on at school (I’d eventually dress quite outlandishly, which the other boys hated me for because the girls liked it!), but I’d draw on demand in order to not get beaten up. Like a lot of kids, art and music were everything to me (it’s still pretty much the case).
I went on to Art School in London, the Byam Shaw School of Art, a wonderful independent school (founded by John Byam Shaw, one of the Arts & Crafts/Pre-Raphaelite group), where I went on to make minimal installation based work, which often used the body (my body) and its relationship to its environment as a way to examine metaphorical space, the gaps in language/communication, thresholds, the in-betweens, the space where one thing becomes another. I’m still very proud of the work I did then and would happily still show it now. My intention was to stay in London and try to make my way as an artist but in reality, I think I’d realized that I wasn’t a natural networker and didn’t have the confidence in fighting for funding or for the spotlight.
I left and spent a year or so volunteering for art galleries back up north until I was offered work with my brother who had spent the previous 10/15 years working with my dad. Mark had left school, began work as a glass cutter, but had decided to set up a decorative glass business within my dad’s place. It was a real family business, my sister ran the office, and on the shop-floor were a few cousins. Also, a natural artist, his talent rose to the surface and needed an outlet. He spent these years learning new skills, researching any technique he could find in mainly American books and magazines to broaden his knowledge. He became the only person we knew back then who was creatively sandblasting, engraving, deep reverse-carving, glue-chipping, kiln-forming, fusing, casting, painting, and enamelling. He became well- known for it across the north west, until he eventually began making traditional stained glass.
Whilst I was still at art school, I’d spend my holidays working with Mark where I’d learn all these techniques from him. He’d exploit my time there by giving me larger projects that he saw needed my artistic input, and I’d watch the panels get made up by him and the guys that worked for him. I’d go on to start making my own pieces, but even then I really only saw it as work, a chance to earn some money before heading back down to London.
The next few years, I really was at a loose end. My long-term girlfriend had gone to teach English in Japan and life had seemingly hit a wall. I took the money I’d been saving whilst working with Mark and went travelling. I spend around 18 months going around the globe, across America, Australasia, South East Asia, India. I had the best time and felt some changes. But, back home I fell back into working with Mark; by this time my dad’s company had been hit by recession and closed, my dad had swallowed his pride and had gone back to glass cutting for a company he’d left, and Mark had set up his own place. I worked there for a few years, still thinking that it was only a stop-gap for me until I figured out what it was I wanted to do. I started really delving deep into the international architectural glass books that Mark was buying (they were as rare as hen’s teeth) and realizing that there was something for me here (remember, this was pre-internet days, knowledge of what was happening creatively elsewhere was still found in traditional sources….it also helped that Brian Clarke was an Oldham born artist and his largest piece, in the world at the time, had just been installed in Oldham’s newly built shopping center). I still didn’t really know if architectural glass fitted me yet, but it was a huge step up from what I’d understood the discipline to be.
I spent a long time thinking about the separate polarities of art and craft and their overlaps until I reached a point where I felt comfortable setting aside the kind of art I’d previously made and seeing that glass craft had a value and could also be enquiring and expanding. Mark emigrated to Melbourne, Australia, around this time, and I had a few months to consider whether I would take over his business and continue on my own. Eventually I decided to and spent a couple of years slowly shedding what was previously Mark’s and pushing forward what was mine. I needed to do this. I needed to know if the decision was right, if I really could spend the foreseeable future as a glass craftsman and not an artist.
One thing I found necessary was to streamline the business; my time was being taken up with commissions that involved processes I had no love for. I realized that I could make interesting, contemporary work using just traditional stained glass techniques. It was all in the design. I slowly started guiding the small commissions I was getting into the kind of work that satisfied me. I began being more constructively critical of, not only other’s work, but of my own, until I started getting a portfolio of work together that I was reasonably comfortable with. It was still early days, but I saw potential and felt the discipline begin to take ahold of me, get into my veins and become part of my everyday consciousness. I started looking at images produced by other artists, not only stained glass, but printmakers and textile artists and wondering if I could do something similar with glass. I was consciously pushing what I saw as possible, trying to make what I hadn’t seen elsewhere. Looking back on some of those early pieces I’m still surprised by the odd unexpected detail or the ambition in such a small, unimportant piece.
Around this time, I met my wife and we started a family. Helen is from rural Wales, a first-language Welsh-speaker, and it felt natural that we would decide to relocate to her home town to bring up the boys. Llandeilo is a beautiful place, an old, hill-top market town that has a surprising wealth of creative folk below its surface. We moved here around 14 years ago and, after previously occupying huge studio spaces, I now work from a small garden workshop. The major change from the work I did up north is due to the almost total absence of traditional period glass locally. When we first moved I was horrified. Much of my work up north had been in restoring and repairing period pieces, and here, there wasn’t that kind of showy decoration, even the chapels were plain glazed. As it turned out though, in hindsight, due to the explosion of social media, I began to get more and more small, interesting commissions from clients who didn’t have an automatic association with the period work I was doing up north.
My current practice is an ongoing search for what interests me visually and technically. I’m a bit of a purist and, despite my experience and knowledge of a wide range of practices I like now to only use mainly mouthblown antique glass, lead and vitreous paints. I acid-etch flashed glasses, I don’t use enamels. If I need to I plate glass, I don’t use laminates or glues. It’s a personal choice; I like the restrictions that the traditional practices give me.
My work tends to flip between apparently simple abstract, pattern-based pieces where any reference to subject is restricted or absent, and playful, painterly, heavily stylized naturalism. It depends on the commission. I was told in art school that my art practice didn’t seem to have a recognizable fingerprint; I would be using whatever was needed in order to make suggestions and connections within each piece. I sometimes wonder if my work is still the same; one can often recognize a fellow maker’s work. They have a particular style. I’m not sure whether I do. I’ve been told otherwise, but I still don’t know what that fingerprint is. Again, it’s down to the commission. It took me a while to feel comfortable with commission-based work, comfortable with the inevitable compromises that are made when meeting the client halfway with a design. But I’m getting better at dealing with it now. I think having a body of work behind you gives the client trust in you if you feel compelled to push a piece in a certain direction.”
As a queer person of mixed race, Corey Pemberton often feels other. Knowing nothing about his African roots and very little about his European heritage, the artist considers lineage and the idea of connectedness in his glass art, paintings, and other works on paper. Pemberton’s vessels, blown glass baskets based on those of his presumed ancestors, are made in a European style that borrows forms and patterns from the sweetgrass weavers of South Africa. He says: “I use color and pattern as vehicles to describe situations where society has used a person’s uniqueness against them; where people have been labeled or categorized based on physical characteristics in an effort to hold them back. Can we, as a society, find a way to unite in our otherness?”
Born in Reston, Virginia, in 1990, Pemberton received his BFA from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2012. After graduating and relocating to Augusta, Missouri, he worked as a production glassblower under Sam Stang and Kaeko Maehata. Subsequent travel through Norway and Denmark exposed the young artist to both country’s rich design history as he worked with fellow glass artists. Upon return to the US, Pemberton participated in a Core Fellowship at Penland School of Craft, Bakersville, North Carolina.
Currently residing in Los Angeles, Pemberton splits time between production glassblowing, his painting practice, and Crafting the Future (CTF), an organization he co-founded with furniture artist Annie Evelyn in early 2019. CTF partners with organizations across the country such as Louisiana’s Young Aspirations/Young Artists, known as YAYA; Kentucky’s STEAM Exchange; North Carolina’s Penland School of Craft; and Maine’s Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, with the goal of increasing access to education and opportunity for underrepresented artists in order to help them develop thriving careers. In 2019, CTF raised more than $8,000 to send two young New Orleans students, Tyrik Conaler and Shanti Broom, to Penland School of Craft.
Despite the challenges of COVID-19, a growing number of artists have banded together to fundraise for student scholarships. The CTF membership page went live in February 2020, and in the next three months culled around 50 members and $2,000. Following the killing of George Floyd and several other innocent African Americans, and the ensuing protests that raised awareness of racial injustice, membership increased to more than 1,200 by late May. Over the next few months, CTF raised over $175,000 for scholarships and other programming, though more is needed to affect lasting change.
If you’re interested in joining or donating to Crafting the Future, visit:
Striving to bring together people of all backgrounds and identities, Pemberton breaks down stereotypes and builds bridges, not only through his work with CTF, but in his personal artistic practice. In the artist’s recent solo show creature, comfort at the Contemporary Art Museum (CAM) of Raleigh, North Carolina, painting, photography, and hand-blown glass came together to create visual environments that depicted subjects in both real and imagined homes. Pemberton’s goal was and is to make his subjects relatable and intriguing, so that viewers consider those subjects fully and are able to see themselves in the work.
Join Corey Pemberton next spring at the Chrysler Museum of Art’s Perry Glass Studio for a lecture and free demonstrations during the 2021 Visiting Artist Series. Next summer, the artist is scheduled to teach at Pilchuck and in the fall at Penland with Cedric Mitchell.
On the morning of September 8, a dry brush field north of Ashland, Oregon, caught fire along Almeda Drive. The National Weather Service called for a red-flag wind warning that day, predicting gusts upward of 50 mph, which was bad news for Oregon fire officials. The state was already battling more than 10 other major fire incidents, exhausting state resources. Strong winds from the east pushed the fire north, parallel to Interstate 5, resulting in the complete destruction of the towns of Talent and Phoenix, Oregon.
Before it stopped, the Almeda fire burned more than 3,200 acres, destroyed 3,000 structures, including one of Fire District 5’s three firehouses, and killed 3 people. It stopped south of Medford, a city of 82,000 residents, when the winds eventually shifted. Police said the Almeda fire had two points of origin, the first in Ashland and one later in Phoenix. Michael Jarrod Bakkela, 41, has been charged with starting one of the fires.
Artist studios destroyed by the fire include DoJo Glass Studio, Phoenix, including glassblowers Big Country, Jay (birddog) Harrower, Amani Summerday, Mia Shae Williams and Doug (Taco) Williams. Other glass community members affected by the Almeda fire include artists Ron Regan, Adam Kissinger, Bernie Rodriguez, Jenay Elder and Gabe Arafai; glass collectors Shawn Thompson and Benjamin. Two dispensarys burned to the ground, and those employees are also being helped by the Southern Oregon Glass Community Relief fund, to which over 350 people have donated so far.
On September 13, birddogart posted on his Instagram:
As most of you have already heard or seen, several miles of our beautiful little Rogue Valley in Southern Oregon burned down on September 8th due to a catastrophic wildfire. Over 3000 homes burned, countless businesses burned to the ground, and many lost everything. Our shop was one of the businesses lost that day. As with any disaster, many have risen to support those affected. We have local efforts as well as the national support of the glass and cannabis industries, which has been phenomenal. I know there has been some confusion as to which GoFundMe is which and who gets what help. None of us has ever been through loss like this before, and there is no handbook, so we’ve done our best, and we are supporting each other as well.
The support and love from this community has been overwhelming. There is a team of us making sure that the disbursement of funds is equitable, and that people have their needs met. My vision is that we will be made whole very soon because you all rock, and then we can be pillars in our community and help those who don’t have access to the amount of amazing people and resources that we do. We will get through this together, and I can’t express enough how much you all have meant to us during this trying time, whether it be shops, collectors, or other artists. Thank you so much!
In this conversation, Lacey St. George Walton, aka LaceFace, discusses the fire and its effects on her local glass and cannabis communities. Talking Out Your Glass podcast and all of its sponsors, along with Mountain Glass and Lampwork Supply, have made donations to Southern Oregon Glass Community Relief (SOGCR). Click on the link below to donate now!! Follow @LaceFaceglass on Instagram for the latest on the recovery.
Celebrated for her innovative, colorful blown glass and flameworked Amulet Baskets, Laura Donefer is also known for artwork that pushes boundaries by exploring memory, assault, bereavement, joy and madness. The artist has been using glass as the primary medium in her work for over 38 years, all while teaching, producing unforgettable glass fashions shows and promoting the glass arts worldwide.
Born in Ithaca, New York, but raised in rural Quebec, Donefer studied sculpture for a year in 1973 at the National Art School of Cubanacan in Havana. Back in Canada, in 1975 she graduated with honors in Literature and Languages from Dawson College and in 1979 with honors from McGill University, both located in Montreal, Quebec. After traveling the world and working with many interesting people, Donefer trained as a glass artist at Sheridan College, Ontario, graduating in 1985.
A tireless promoter, Donefer lectured extensively on Canadian contemporary glass in Canada, the United States, Mexico and Australia, including the Canadian Embassy in Washington D.C.; the Tucson Museum of Art, Tucson, Arizona; the University of Honolulu, Honolulu, Hawaii; and during AUSGLASS in Sydney, Australia. She curated a number of exhibitions in the United States to showcase Canadian work. In 1985, as president of the Glass Art Association of Canada (GAAC), Donefer was instrumental in uniting glass artists across Canada by publishing a quarterly magazine, The Glass Gazette, which developed into the major voice of Canadian glass artists. In 2006, GAAC awarded Donefer its first Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of her tireless efforts in the advancement of art glass in Canada.
By conducting countless workshops worldwide, Donefer has influenced students from Red Deer College, Alberta, to Penland School of Crafts, Bakersfield, North Carolina, to the Sonoran School, Tucson, Arizona; and beyond in Japan and Australia. She served on the staff in the glass department at Sheridan College and was permanent faculty at Espace Verre, Montreal, for over 18 years, helping to mold the school with her dynamic classes. She continues to teach regularly at the Corning Museum of Glass, Corning, New York, and at the Pilchuck Glass School, Stanwood, Washington, where she has served on the International Council for 17 years.
Since the mid-1980s, Donefer’s work has been exhibited in many solo and group exhibitions, including shows at the Hokkaido Museum of Modern Art in Japan; the Art Gallery of Western Australia; the Hammelev Arts and Culture Centre in Denmark; the Agnes Etherington Art Centre in Kingston; the Museo del Vidrio in Mexico; and the Museum of Modern Art in Shanghai, China. Her sculpture is included in many public and private collections, including the Corning Museum of Glass; the Tacoma Museum of Glass, Tacoma, Washington; the Museum of Art and Design, Manhattan; Imagine Museum, St. Petersburg, Florida; Ringling Museum, Sarasota, Florida; Barry Art Museum, Norfolk, Virginia; Henry Ford Museum, Dearborn, Michigan; and the Toledo Museum of Art, Toledo, Ohio. She is currently represented by Habatat Gallery and Sandra Ainsley Gallery.
A past board member of the Glass Art Society (GAS), in 2008 the organization presented Donefer with its prestigious Honorary Membership Award. Donefer has produced 15 of her unforgettable glass fashion shows, many for the organization. In 2018, her ground-breaking event included 33 glass costumes in 12 gondolas gliding through the canals in Murano, Italy. Her next glass fashion show is slated for GAS 2022. Donefer has also been awarded The Lifetime Achievement Award from Craft Ontario; the International Flameworking Award for “extraordinary contributions to the glass art world”; and the Art Alliance for Contemporary Glass award for her role in the glass community.
On hiatus due to the Covid 19 pandemic, Donefer spends her days near Harrowsmith, Ontario, with her amazing husband “The Mighty Dave” and her dachshund Mr. Lance. She has become a mushroom detective, searching for and photographing these living sculptures and their unique forms and colors while exploring a new body of Covid Anxiety paintings. Donefer’s collaboration with glassblower extraordinaire Jeff Mack is currently on view in a ground-breaking exhibition curated by Tina Oldknow and Bill Warmus, Venice and American Studio Glass, at Le Stanze del Vetro Museum in Venice.
Public art projects present many technical and aesthetic challenges including, first and foremost, how the artist conveys her concept to a broad swath of the general public. When considering the Multnomah County Central Courthouse in Portland, Oregon, Lynn Basa took on the challenge of translating the principles of hope for users of the new building.
She says: “The American justice system is ultimately based on hope – hope that if you do something wrong and get caught, that you’ll get a fair trial; hope that if you go to trial you won’t get convicted; hope that if you get convicted, you’ll get a light sentence. Judges hope that they will be fair and impartial. Underpinning all of this is the hope for rehabilitation, to re-enter society, to lead a productive life.”
The Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC) selected Basa to create a 25’ x 71’ glass artwork for the lobby of the new 17-story Multnomah County Central Courthouse. Designed by SRG Partnership / CGL Ricci Greene, the new courthouse is located at Southwest First Avenue and Madison Street. The artist chose Bullseye Studio to fabricate her 1,775-square-foot work – a series of 120 5′ tall x 3′ wide panels composed entirely of kilnformed glass. The panels required more than 200 firings and three years to complete.
Basa’s design for the two-story artwork—viewable from the lobby, the second and third stories of the building, and from the building’s exterior—was inspired by conversations with the project’s Artist Selection Panel, courthouse judges and employees, as well as formerly incarcerated community members. The focus of the artwork is a landscape that reflects the rippling passage of behavior, through redemption and rehabilitation, that is sought in the community justice process.
Basa says: “The composition reads from left to right. It starts out hot and in turmoil then becomes cooler and calmer. The crime and the criminal run hot. The job of the justice system is to treat that heat with cool rationality, to calm the waters. On another level, the artwork is a landscape. Living in the Pacific Northwest means living with the constant awareness that you’re on top of a volcanic chain, contrasted by being surrounded by water. The Wilmette River runs next to the courthouse and, of course, Portland’s famously rainy climate.”
Throughout the country, Basa has completed numerous public art commissions in mosaic, glass, steel, terrazzo, and light. In her studio, she paints with an ancient medium called encaustic that is a mix of beeswax and oil pigment. She is the founder of the Milwaukee Avenue Alliance, a community organization dedicated to the equitable cultural and economic reawakening of three blocks of the vintage, working-class main street where her storefront studio is located. With an undergraduate degree in ceramics from Indiana University, the artist earned her MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) and an MPA in public art policy from the University of Washington. Basa’s book called The Artist’s Guide to Public Art: How to Find and Win Commissions, is based on a class she developed and taught at SAIC.
In order to create effects similar to those of encaustic painting, her primary medium, Basa elected to use glass for the Multnomah County Courthouse project. Bullseye Studio developed a process for translating between the mediums, then executed the work in colored crushed glass on canvases of opalescent white glass. She chose to work with Bullseye Studio to translate her imagery from encaustic to glass based on the success of her prior work with Bullseye’s team creating mosaic columns for TriMet’s Orange Line stations.
Funded by Multnomah County Percent for Art and managed by the Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC), Bullseye Studio worked closely with SRG, RACC, Multnomah County, Hoffman Construction, and the engineering firm KPFF to realize this massive project. Installation of the artwork was performed by Artech.
In a time of darkness, Julie Conway relies upon her studio practice for survival, but also as a means of sharing sparkle, beauty and light with the rest of the world. A glass artist and lighting designer, she founded Illuminata Art Glass Design LLC to offer bespoke, luxurious custom lighting designed to amplify molten glass and its abilities to refract and reflect light. Named in homage to the Italian Renaissance thinkers and artists who expanded public consciousness, Illuminata currently offers a new version of enlightenment for the masses.
Says Conway: “We are dealing with grief, emotions, change, and finding life routines. There have been some solitary days in the studio. I put my time into some deep designing and launching new content on my new readymade website. My team and I have returned to blowing glass in limited capacity with a few extra juggling steps, but I am so happy to be back producing glass and installing new commissions. For me, it has been so important to have my studio practice. Getting lost in creative projects has now become a mode of survival. I feel that we must continue to find things that inspire us. The only way through is through. Feel the light. It is here for us.”
A passionate collaborator, Conway works closely with architects, designers and clients to create extraordinary hand-made, illuminated glassworks. She conceives all site-specific original designs and executes their fabrication in the hotshop with her team. Crafting the suspension systems, creating the blueprints for armatures, and integrating the technical electrical components are all part of her process. By communicating and coordinating with teams of electricians, installers, architects, designers and clients, her artistic vision is achieved. Merging concepts of art installation with functional design, spaces are transformed by light.
She says: “Light is fascination, attraction, a beacon, it is life. Light travels for eons before our existence. We see it after the millennia have past and the fleeting moment is gone.”
Beginning in 1997 in Santa Fe, New Mexico, Conway took her first steps on the pathway to glass working as an apprentice for three and a half years alongside a glass production artist. From 2003 to 2011, she served as a class organizer, teaching assistant and Italian translator for various glassmaking classes on the island of Murano. Subsequently, she spent years teaching glassblowing and flameworking herself at Public Glass, San Francisco, and Pratt Fine Arts, Seattle. In addition to lighting, Conway creates glass jewelry, small sculpture and Christmas ornaments from her workspace within Seattle’s Equinox Studio, a nexus of collaboration where artists often contribute to each other’s projects and have renter equity in a collection of industrial buildings.
Recent awards include Conway’s selection as the 2017/ 2018 Visiting Artist for Motif Seattle, a hotel that blends its identity to the vision of an area artist on a rotating basis. In 2018, the artist participated in LuxLumen, an art glass lighting exhibition for Berengo Studio and Gallery, shown during the Venice Biennale in Murano. Her work FracTur(ed), exhibited at Glasstastic, the Bellevue Arts Museum Glass Biennial exhibition, won the global lighting award from Light in Theory. In 2019, she designed, created and installed chandeliers at SeaTac Airport and Din Tai Fung in Seattle.
In 2007, Conway founded BioGlass, a non-profit organization dedicated to increasing the efficiency of glass studios and glass making practices, and disseminating the latest information on the best practices to lower energy usage in glass studios. On a recent trip to Mexico, the artist began a collaboration project for her new LUMI Collection, making products from recycled glass and using a biofuels furnace with zero carbon footprint.
Conway’s work evolved outside of the gallery scene due to the functionality of glass lighting. Instead, her illuminated installations adorn luxury hotels, bars, restaurants, award-winning homes and museum exhibitions. The Illuminata collection is an intentional juxtaposition of elegant blown glass forms and industrial elements surrounding patterns of light and shadow unique to Conway’s artistic expression, merging concepts of art installation with functional design. The result is the transformation of space via light.
The 1950s and ‘60s marked the heyday of kinetic sculpture with Alexander Calder’s mobiles and Jean Tinguely’s junk machine that destroyed itself in the sculpture garden of the Museum of Modern Art. But to glass lovers, Bandhu Dunham put himself on the same map with his 2016 Rube Goldberg-esque Escape Room created for Arizona State University as a reflection of how sports could evolve 24 years into the future.
Dunham says: “Nature inspires me, the interplays between art and science always interest me, and glass merges these fields like no other material. After many years, fanciful steam engines and other kinetic sculptures represent a full turn of the circle, back to the colorful, magical mysteries that captivated my childhood self. He’s still in there, and he wants you to come play, too. I think that people like watching kinetic gizmos with gears and pulleys and crankshafts because, in a paradoxical way, these machines re-connect us with nature.”
Born in Dayton, Ohio, in 1959, Dunham began to teach himself lampwork technique in 1975 while still in high school. As an undergraduate at Princeton, he received informal training from the University’s glassblower before completing his apprenticeship under American and European masters at Urban Glass, the Pilchuck Glass School and the Penland School of Crafts. The artist regularly teaches workshops at craft schools and private studios around the United States and internationally including the Studio of the Corning Museum of Glass, The Penland School of Crafts and the Pilchuck Glass School. A visiting foreign instructor at Osaka University of Arts in Osaka, Japan, Dunham has presented his work at numerous international conferences including The Glass Art Society, Ausglass, The International Festival of Glass, Kobe Lampwork Festa and Glassymposium Lauscha.
An internationally respected glass artist, author and teacher, Bandhu’s work can be found in the permanent collections of numerous museums in the US and abroad, and his Contemporary Lampworking books are the authoritative, standard instructional texts in the field. In addition to fabricating one-of-a-kind glass sculptures and goblets, Dunham supervises his apprentices in creating unusual gift items and decorations of his conception from his studio, Salusa Glassworks, Prescott, Arizona. In 2018, he designed a groundbreaking kinetic sculpture fabricated by Ryan Murray, GANESHA (Guard Against Negativity; Express Sane Healing Attitudes), for The Melting Point Gallery, Sedona, Arizona.
He says: “The effect on the viewer is a playful mix of contemplative fascination with bursts of excitement as the marbles make their way up and down the track. I enjoy seeing how much viewers of all ages and backgrounds are engaged by the simple drama of marbles circulating through a kinetic system. The key elements of art-as-experience are brought to life in this complex yet simple theatre. We are reminded of life’s magic when we allow ourselves to be captivated by the colorful story unfolding before us. In the best case, the world looks a little different after we have spent some time watching one of my machines.”
Dunham has established a Patreon page to support the creation and dissemination of his informative, inspiring and amusing videos about glass art.
Exploring themes of birth, death, animal-human relationships and parallel worlds suggests that Christina Bothwell is a magical realist. Her work conjures scenes from fables or children’s stories in which something impossible is happening quite naturally and spontaneously.
Bothwell says: “Since I was very young, I have been fascinated with the concept of the Soul… the idea that the physical body represents only a small part of our beingness. I am always interested in trying to express that we are more than just our bodies, and my ongoing spiritual interests and pursuits have run parallel to the narrative in my pieces.”
Bothwell studied painting at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia before teaching herself how to work with ceramics and cast glass. The artist lived and worked in Manhattan until 1994 when she and husband, artist Robert Bender, relocated to rural Pennsylvania – along with their three young children, eight pets, plus a snake named Lucy. Nature, the main source of inspiration for her work, helps Bothwell maintain an awareness of the interconnectedness that exists among all of life.
By the late 1990s, Bothwell was having some success making doll-like figures out of clay, found objects and cloth. But a perceived “disturbing quality” sometimes made the work a tough sell. A 1999 glassmaking workshop at the Corning Museum of Glass provided the breakthrough she needed. Realizing glass could do all the same things as clay but with an added element of delicacy and lightness, Bothwell has been combining the two materials ever since – a pairing that has become her aesthetic signature.
Since those early days, Bothwell has won numerous scholarships and grants including a Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant and a Virginia A. Groot Foundation award for excellence in sculpture. Additional awards and honors include the 2018 Artist of the Future Award for Most Compassionate Artist, Imagine Museum, Saint Petersburg, FL; The Haven Foundation grant, Brewer, ME; and the Craft Emergency Relief Foundation grant, Montpelier, VT, to offset damages and loss of artwork caused by a devastating studio fire Bothwell and Bender suffered in August 2018.
Bothwell’s work is held in permanent public collections such as the Corning Museum of Glass, Corning, NY; Racine Art Museum, Racine, WI; Shanghai Museum of Glass Art, Shanghai, China; Mobile Museum of Art, Mobile, AL; Palm Springs Museum, Palm Springs, CA and the Alexander Tutsek – Stiftung foundation, Munich, Germany. She is represented by Heller Gallery, NY; Habatat Gallery, Royal Oak, MI; and Austin Art Projects, Palm Desert, CA.
With an exhibition at Heller Gallery scheduled in February 2021, Bothwell contemplates new work. “My subject matter includes babies, animals, and children as they embody the essence of vulnerability that is the underlying theme in my work. Currently I am exploring metamorphosis as a topic, and have been incorporating figures within figures in my pieces. Within each glass figure there is a smaller figure seen through the surface of the glass. I think of these pieces as souls, each being pregnant with their own potential, giving birth to new, improved versions of themselves.”
In this special AMA (Ask Me Anything) episode of Talking Out Your Glass podcast, patron and co-producer Anthony Cowan participates in interviewing one of his favorite glass artists, Bothwell, as a reward for his support of the podcast via Patreon. If you’re interested in supporting the continued documentation of glass and glass artists while earning extra episodes and other rewards, visit
Creating under the pseudonym 2-Stroke since 2013, Christopher McElroy constructs one-of-a-kind pipes and rigs adorned with his colorful, psychedelic, textile-inspired patterning technique known as Heliocoileh. His current body of work includes polychromatic water pipes, dry pipes, cups, marbles, and beads, created with the philosophy that the ornamentation of daily objects serves to elevate an experience from mundane to mystical.
McElroy earned his BFA from Virginia Commonwealth University and his MFA from The University of Washington, where he studied under Mark Zirpel. His early glass mentors Emilio Santini, Sally Prasch and Rick Schneider encouraged him to forge his own path from the very start of his relationship with the medium. His sculptural and functional works have been exhibited at The Henry Arts Gallery (Seattle, Washington), Anderson Gallery (Richmond, Virginia), Traver Gallery (Seattle, Washington), Missoula Art Museum (Missoula, Montana), Dampkring Gallery (Amsterdam) and Pismo Fine Art Gallery (Aspen, Colorado).
Teaching has played an important part of McElroy’s history with glass and includes flameworking instruction at Kyoto University of Art and Design in Japan, Penland School of Crafts, the Corning Museum of Glass, Pilchuck Glass School, Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, and the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design in Israel.
Growing up in Southwest Virginia’s scenic rolling hills and farmlands shaped McElroy’s affinity for agrarian and wilderness landscapes. Informed by color relationships in plants, animals, lichen, and minerals, the artist studies and examines how colors convey information of biological purpose. Lessons of age, nutrition, fertility, and danger are communicated among entities that speak the language of color.
Informed by avant-garde contemporary fashion, ceremonial objects of pre-columbian South American cultures, and textiles from around the world, the artist cites artistic influences to include Robert Irwin, El Anatsui, Kelsey Brooks, & Tom Sachs. Color, collection, and craft have always been and remain at the core of his studio practice.
In early June 2020, the artist exhibited new work in a four-person show, A Time for Passion, held at Stoked, Connecticut, and will be a part of Mins, a group pipe show held in Minneapolis, Minnesota, October 16, 2020.
From his studio in Hudson, New York, McElroy discusses the transition from sculpture to pipes, and how art school training affects his approach to functional glass.
More than a decade ago, Tanya Veit was a bartender living and working in Chicago, Illinois. While on vacation in Florida, a psychic predicted she would one day own an arts related business. Back home in the Windy City, Veit attended a glass exhibition with her husband John, after which she immediately applied for a business license, knowing that her company would one day dedicate itself to glass art.
The Veits established AAE Glass in Cape Coral, Florida, along with John’s brother, Mark Veit. Their 22,000-square-foot facility is a Bullseye Resource Center and distributor and also offers two classrooms, a retail store, cold working shop and shipping warehouse for their large e-commerce business. Some of AAE Glass’ offerings include products and equipment from Coatings By Sandberg, Olympic Kilns, Gemini Saw Company and many popular fusing supplies. Classes are offered almost daily by world-renowned glass fusing instructors from the U.S. and by international fused glass artists 10 to 15 times a year.
At an early age Veit was inspired by her grandmother, who provided pastels and chalks from the art supply store where she worked. Since that time, the artist has explored myriad mediums including PMC, art clay, wood, metal and glass. Constantly experimenting with new techniques, Veit has redefined what is possible in fused glass jewelry. A self-taught artist, her work has been published in many periodicals.
An energetic and “spicy” instructor, Veit developed a unique talent for assisting others in tapping into their own creativity to further their craft. Her students lovingly refer to her inspiring classes as “The Tanya Show.” The artist has travelled the US and Europe extensively, teaching her signature techniques and has expanded those offerings into highly anticipated online video tutorials.
AAE Glass currently offers more than 50 online tutorials by fusing experts worldwide. Two recent videos include Veit’s Creating Depth & Drama in Fused Glass Jewelry, which has become her most popular online offering to date. She says: “Being able to review instruction at your leisure in your studio is priceless. Referring back and watching repeatedly will also spark something new. Life gets in the way, so being able to have that resource when you need it is invaluable.” Look for Veit’s new release, Scenic Layering and Color Blending in Jewelry in the fall along with Kiln Casting by Nathan Sandberg.
Investigating a range of issues from equity and privilege to materiality and labor, Nathan Watson’s artwork addresses complex social issues through a combination of monochromatic glass and compelling form. After directing San Francisco State University’s small glass program for five years, the artist, designer, and educator became Executive Director of Public Glass, the city’s only public access glass making facility. As the director of an arts non-profit and in his life as an artist, Watson’s current practice continues to move intuitively between community building and art making as a way to examine and imagine how we might offer each other the same attention and regard as we do the object.
A Kentucky native, Watson received a BA in history from Centre College in Danville, Kentucky, where he also began investigating glass as a way to transform storied narratives into a visual medium. Before pursuing his graduate studies at California College of Arts in 2004, Watson received grants and awards from the Rhode Island Foundation and the Rhode Island Council for the Arts for his work concerning local crafts, identity, and immigration. Often formed by constructed architectural interventions and poetic imagery, Watson’s work in glass has been the subject of exhibitions at the Noma Gallery and Refusalon in San Francisco, POST in Los Angeles, and numerous surveys of contemporary artists using glass as an element in their practices.
Watson has lectured and taught nationally as a visiting artist at the Massachusetts College of Art, Centre College in Kentucky, UC Fullerton, San Francisco State University, and at conferences addressing issues surrounding arts education, youth programming and social justice. As a curator, he has contributed to exhibitions at Southern Exposure, Google, The Reclaimed Room at Building Resources, and directs the gallery and artist in residence programs at Public Glass.
In 2012, Watson co-founded Light A Spark, a glass-focused arts program that provides rare opportunities and resources for youth in the underserved communities of San Francisco. He’s also a member of an artist collective called Related Tactics, which brings together artists and cultural workers to collaborate on projects that deal with the intersection of race and culture.
Days before the most recent issue of GASnews was set to publish, the organization received a letter from Watson and published it in its entirety.
Watson wrote: “In this moment when all communities must ask, how did we get here, I think that it’s a meaningful statement in itself to say that I am one of two African Americans leading nonprofit glass organizations, and one of three helping to guide University glass programs in the entire United States. After sitting back and watching our glass community respond to the lynching of brown people and observing the social media-based processing of our complicity through inaction and a pervasive lack of inclusion, I’ve decided to put my heartache aside to share what it feels like from my perspective. With all of the wealth, privilege, and supposed progressive elements within our arts community, how could we let ourselves fall so far behind when it comes to supporting equity and opening doors for everyone?
Even when compared to the lack of representation across the art world as a whole, the glass community looks really bad. No words, propping up of black faces, or sudden unburying of works by black artists will solve this. We were wrong all along to be content amongst ourselves, content to peddle in shiny things with little connection to the realities of the world that is burning our eyes open now. We as artists, who are tasked with interpreting our collective condition, did not do our jobs, and the industry that supports us did not do theirs. The glass galleries did not look toward and support our futures, and our institutions looked to the past and the same sources for self-congratulation again and again until last week.
In the last few days my projects, my body, and the images of my black and brown colleagues have become all too popular in the social media posts of the many glass companies and organizations around the country who are trying to make a statement about how “woke” they are. If you use our bodies in your catalogues, in your posts, and in your applications for larger grants, YOU are responsible for helping to create a way forward for the many who have not been offered a seat at your table.
The leading nonprofit glass organizations from coast to coast who have been working on issues of access and diversity, lifting new voices, and supporting emerging artists for years with little to no contribution from our industry’s biggest donors and institutions have joined together to create the Give to Glass Campaign. We’ve united due to the devastating financial impacts of COVID-19 on our programs and studios, but also because our own glass community has never fully appreciated the value of what we’ve been working for all along. In this moment when everyone has
something to say about social justice, I ask….Do you see us now?!
If you as an individual or an institution have made a declaration about where you stand, then it’s your moral obligation to support change in our glass community. Words raise awareness, but contributions provide the resources for REAL CHANGE! Donate to Give to Glass, to Crafting the Future, or to any organization that is versed in fighting for those whose lives are compromised and voices muted, and for God’s sake, please VOTE!
If there is no action behind your statements, then please stop using our names, our black bodies, those of our youth, and the objects made from our alienation and pain, and step aside to let us build our own house.”
Talking Out Your Glass podcast and all of our sponsors have made donations to Give to Glass.
Give to Glass is a fundraising campaign created by and for Glass Impact, a nationwide coalition of nonprofit, community-focused glass organizations who are dedicated to equal access and uplifting diverse voices and ideas through glass. Each of the member studios is supported primarily through public programming, making the economic fallout of COVID-19 and social distancing particularly devastating.
By supporting Glass Impact through the Give to Glass Campaign, you are making a statement:
A diverse and accessible glass community is the best way that we can move the industry forward, and we cannot afford to allow COVID-19 to eliminate the studios that are fighting for inclusivity.
Glass Impact is:
Firebird Community Arts | Chicago, IL | @firebirdcommunityarts
Foci- Minnesota Center for Glass Art | Minneapolis, MN | @focimcga
GlassRoots | Newark, NJ | @GlassRootsinc
Hilltop Artists | Tacoma, WA | @hilltopartists
North Carolina Glass Center | Asheville, NC | @NCGlassCenter
Public Glass | San Francisco, CA | @PublicGlass
STARworks Glass | Star, NC | @STARworksglass
UrbanGlass | Brooklyn, NY | @UrbanGlass_nyc
Early exploration of flameworking and its applications play out in Elliott Todd’s diverse body of work that ranges from functional glass pipes to glass drawings to breakthrough video presentations on Instagram, such as the 2019 demonstration of musical instruments made at his torch. For his BFA show at Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Todd aka et_glass, drew Buckminster Fuller’s Dymaxion Map using glass rods and his torch.
Todd says: “I make work based off of repeated geometric patterns. These patterns are often made up of many little parts. Eventually I can assemble it all to make a much larger piece than the individual components could ever be. When you put the earth on a 2D scale, it distorts the sizes and the relationship of the continents. What I like so much about the Dymaxion Map is it uses geometry to make a more fair map of the world. And it creates this really interesting perspective where we’re all connected instead of all being separated by our different continents.”
A native of Boone, North Carolina, Todd visited Penland School of Crafts as a boy with his father and attended community open house events. As a teenager, he started making flameworked beads at home with a simple gas torch and rods of glass. Upon graduation from high school and unsure of his direction, the young artist attended Penland classes beginning with a hot glass intensive taught by Ed Schmid and followed by further glass studies taught by Dave Naito and Scott Benefield. More recently, he attended a workshop with one of his favorite torch artists, Micah Evans, and served as teaching assistant for Carmen Lozar.
After earning his BFA from Tyler in 2016, Todd returned to his hometown and established a studio where he designs and creates a line of functional glass combining reticello in contemporary forms, networked and framed pieces that are sold through Gallery 42 and direct to galleries. In 2020, he was looking forward to serving as teaching assistant at Penland and having his first solo exhibition in four years in Asheville, both events cancelled because of Covid. However, thanks to his presence on Instagram, et_glass is coordinating on a project with a glassblower from Kuwait who is the lead artist at the first school for glass in the Gulf region, Yadawi. He’s also recently donated proceeds from the sale of some beautiful Sherlocks and bubble sculptures to Crafting the Future.
Through constant experimentation, et_glass blends non- functional forms with the objects he loves to use and turns mistakes into great pieces just by being open to the idea.
A process that involves creating a model, pouring a mould, and carefully applying very thin layers of powdered glass within that mould, pâte de verre has historically been associated with the matt/frosted, translucent vessel forms of Lalique and Daum. Enter Alicia Lomné, who has not simply redefined the techniques, but pioneered the acceptance of radical new non-traditional forms created with paste of glass. Her glorious plant/ underwater creature hybrids are a wonder to behold with their rounded bellies, spikey spines, and stunning color gradations and values.
Born on the island of Corsica, France, to two working artists, Lomné was exposed to life as a maker from the beginning. Her mother, well-known glass artist KéKé Cribbs, introduced her to the glass community at large and gifted her with the Pilchuck workshop where she fell in love with glass casting. Lomné studied the techniques under the tutelage of Clifford Rainey, Daniel Clayman, Jeanne Ferraro, and at The California College of Arts and Crafts.
Having recently relocated from Whidbey Island to Tacoma, Washington, Lomné has spent the last 21 years exploring and developing her own unique style of pâte de verre. She has exhibited her work nationally and participated in shows at The Kentucky Museum of Art and Design, The Museum of American Glass, Figgie Art Museum, National Liberty Museum, Bergstrom-Mahler Museum, and The Muskegon Museum of Art.
For the last 17 years, Lomné has invested more of her time in teaching, enthusiastically sharing her knowledge of pâte de verre with others at Pilchuck Glass School, Penland School of Crafts, The Corning Musuem of Glass, Bullseye Glass resource centers across the country, as well as in Denmark, Switzerland, Australia, England, and Germany. Though she never thought of herself as an educator, sharing knowledge has resulted in a genuine love and an enthusiasm for teaching which she describes as one of best experiences of her life. One of a few artists who have inspired a resurgence in pâte de verre, Lomné has also released four educational videos, the first with Bullseye Glass Co. and three others with AAE Glass. https://www.aaeglass.com/video-tutorial-exploring-pate-de-verre-w-alicia-lomne-1.html?noforce=1
Currently on a self-imposed hiatus, Lomné takes a much-needed break from teaching, traveling, and juggling many jobs. She says: “I need a reboot. Time to explore and expand my own techniques, time to rethink how to function as an artist in this world, time to build a new website and diversify myself.” Future goals include creating a line of greeting cards and fleshing out book ideas. In 2020, Lomné’s work will be featured in a new book about pâte de verre by Max Stewart and Tone Ørvik. And of course, explorations of new work to push the technical and aesthetic limits of pâte de verre continue.
“The pieces I made in the Alluvial series, which I will still be working on now, are about the flow of water, sedimentary layers, a reflection and recording of time. So much of what I do is wrapped up in my process. There is a love and calm in the making that I find nowhere else in my life. Each line laid is a loving meditation and a small record of my time past. Time is, I believe, the only thing we really have in life.”
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Silvia Levenson brings the black humor of the survivor into the domestic arena with a wit that tempers what might at first glance be shrugged off as simple, more caustic feminism. Hers is a tango danced by twin outsiders of the Venetian glass community: female artist/ kilcast glass. And to further insult the traditionalists, she concocts her iconoclastic cakes with American glass. – Lani McGregor, director, The Bullseye Connection.
Razor blades embedded in wedding cakes. Knives hanging precariously above recliners. Shoes pierced with nails. Empty chairs. Silvia Levenson does not claim her work is universal, but rather an intimate reflection of her own feelings about childhood, domesticity, travel and exile. Though she lives and works in Italy, her work cannot be defined by the usual Italian glass parameters. There’s nothing shiny or exclusively beautiful about her cast glass; rather, it is raw, emotional and unforgettable.
Levenson is a survivor, a descendant of Russian Jewish fugitives from the 1904 Revolution, herself an exile from Argentine repression. From 1976 to 1984, during the dictatorship of General Jorge Rafael Videla, 30,000 people known as “desaparecidos” disappeared in Argentina, including members of Levenson’s own family. People who were identified as terrorists were abducted or murdered outright in their homes or safe houses, at their jobs or high schools. When one of Levenson’s cousins and her aunt were killed, she emigrated to Italy with her husband and two children, Natalia and Emilano. She was only 23 years old at the time.
Coming to art as a painter and graphic artist, in 1987 Levenson read Glass Fusing I and discovered that artists were able to work in glass independently. At this time, she also attended Bertil Vallien’s exhibition of stunning new work in cast glass and was again surprised by the potential of the medium. This attraction and excitement led to her early glass studies at Creative Glass, Switzerland, and Sars Poteries, France. She says: “I was fascinated, not only with the beauty of glass but with the fact that glass is a material used in our daily lives. I do not believe the more complex the material, the better the result. I think that a good piece begins with a good idea. I don’t like virtuosity in art. I love feelings, pathos, intuitions. Being a slave to technique is boring.”
In 1995, Levenson served an artist residency at Bullseye Glass Co., where she created work for her first U.S. exhibition Il Viaggio: Selected Works, held at Bullseye Gallery. In 2004, when she was awarded the Rakow Commission from the Corning Museum of Glass (CMOG) for her work It’s Raining Knives, the first congratulatory e-mail was from McGregor. Her relationship with the company, which is both personal and professional, continues today.
Through iconic objects such as tea pots and wedding cakes, pink hand grenades and empty chairs, Levenson’s work reflects the fragility and vulnerability of humankind. The sculptures symbolize myriad painful truths including the inability of parents to protect children and the repetition of parents’ mistakes by their offspring. One might believe collectors would shy away from such intense or painful content to focus on the decorative quality of glass, on its beauty. But, when Levenson created her Little Bad Girl dresses made in glass and barbed wire, she sold them all. Levenson explains: “If you look at what is happening in a contemporary art context, my work doesn’t look so aggressive.”
Though the Covid 19 pandemic altered Levenson’s teaching and exhibition schedule, the artist currently offers online workshops, including a sold-out class for Warm Glass UK, and future class for Bullseye in August 2020. She is scheduled to teach August 3 – 8, 2020 at CMOG, https://www.cmog.org/class/shifting-boundaries. Check the websites for updates. The artist is also providing one-on-one online tutoring. Find out more at www.silvialevenson.com.
Fall 2020 exhibitions include Punto sull’arte Gallery, Varese, Italy, September 29 and Argentinean Embassy, Rome, October 29, with Levenson’s daughter, Natalia Saurin. Post pandemic, Levenson will install new work at the Art Applied Museum at Sforzesco Castle, Milan. A travelling exhibition, Missing Identity, addresses her experiences as a survivor of Argentina’s Dirty War. The show has been exhibited at the American University Museum in Washington DC, the Argentine Consulate in Barcelona, the Galerie Argentine in Paris, the Murano Glass Museum in Italy and Bullseye Projects, Portland, Oregon. Recovered Identity, Levenson’s 130-piece collection of glass baby clothes, was acquired in 2018 by the Alexander Tutsek Fondation in Germany. The work will be exhibited some time in 2021.
Ellen Mandelbaum creates environments in stained glass that inspire connection between the viewer and the serenity of the spiritual world. Painting with light not only allowed her to transcend art glass limitations, but offered a broader concept for expanding artistic vision in the medium.
After receiving her MFA in painting in 1963 from Indiana University, Mandelbaum worked for several years as a painter, educator and lecturer before developing an interest in stained glass. In 1975, her studies in leaded glass began in earnest at the now defunct Stained Glass School in North Adamas, Massachusetts. By the mid 1980s, Mandelbaum had studied in workshops with such well-known masters as Ludwig Schaffrath, Johannes Schreiter, Jochem Poengsen, Albinas Elskus, Ray King and Ed Carpenter.
Having learned the basic skills of leaded glass, Mandelbaum found herself wanting more fluid motion and softness in her work. The pathway to breaking free of rigid lead line confines was to paint on the glass, techniques she learned from Elskus, who encouraged her to paint in a more personal way. Becoming a member of the Glass Painting Society, founded by John Nussbaum, introduced her to other glass painters with new ideas and approaches, and pushed the artist to further explore free expression using glass paints.
From the beginning, Mandelbaum’s primary interest was the architectural use of stained glass, though throughout her career she designed and exhibited exquisite autonomous pieces, such as Martinique. She says: “I sat on the edge of a dock, plein air painting like Monet. This piece was painted from life with special glass paint and glass I’d brought from Queens, New York, wrapped in newspaper and nestled in the clothes in my suitcase. Miraculously it made it home unbroken where I could fire it in the traditional way – in my kiln at 1200 degrees.” Bold, often geometric designs appeared in concert with expressive free-hand use of paints, stain or enamels. Mandelbaum made use of clear and light tints to enable what was beyond the stained glass to play a role in her designs. Her aesthetic signature, painted elements interacted with what was occurring in the view beyond.
Exhibited internationally, Mandelbaum’s autonomous panels have been featured in several one-person exhibitions at the Queens College Art Center in Flushing, New York, and in a couple of one-person shows at Gallery35 in Manhattan. A member of the Women’s International Glass Workshop since its inception, in 2016 the artist participated in the group show La Grange Aux Verrieres- Lumiere Visible, in Saint-Hilaire-en-Lignieres, France.
Mandelbaum is internationally recognized for her innovative stained glass commissions including installations for the Queens College Art Center, the Marian Woods Retirement Facility in Hartsdale, New York, and a 30-foot high window for the South Carolina Aquarium, Charleston, South Carolina. Liturgical projects include: Temple Beth Shalom, Annapolis, Maryland, 2014; Kol Shalom Synagogue, Rockville, Maryland, 2012; and Adath Jeshurun Synagogue, Minnetonka, Minnesota, for which she was presented with the 1997 American Institute of Architects (AIA) Religious Art Award.
In 2014, Mandelbaum was accredited as an Artist/Designer by the Stained Glass Association of America (SGAA). Two years later, she was appointed Senior Advisor for the American Glass Guild. Other awards include the Ahavas Sholom Honorable Mention Award for Design Excellence, Newark, New Jersey, 2014, and the Williamsburg Art & Historical Society’s 16th Anniversary Grand Harvest Award for Excellence, 2012.
In 2019, Mandelbaum received the SGAA’s Lifetime Achievement Award for Education. Her teaching experiences include the instruction of glass painting at the SGAA Stained Glass School, Raytown, Missouri; and in New York at Hunter College, Pace University, and the Whitney Museum of American Art. In 2020, the artist will teach long weekend workshops at her Long Island City Studio. A class including Bruce Buchanan, this year’s James Whitney Scholarship recipient, was rescheduled, hopefully for September 4, 5, 6. Check her website, ellenmandelbaum.com for the latest updates.
In capturing the transcendent moments between silence, introspection and self-discovery, Sibylle Peretti seeks to find and depict places of mystery and wonder as launching spots in a journey towards the infinite. Ethereal imagery and haunting subtexts flow freely from porcelain sculpture and mixed media panels, which incorporate multiple layers of paper, oil paint, and watercolor on either side of Plexiglas. Through these techniques the artist creates a darkly romantic mix of fairytale and tension. Her skillful combination of engraving, photography, painting, and glass casting exposes exquisitely subtle environments we wish to enter in spite of some uneasiness.
Heller Gallery, New York City, has recently extended Peretti’s current online solo exhibition, Backwater, through June 13, 2020. The show features nine major new works – five wall pieces and four cast sculptures, as well as an installation of Glass Notes, an ongoing collaboration between Peretti and her husband, artist Stephen Paul Day.
Peretti says: “One aspect of my work reflects on our disrupted relation to nature and our yearning to achieve a unity with the natural world. Backwater describes places that are isolated and constantly changing. Living in New Orleans just footsteps away from the Mississippi river, I explore almost daily the ever-changing alluvial land with its magical backwaters.”
Anchoring Backwater is Tchefuncte, Peretti’s large 48-panel wall piece (60 x 80 inches), which combines photography and drawing with surface interventions such as engraving, mirroring and glass slumping. It is based on a photograph she took along the riverbanks of the Tchefuncte river north of New Orleans, an area that was populated by the Tchefuncte culture as early as 500 BCE, and which derives its name from the Choctaw word for a dwarf chestnut, a plant used as medicine by the first people who inhabited this area. Peretti calls it a “temporal place that is likely to soon vanish due to flooding and human expansion,” but the composition suggests a portal, “a waterway that is open to the viewer’s imagination. When you look at the landscape, you also see your own reflection in the mirrored parts of the glass, and you become a part of the journey.”
Peretti received her MFA in Sculpture and Painting from the Academy of Fine Arts in Cologne, Germany, after first studying glassmaking and design at the State School of Glass in Zwiesel, Germany. In the past year her work was added to the collections of the Toledo Museum of Art, Toledo, OH; the newly established Barry Art Museum in Norfolk, VA; and most recently to the Huntsville Museum of Art in Huntsville, AL. Her work can be found in the permanent collections of the New Orleans Museum of Art, New Orleans, LA; the Corning Museum of Glass, Corning, NY; the Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, PA; the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Canada; the Museum of Applied Arts, Frankfurt, Germany; the Hunter Museum, Chattanooga TN; and the Speed Museum and 21c Museum, both in Louisville, KY.
Awards and endorsements include grants from the Pollock-Krasner Foundation and the Joan Mitchell Foundation, as well as the 2013 United States Artist Fellowship. In 2018 Peretti’s work was featured in a solo exhibition Promise and Perception: The Enchanted Landscapes of Sibylle Peretti, at the Chrysler Museum of Art in Norfolk, VA.
Exploring the relationship between time, loss, emotion, memory and solitude, Peretti’s multimedia collages and sculptures provide a place into which her protagonists- the people and animals that inhabit her work – retreat. Impactful and unforgettable, the work balances the nostalgia of impending loss with the profound fortitude of understanding ourselves… and the world.
In October 2020, during her residency at the Corning Museum of Glass, Peretti will work on a new project inspired by the Werner Herzog movie Heart of Glass. She will explore ideas of the historic importance of making Gold Ruby, and how it can be seen as a metaphor for a collapsing world.
The Corning Museum of Glass (CMOG) is temporarily closed to limit the spread of COVID-19. All previously scheduled classes, events, and programs are cancelled until further notice. However, the Museum has compiled a list of 10 Ways to Digitally Experience Glass, found here (https://visit.cmog.org/resources).
Susie Silbert, Curator of Modern and Contemporary Glass at CMOG, discusses the enjoyment of taking a virtual museum tour, the fun of the Color Our Collections program, ways to discover what was hot in glass every year since 1979 by reviewing New Glass Review online, and the benefits for artists, collectors, galleries and glass lovers of remaining engaged with glass during these uncertain times by exploring CMOG’s virtual collection.
Glass is all around us, working hard to enrich our lives. It’s so easy to look through glass, but we rarely pause to look at it. CMOG’s new live chat series, Connected by Glass, features experts and special guests who share their insights into a range of topics, allowing us to discover all the unexpected ways that we are connected by glass. Join CMOG at 1 p.m. EDT each Thursday on MS Teams as topics including glass used in science and innovation, entertainment, fashion, industry, design, and travel are discussed. Ask speakers questions via the chat feature. Each Connected by Glass episode will be uploaded to CMOG’s YouTube channel.
Eric Goldschmidt, CMOG’s Properties of Glass Supervisor, will host the first episode of Connected by Glass. Airing May 7 at 1 p.m., the live chat will focus on fiber optics, a vital technology that’s enabling us all to stay connected during the COVID-19 pandemic. CMOG’s panel of experts includes: Dr. Marvin Bolt: Curator of Science & Technology, CMOG; Dr. Claudio Mazzali: Senior Vice President Technology, Optical Communications at Corning Incorporated; and Chris Schmidt: Executive Producer, PBS NOVA. They will discuss the topic and answer questions from the virtual audience.
Lastly, Eric Meek, CMOG’s Manager of Hot Glass Programs, will discuss the Museum’s Watch with the Artist series, launching on its YouTube channel: https://www.cmog.org/press-release/corning-museum-glass-launches-online-watch-artist-series.
Based on past demos from the Guest Artist program, the Watch with the Artist series gives viewers a new way to engage live with talented artists as they watch previously recorded demos together. Each Wednesday at 1 p.m. EDT, a featured artist will be active on the Museum’s YouTube channel, ready to chat, answer questions, and share stories with viewers about all things glassmaking. Guests so far have included William Gudenrath, Catherine Labonte’, Eusheen Goines, Kristina Logan and Jeff Mack.
The Museum’s YouTube channel, which has 144K subscribers, is currently seeing more than 50,000 visitors per day and the average watch time has been 1 hour and 17 minutes. To access the Watch with the Artist series and many more pre-recorded glassmaking demonstrations, visit YouTube.com/corningmuseumofglass.
Says Meek: “During this unprecedented moment when we may be physically distant, the Museum is proud to offer a new way for art lovers and artists to be socially together. It’s fascinating to watch an artist create, but it’s rare to actually interact with them while they’re working. The Watch with the Artist series allows direct conversations between artists and fans as everyone watches the process unfold together.”
A glassmaker himself, Meek runs the Guest Artist program and was the featured artist during a soft launch of the Watch with the Artist series on April 1. “It was great fun,” Meek continued. “It was refreshing for all involved to spend two hours chatting about a material we all love. During a time when I physically can’t be in the Museum’s hot shop creating new work, this is the next best thing.”
Meek also discusses CMOG’s new blog series, “Virtual Journeys into our Collection,” and his inaugural post: https://blog.cmog.org/2020/04/07/virtual-journeys-into-our-collection-thoughts-from-a-glassmaker/ This feature comes out every Tuesday, and staff members from across the institution share interesting stories about their favorite objects.
For comfort and solace, the Museum also released a 3+-hour white noise “virtual fireplace” video that features in-progress pieces inside the reheating furnace! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5g1i9FSZYWU
Pushing the boundaries beyond form and function, Janusz Pozniak’s blown glass abstractly reflects his personal experiences while distilling human emotion. Works in decorative, functional, figurative or abstract glass reflect the highest level of hot glass expertise. Whether colorful or achromatic, a Pozniak sculpture is always delicate, detailed and striking.
In 1986, Pozniak earned his BA in 3D Design from West Surrey College of Art and Design in the UK. He subsequently went to work for Christopher Williams and Annette Meech at The Glasshouse in Covent Garden, London. Driven by his passion for pursuing a creative career, the artist moved to the US in 1991 to work alongside Dale Chihuly. This opportunity allowed him to expand his knowledge, talent, and substantial glassblowing skill.
Throughout his career, Pozniak has worked with the most prominent glass artists in the world including Lino Tagliapietra, Sonja Blomdahl, Josiah McElheny, Dick Marquis, Benjamin Moore and Preston Singletary. He’s been working alongside Dante Marioni since 1992. In addition, Pozniak has travelled all over the globe to teach and mentor others, providing students with the skills, inspiration and encouragement to fulfill their own artistic visions.
After more than 30 years as an artist, Pozniak is still discovering new ways of experimenting and evolving his work to elevate and communicate the unique beauty of glass as an artistic medium. In 2019, he became one of 10 highly skilled glassmakers from North America to appear in the Netflix competition series, Blown Away. On the show, glassblowers had a limited time to fabricate beautiful works of art that were assessed by a panel of expert judges. One artist was eliminated in each 30-minute episode until a winner was announced in the 10th and final episode. Pozniak, an instant show favorite for anyone who knows glassblowing, quickly grew in popularity amongst neophytes, the result of his impressive command of glass and on-screen magnetism.
Riding the wave of fame which resulted from his appearance on the show, Pozniak and wife Michelle funded a successful Kickstarter campaign to launch [Hohm-meyd], a home goods company that utilizes a network of local makers to produce functional wares they design.
Says Pozniak: “Driven by our core values of community, sustainability, and ethics, each product will be made with care and integrity. Simultaneously we hope to train and mentor local artisans. Between the two of us, we have 50 years of making and selling work as artists. We also know that purchasing a piece of fine art is too expensive for many people. Given our combined experience, our community of other artisans and craftspeople and our growing family, there is no time like the present for us to pursue this shared dream.”
William Warmus and Tim Tate: Founders of 21st Century Glass – Conversations and Images/ Glass Secessionism Facebook Group
Glass Secessionism does not mark the death of Studio Glass. It makes it stronger…In many ways, Glass Secessionism is putting glass back on the path it should have followed. It encourages those areas of glass that had progressed over time and builds heavily upon them. It reveres those artists who advance the medium, taking chances with new directions. In other words, we are not destroying the past, we are constructing a future.
An exchange on a tour bus between artist and art historian inspired the formation of 21st Century Glass – Conversations and Images/ Glass Secessionism. This Facebook group, founded and moderated by Tim Tate and William Warmus, underscores and celebrates glass sculptural art in the 21st century and illustrates the differences and strengths compared to late 20th-century, technique-driven glass.
Warmus is a Fellow and former curator at The Corning Museum of Glass (CMoG). The son of a glassblower at Corning Incorporated, he studied with art critic Harold Rosenberg and philosopher Paul Ricoeur while at the University of Chicago. As curator of modern glass at CMoG in 1978, Warmus curated three landmark exhibitions: New Glass, which was also shown at The Metropolitan Museum of Art and at the Louvre; Tiffany’s Tiffany, which focused on the masterpieces Tiffany had in his home and studios; and the first major exhibition in North America of Emile Gallé’s work. He is the founding editor of New Glass Review and has served as editor of Glass Quarterly Magazine, faculty member and visiting artist at the Pilchuck School of Glass, executive secretary of the Glass Art Society, and board member at UrbanGlass. The recipient of the Art Alliance for Contemporary Glass award for outstanding contributions to contemporary glass, Warmus lives near Ithaca, New York.
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. His involvement at Penland School of Craft 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.
Modeled after Alfred Stieglitz and the redefinition of photography by Photo Secessionists, Glass Secessionism is similar in that both mediums were born of science and industry, and both had similar paths of evolution as a result. Photography and glass art emerged from the lab or factory with inherent technical barriers, and genius was required to make something from the materials. Thus, early pioneers had a vested interest in keeping secrets and making adaptation by other artists difficult.
“We respect good technique, and understand its importance in creating great art from glass. However, we believe that great art should be driven primarily by artistic vision, and technique should facilitate the vision. For too long, technique has driven the majority of Studio Glass. As Secessionists we do not seek to isolate ourselves from other artists working in glass, but to enhance the field as a whole,” says Warmus.
Another motivation for Glass Secessionism, fine art galleries were not showing enough 21 century glass, and glass galleries were not showing emerging glass sculptors. Tate and Warmus believe, “Only by seceding would we succeed.” A primary drive of their Facebook group is to attract and support younger artists working with glass.
In this conversation, Tate and Warmus discuss their Facebook group, how Studio Glass will move forward in the 21stcentury, and how glass artists and galleries can survive the effects of the current Covid 19 global pandemic.
For many years, Cathryn Shilling has been fascinated by kinesics or the study of body language by which humans subconsciously transmit and receive non-verbal communication. These physical expressions may reveal our true feelings by signaling the difference between what we say and what we mean. Body posture and the position of a person in relation to others is an important indicator of feelings, attitudes and moods.
Shilling’s most recent body of work, Cloaked, further explores the relationship between fabric and the human form. “Clothing conveys so many things. Not only does it provide protection against the elements, it also broadcasts our position and identity within society, as well as reflects our mood and emotional state.” Shilling’s sculpture investigates these themes as well as the numerous associated misconceptions and judgments we are all guilty of making.
An internationally renowned glass artist living and working in London, Shilling began her career as a graphic designer, graduating from Central School of Art and Design in London, and working as a designer until her family’s move to the US in 2001. Prompted to pursue a new and exciting creative direction, the artist studied the art and craft of stained glass in Connecticut. Upon her return to London in 2004, she switched her focus to kiln formed glass and also became a student of blown glass at Peter Layton’s London Glassblowing Studio. In 2009 she established a studio near her home, and the following year became curator at London Glassblowing.
Shilling’s work has been collected and widely exhibited internationally, including: Ireland Glass Biennale 2019 at Dublin Castle; The 3rd Session of China·Hejian Craft Glass Design & Creation Exhibition and Competition, Ming Shangde Glass Museum, Cangzhou City, Hebei Province, China, 2019; TACTILE at Glazenhuis, Lommel, Belgium; New Acquisitions, 2017 at Glasmuseum Lette, Coesfield, Germany; Peter Bremers & Cathryn Shilling: A Two Person Exhibition at Schiepers Gallery in Belgium; The CGS Jubileum 20th Anniversary Exhibition at Etienne Gallery, Oisterwijk, Netherlands; The Taos Art Glass Invitational New Mexico, USA; BODYTALK at the Glasmuseet, Ebletoft, Denmark; COLLECT at the Saatchi Gallery with London Glassblowing and Vessel Gallery; East-West Artists Exhibitions in Kyoto, Japan and London; Hot Glass at Contemporary Applied Arts, London; Collective Genius at Vessel Gallery, London.
Exhibitions also include the British Glass Biennale in 2010, 2012, 2015, 2017, when her collaboration with Anthony Scala won the Craft & Design Award, and 2019. Shilling has twice exhibited as a finalist in the Emerge juried kiln glass exhibition at Bullseye Projects, Portland, Oregon. In 2013, the artist took home the international Warm Glass Artists Prize and has twice been nominated for the SUWA Garasuno-Sato Glass Prize and several times for the Arts & Crafts Design Award. In 2015 she was ranked number 4 in the Glassation list of “The Most Game Changing Female Glass Artists” and number 25 in the Graphic Design Hub’s list of “The 30 Most Amazing Glass Artists Alive Today.” The artist’s work was represented in the Corning Museum of Glass’ New Glass Review 33, and in 2018 she was Artist in Residence at North Lands Creative, Lybster, Scotland.
In 2019, Shilling celebrated 10 years of professional practice with a solo show, Hidden Gestures, at Vessel Gallery, London. Her piece Diorama – Moonlight was recently acquired for the Imagine Museum in St. Petersburg, Florida, by Habatat Galleries Detroit. “I am absolutely thrilled to be part of this amazing collection.” Her work, The Intangibility of Sorrow, can be seen in the Contemporary Glass Society’s latest online exhibition, Reverie.
Like so many artists, Shilling’s forward momentum was halted abruptly by the Corona Virus pandemic. Many of her scheduled exhibitions and events, such as giving a talk and exhibiting at the Art Workers’ Guild during London Craft Week, will be rescheduled for the fall. Some, like her demo with glassblower Louis Thompson at the 2020 Glass Art Society Conference in Smaland, Sweden, have been cancelled altogether.
“It is rather depressing because just about everything has been cancelled or postponed. I had been looking forward to glass exhibitions taking me and my work to Sweden, Venice and New York as well as speaking at the Contemporary Glass Society Conference in Wales. All these plans have had to be shelved. However, this is all pretty insignificant when you look at the bigger picture. I am lucky enough to be able to keep making, and this gives me enormous satisfaction. I am also finding it good to have the time now to really think about my practice and try out some of the ideas that I haven’t been able to explore with so many deadlines looming. I am hopeful that 2021 will be as fabulous for me as 2020 was going to be!”
Please check all venues for the latest updates.
Sculpture at Kingham Lodge, May 8 – 17, Kingham, Oxfordshire
Sculpture at Doddington Hall & Gardens, July 25 – September 6, Doddington, Lincolnshire
The Devil’s In The Detail, a two-person show with Anthony Scala, October 23 – November 7, London Glassblowing, London
Glass Is Biotiful, date to be confirmed, Biot, France
Homo Faber 2020, September 10 – October 11, Fondazione Giorgio Cini, Venice, Italy
From Many, One 1, October 1 – November 6, Culture Object, New York, USA