On the Eastern Cape of South Africa, stained glass artist Anika Van Der Merwe grew up visiting her family’s farm in the Karoo. Watching her Dutch grandmother craft wool into beautiful artistic weaves on a loom, inspired a lifelong appreciation for traditional crafts, particularly the dying arts. Now, from her Cape Town studio Silver Stain, Van Der Merwe works on a combination of projects that include both restorations and original works, many of which set social networks afire with interest and enthusiasm upon their publication.
With a passion for painting, Van Der Merwe enrolled in fine arts study in 1999 at Port Elizabeth Technikon, where she participated in a stained glass course that forever altered her trajectory. Unfortunately, glass painting was not part of the program and upon completion of her certificate, the young artist traveled to London with nothing but a one-way ticket and 50 pounds in her pocket. Work at four different UK studios provided experience and practice in both glass painting and restoration.
In 2008, Van Der Merwe returned to South Africa and established Silver Stain Glass Studio, where she navigated many challenges, including sourcing materials and equipment. Exploration has been key to the artist’s evolution and growth. Restoration work on windows from Argentina led to her discovery of Prodesco enamels, a product of Spain. She says: “I find the amber enamels more predictable, and they can be mixed with other colors. I’ve pushed the paints quite a bit and the results amaze me.”
Notable Van Der Merwe restorations include Argentinian Glass restored for On Site Gallery including a dome for a private residence and the entrance to the main seating area of the Short Market Club, both in Cape Town; thirty-four windows at the Church of Transfiguration in Kensal Rise, London (for which the council allowed no power tools on the site. It was mandated that the entire restoration, including carpentry and masonry, be carried out by hand); and Saint Mary the Virgin, Harefield, UK, 2007.
In 2014, an opportunity to create a Saint Francis window for Bishops, an historic catholic chapel at a Cape Town boy’s school, presented itself. Restrained by the fact that the surrounding windows were Mayer of Munich, Van Der Merwe designed and fabricated a companion window, but knew it would be her last non-original work.
She said: “Although I really enjoy painting in the Mayer style, I couldn’t help but feel I should be making my own windows by now. I’ve painted so many windows in the styles of others for such a long time. That’s not what I envisioned stained glass to be for me. I’ve admired artists like Judith Schaechter and Sylvia Laks, and many others. I wanted to be an artist in my own right.”
During the St. Francis project, Van Der Merwe designed and fabricated the first of three autonomous panels featuring graceful and flowing koi fish, based on her early design sketch for an Asian restaurant commission. “I didn’t really give it any thought or planning. It was one of those pieces I let take me places. I played and experimented, applied techniques I learned from restorations, pushed the paint to get certain results, and it came out great.” The second and third koi panels in the triptych were created in 2016 and 2017 respectively, the second appearing on the cover of the Stained Glass Quarterly in 2019, along with a feature article.
Overwhelming positive response on social media and from the stained glass world at large has encouraged Van Der Merwe to take on more complex and challenging projects, such as her recent collaboration, The Honeybear. Based on Ree Treweek’s illustrations from her book Postcards of Molitia, the panel afforded Van Der Merwe and Treweek the perfect opportunity to marry illustration and stained glass in a detailed, magical and fantastical panel featuring a character from Treweek’s fantasy world.
Van Der Merwe says: “It was a great project, some of which Ree even painted herself. We went to this magical cottage in the mountains of the southern most point of Africa to paint some of the imagery in the window.” The two artists are currently working on an accompanying panel alive with botanicals for Treweek’s home. Also now in progress is a stained glass dome created by Van Der Merwe for a local residential client.
Throughout her career, Van Der Merwe has actively avoided the “fine art” world. Stained glass provided the means to be an artist, make a living and avoid navigating intimidating art critics. Though South Africa doesn’t currently recognize stained glass as an art form, the popularity and success of Van Der Merwe’s work is expanding the understanding and appreciation of the craft, not only in her homeland, but worldwide.
Charting new territory in functional glass art, Patrick McDougall and Subliminal Glass redefine what is possible in terms of size and complexity of their builds, made possible by utilizing a team approach to fabrication. Taking risks with every large, complicated boro art pipe, Subliminal Glass is highly recognizable by its inclusion of characters from the Simpsons, Mario Brothers, and Rick and Morty. One recent tube displayed 14 partying classic Looney Tunes characters in perfectly intricate detail.
“It’s not common for boro artists to want to go really large and elaborate due to the risks involved with that kind of construction,” says McDougall. “I think training so many artists has helped a lot. The team dynamic is something that hasn’t really been taken advantage of in our industry.”
At age 19, inspired by heady glass in local shops, McDougall headed to Portland, Oregon, where he began an apprenticeship making straight shooter pipes on a lathe in exchange for lessons in benchwork. Now, from his 1000-foot cabin studio in the woods north of Portland, the artist has assembled a team of four artists to create production work in scientific glass as a steady income stream that allows them to work on mind-blowing art pipes.
A self-proclaimed dreamer, McDougall’s solo work includes a 4-foot-tall glycerin tube with a castle in the base, a castle ash catcher, a built-in glass torch based on a castle with a fire-breathing dragon, and a full-sized dragon dropped inside a tube with a glycerin coil on top. The artist has also been collaborating with Robert Mickelsen on the The Art of War series, which included the life-size megawork, Shogun. One final piece in the series will be made some time this year.
On 4/20, Ruckus Gallery in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, will host the first solo exhibition of Subliminal Glass. “This show is monumental for us because it allows us to display our work and everything we can do in one place.” The solo exhibition will feature beakers, sculptural works, and guns with the goal of displaying the diverse skills set of Subliminal’s artists. McDougall will also be exhibiting new collabs made with his functional glass heroes.
On May 28, McDougall and team will teach a group class on the collaborative process at Level 42 Gallery in Asheville, North Carolina.
Please check the Ruckus and Level 42 Instagram accounts for updates and possible changes due to the Corona Virus pandemic.
When a friend gave Toland Sand a stained glass studio in 1977, he embarked upon a journey that would lead him to explore the myriad qualities that define glass as a medium. Sand’s 45 years as a sculptor has resulted in works of stained glass, blown glass, and every combination in between. A pioneer in utilizing the unique properties of dichroic glass, Sand begins his current sculpture with optical crystal and dichroic coated glass, hand worked by grinding in ever finer stages until a polish is achieved. Seeking balance, harmony, and symmetry, with an accent on deconstructed form, his work inhabits the symbolic, the cosmic, and the mystery.
Inspired by his peers as well as artists such as Isamu Noguchi, David Smith, Henry Moore, and Mark Rothko, Sand says: “I love that images can come and go, are made bold, and then disappear; are reflective and then not. The energetic and mystical side comes from the teachings of my spiritual Master, Sant Kirpal Singh, by whose instructions I meditate every day in my personal effort to connect to and be receptive to the vibration of the mysteries.”
Two years in Taiwan as a child and five years in Athens, Greece, as a teenager, motivated Sand’s investigations of “otherness.” Influenced by Eastern ideograms, Greek letters and Arabic writing, the sculptor creates symbols that have meaning in their elegance as graphics and maintain the sense that language and lettering can lead one into other consciousnesses and cultures.
Each piece takes more or less six weeks to complete, starting with a drawing in the traditional three views on large white paper ripped from a roll, pencil, ruler, and compass. He says: “It’s exciting for me to see how the finished piece measures up to my concept, that begins with inspiration and an idea, and ends up as a complex construction made more complex by reflection, refraction, and the dance of light and color in a three- dimensional setting.”
Sand’s sculpture has been collected by individuals and institutions nationwide including Bergstrom-Mahler Museum of Glass, Neenah, Wisconsin; Albrecht-Kemper Museum of Art, St. Joseph. Missouri; Chattanooga Museum of Art, Chattanooga, Tennessee; University of Michigan Art Museum, Ann Arbor; and The Imagine Museum, St. Petersburg, Florida. His work can also be found in the corporate collections of IBM, Coca Cola, UPS and MacDonald’s, to name a few. Exhibitions include SOFA Chicago, New York and Santa Fe as well as 25 solo shows, most recently in 2015 at Bender Gallery, Asheville, North Carolina, and in 2016 at Raven Gallery, Aspen, Colorado.
In July of 2016, Sand moved his studio from rural New Hampshire to Carmel Valley, California. “The sculptures are a reflection of my inner space and what grabs my attention. I could be doing them anywhere. Actually, I don’t question exactly where they come from. It’s the mystery.”
On the first episode of the Netflix glassblowing series Blown Away, Deborah Czeresko introduced herself as having “a polarizing personality; I have lovers, and I have haters.” Winner of the competition, the New York based, 58-year-old, queer female artist with 30 years of glass experience was awarded $60,000 and a two-week residency at the Corning Museum of Glass (CMoG).
Wrote Casey Lesser on Artsy: “In a similar vein to Project Runway or Top Chef, Blown Away gathers glass artists to compete in creating innovative artworks. And while some contestants in the show’s first season crumbled under challenges that required conceptual depth, Czeresko thrived. Asked to make botanicals, she procured a set of oddly poetic potatoes; summoned to imagine a futuristic robotic device, she fashioned the Man-Bun in the Oven, an external womb for men to wear to gestate; and during a food challenge, she managed to make tacos appear über-elegant through a set of Venetian-style dishes. Her pièce de résistance was an installation for the finale: a feminist take on breakfast, including a fecund fried egg and a chain of sausage links.” Meat Me in The Middle, an installation with a sunny-side-up egg at the center represents women taking the art world by storm and a nod towards equity in fine arts.
Czeresko’s work originates from personal experience influenced by the complexities of modern day political and social ideas. It challenges gender stereotypes within the traditional glassblowing landscape. “To me, it’s almost a political act to occupy the hot shop as a fierce female glassblower,” she says in Blown Away.
In her October 2019 two-week residency at CMoG, Czeresko began work on a new conceptual chandelier comprised of more than 50 mirrored glass pieces of automotive-related ephemera such as hubcaps and a muffler. The work uses the metaphorical power of car parts to create a narrative surrounding the gendering of objects.
Czeresko’s art has always invoked a range of approaches and techniques, including performance and collaboration. After completing a BA in psychology from Rutgers University and attending graduate school in studio art at Tulane University, she began working with glass at the New York Experimental Glass Workshop in 1987. For 20 years, Czeresko has made a living creating custom lighting designs and fabricating works for fellow artists such as Robert Gober, Kiki Smith, Lorna Simpson, Mariko Mori and Eric Fischl. The artist has instructed classes at many universities and schools throughout Europe and the US, including UrbanGlass in Brooklyn, New York, where she formally sat on the board; Tyler School of Arts in Philadelphia; College of Creative Studies in Detroit; and LUCA School of Arts in Ghent, Belgium.
Following her appearance on Blown Away, Czeresko developed a vocal and enthusiastic fan base, inspired by this strong, creative woman articulating a message of diversity, equity and belonging. A most unlikely reality TV star, she is stopped regularly on the streets outside of her Lower East Side apartment for autographs, embraces and accolades.
Admittedly thrilled with the attention, the artist has used her new-found celebrity to gain gallery representation. Blown Away inspired interest from New York’s Heller Gallery, which exhibited a new, large installation of her potatoes at SOFA Chicago last fall and her Meat in Chains at the NYC gallery earlier last year. In 2020, both CMoG and the Toledo Museum of Art purchased Czeresko’s work for their collections. In addition to exhibiting new works in three upcoming museum shows and multiple pending residencies, Czeresko will be the honoree for the UrbanGlass 2020 Gala held May 12.
With nature as her muse, stained glass artist Hallie Monroe recently completed two ground-breaking autonomous panels. The first references a recent study on octopus intelligence. It depicts her imaginings of what cephalopods could do with the car keys, sunglasses and smartphones routinely dropped overboard and into the ocean by humans. The other illustrates the heart-wrenching effects of 2019’s summer fires on the world’s wildlife.
“These are not your grandmother’s church windows. I wanted to explore topics that go beyond the blonde Jesus interpretations I have painted so many times to speak about modern topics of climate change and society.”
A graduate of the Pratt Institute with a BFA in Illustration, Monroe’s experience as a glass painter is vast and includes All Saints Episcopal Church’s Chapel of Ease in Barbados (2006 – 2009); Conrad Pickel Studios, Vero Beach, Florida, where she worked on one of the largest stained glass windows in the US for Hendricks Avenue Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Florida (summer 2009); and Willet Hauser Architectural Glass (2010- 2014). Over the years, the artist has also painted for many freelance clients including Holdman Studios, Lehi, Utah; the Art of Glass, Media, Pennsylvania; Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut; The Gil Studio, Brooklyn, New York; Serpentino Stained & Leaded Glass, Needham, Massachusetts; and Sunlites Stained Glass, Far Rockaway, New York.
Monroe’s process and techniques are basically the same whether painting liturgical work or creating personal autonomous panels. She begins by standing sheets of glass around her studio, allowing color and texture to interact with different light and inspire a design. In her work, Red Elephant, the artist utilized acid etching on red flashed glass in a protest against the slaughter of these animals for their ivory tusks. Silver stain was expertly applied to produce a glowing effect used in combination with the angle of the elephant charging to heighten the urgency of the message.
In another work, Owl in the Birches, Monroe relied upon Catspaw glass to create the dappled green background that so vividly conveys sunlight in the forest. This panel was exhibited in American Glass Now: 2014, the American Glass Guild’s (AGG) annual juried show held at the Glencairn Museum in Bryn Athyn, Pennsylvania, from May 1 to June 30, 2014.
Semi-photorealistic portraits comprise a large percentage of both her personal and liturgical painting. “People of color are rarely depicted in stained glass, and I wanted to change that.”
The recipient of the AGG Scholarship, Monroe also received two grants from the Stained Glass Association of America (SGAA). The 2009 SGAA Elskus Scholarship enabled her to take a 12-day stained glass tour of southern France given by author and guide, David Wilde.
After 30 years of running her studio in Southampton, New York, Monroe recently relocated and opened Twin Elms Stained Glass Studio at Pittsford Village Farm, Pittsford, Vermont. An experienced instructor, Monroe has taught workshops at St. Michael’s Institute, Mystic, Connecticut; Amagansett Applied Art School, Amagansett, New York; Guild Hall, East Hampton, New York; and the 2019AGG conference held in San Antonio, Texas. In 2020, the artist will teach workshops at Yestermorrow Building Arts School, Waitsfield, Vermont, and out of her own studio.
In discussions about why stained glass has not found its place in art galleries, lack of content in the work is cited as a primary factor. This is closely followed by the challenges of exhibiting an art form with an absolute dependence on natural light. Monroe accepts the inherent limitations of her medium and with a masterful painter’s hand, blurs the lines between art and craft in profound images of our vanishing natural world.
“The public still thinks of stained glass as church windows. Architects using stained glass windows in ways outside of that definition and artists like myself showing in galleries so people can see the work outside of a church setting, will build new audiences for autonomous works in glass.”
Dark and beautiful, Bertil Vallien’s sculpture takes the viewer on a mystical journey through the subconscious. Part oracle, part art object - his boats, maps and heads reveal existential secrets through a series of symbols and codes embedded in a glass matrix that appears to contain light. Sweden’s most innovative and well-known contemporary glass artist, Vallien pioneered sand casting in the 1980s and began creating sculptures in glass that inspired his now famous quote: “Glass eats light.”
Born in 1938 in Sollentuna, a suburb north of Stockholm, Vallien studied ceramics at the Konstfack School of Arts, Crafts, and Design in Stockholm, then spent two years at the School for Advanced Industrial Design. At Konstfack, he graduated at the top of his class and was awarded a Royal Foundation grant. His love of ceramics took him to Los Angeles for a position with HAL Fromholt Ceramics, and soon he was meeting artists, critics, and gallery owners, attending events at California universities, and exhibiting his ceramics. In 1963, he was invited back to Sweden by the C.H. Åfors glass-factory, where he contributed to a successful reorganization of the company and designed many of their most well-known lines.
Vallien’s introduction to glass offered artistic opportunities that were lacking in ceramics, and blowing glass became central to his work. He describes it as, “ladling matter out of a volcano and watching the glowing lava turn into ice.” His work has a symbolic and mystical narrative, in which the human head, boats, maps, stars, crosses, bridges, pyramids, and rings play recurring roles. Sometimes the light-absorbing glass is transparent like a membrane that allows vision into the spaces within. At other times it is translucent to represent how our understanding can at times be clouded.
From California to Israel, Vallien has exhibited around the world including The State Heritage Museum (St. Petersburg, Russia); the National Museum (Stockholm, Sweden); the Victoria and Albert Museum (London, England); the Art Institute of Chicago (IL); the National Museum of Modern Art (Kyoto, Japan); the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, NY); the Powerhouse Museum (Sydney, Australia); and the Museum of Fine Arts (Boston, MA). He has received numerous awards, such as: Prince Eugen’s medal for Outstanding Achievement in the Arts (1995); an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Vaxjö (2002); the Gold Medal from the Royal Academy of Science, Stockholm (2005); and the Libenski Award, Seattle (2008).
At 82, Vallien is still active as a creating artist. In 2018, he exhibited new work at Spritmuseum, Stockholm, in an exhibition titled, Under ytan (Under the Surface). The art objects were made in a coarse-cut black glass that suggested an archaeological excavation of a desolate civilization. Wrecked ships and desolate landscapes stood on pedestals in a dark room with a light source above it.
On February 8, 2020, during Imagine Museum’s Fire and Light Gala, Trish Duggan, Founder and President of Imagine Museum, presented Vallien with the “Artist of the Future” award, based upon his undaunted journey as an artist looking toward the future while continuing to aspire other artists in new ways of expression and communication. “Bertil’s vision about the future and his unbound curiosity about what lies ahead puts him far ahead many of the younger artists working in the field today,” said Duggan about the award recipient.
Continuing down his prolific path, on May 14, 2020, Vallien’s exhibition Surface Tension opens at Gallery Glas in Stockhom. His show Anhalt will be on view at VIDA Museum and Art Gallery, Borgholm, Sweden, beginning May 23. The artist is also preparing for his demo at the Glass Art Society (GAS) conference in Smaland, Sweden, May 20-23, where he will be presented with GAS’ Visionary Award.
Defying familiar branding practices, Snic Barnes prefers exploring uncharted aesthetic and technical territory, creating works that range from electroplated pipes reminiscent of Steampunk machines to his current complex functional sculpture incorporating varied motifs. The combination of his unique style and groundbreaking processes put this pioneer of mixed media pipes on the map beginning in the late 1990s.
A Philadelphia-based artist, Snic discovered glassblowing in 1997 at The Crefeld School. Subsequently the 17-year-old spent a year traveling the East Coast, supporting himself by selling glass pipes at concerts and festivals. These experiences cemented a lifelong involvement in psychedelic counterculture. To advance his glass working skills, in 1999 Snic enrolled at The Appalachian Center for Craft in Smithville, Tennessee, and later studied at the Corning Museum of Glass, Corning, New York.
Snic’s work has been exhibited at the National Liberty Museum, SCOPE Miami, Joseph Gross Gallery, SOFA Art Fair, Habatat Galleries, and Gregorio Escalante Gallery. Media featuring his artwork includes Vice, Juxtapoz, High Times, LA Weekly, Philadelphia Magazine, the Wall Street Journal, Fox News, and the documentary film, Degenerate Art: The Art and Culture of Glass Pipes. The artist was named Central Territory Glass Artist of the year at the 2016 American Glass Expo, won second place in group competition at the 2011 Champs Trade Show, and first place at the 2009 Pipe Classic. He has instructed at Pilchuck Glass School, Philadelphia Glassworks, Ontario’s Edy Roy Gallery, and Lunar Cycle in Tokyo.
This Saturday, February 15, 2020, Piece of Mind in Orange County presents Organized Confusion, an exhibition featuring new solo work by Snic as well as collaborative pieces by artists from California and across the country. The artist will present a live glassblowing demo in the gallery during the opening reception, held February 15, 2020. VIP 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. (ticket purchase required), public from 7 p.m. to 12 a.m.
Bay Area artist Tali Grinshpan seeks to create intimate spaces of reflection where the past speaks to the transient present. In her 2019 solo show at Bullseye Bay Area Gallery titled Longing for the (Home)Land כיסופים למולדת, multi-generational stories of immigration were told via delicate pâte de verre forms that recall curling flower petals or silky folds of fabric.
Grinshpan says: “I explore the fragility of nature and human existence by using organic materials to create forms that burn out in the kiln. Their remnants speak of the spirit and beauty of what once existed.”
Born and raised in Tel Aviv, Israel, Grinshpan earned a B.A. and M.A. in Business and Psychology from Tel Aviv University. A variety of art mediums were a source of interest and exploration since childhood. Travels around the world with her family were also important in her development as an artist. In 2004, the artist moved to and currently resides in Walnut Creek, California, where she fell in love with glass and began to pursue it professionally.
“The ever-changing life of the land, in particular that of Israel, where I was born, and that of my present home in Northern California, inspires me. As an immigrant, I search for connection between the land and my internal landscape of memory. These landscapes, simultaneously intimate and vast, come together in my work,” she explains.
Grinshpan’s education and experience in glass includes a professional residency at Pilchuck Glass School in Stanwood, Washington; serving as teaching assistant for both Saman Kalantari and Alicia Lomne, who were instructing at Corning Museum of Glass (CMOG) Studio in Corning, New York; summer sessions at CMOG’s Studio and the Pittsburgh Glass Center, Pennsylvania; and a professional residency and master class at North Lands Creative Glass, Scotland, UK.
Grinshpan was selected as a finalist at The International Exhibition of Glass Kanazawa Japan in 2016; first prize winner of The Glass Prize 2017 international competition, UK; and published in CMOG’s survey of cutting-edge glass, New Glass Review 39. She achieves the paper-like qualities in her glass beginning with a model of the final artwork made out of clay, wax or other materials. A mold is made from the model using plaster and silica. After mixing finely crushed glass with a binding material, this paste is applied to the inner surface of a negative mold to form a coating. When the coated mold is fired, the glass fuses into an object whose walls depend on the thickness of the pâte de verre layers. After firing, the artist removes the mold material and cleans the piece. The amount of cold work on the fired piece varies, depending on artistic and aesthetic considerations.
Over the past few years Grinshpan’s work has been exhibited in various national and international galleries and museums. Upcoming exhibitions include: Grand Rapids Art Museum, Michigan, A New State of Matter – Contemporary Glass, January 25 through April 26, 2020; Abrams Claghorn Gallery, Albany, California, Particles, Grinshpan’s first exhibition as curator, February 1 through 28, 2020; Eretz Israel Museum, Tel Aviv, The Biennial for Art and Design, March 17 through November 30, 2020; and Pittsburgh Glass Center, The United, October 2, 2020 – January 24, 2021.
Celebrating its 40th year, Glass Artists of Colorado (GAC) creates opportunities for education, sharing, promotion and friendship. Established in 1979 under the name Glass Artists Fellowship, GAC offers its members monthly educational meetings, artist slideshows, demonstrations, information, seminars, workshops, guest lectures, and field trips. Originally comprised of stained glass artists only, over the years membership has grown and evolved to reflect the dynamic nature of art glass in Colorado.
Says president, Deborah Carlson: “With the closing of most, if not all, retail and teaching shops in Colorado, clubs like ours are a necessity to keep the glass artists in our area involved and informed about the outside glass community and give support to this medium. The Morgan Adams Project, as well as our bi-annual support of Beads of Courage, provides us with an opportunity to come together, share, and focus on our community.”
Currently, GAC is coordinating a special project in conjunction with The Morgan Adams Foundation, D&L Art Glass Supply, Denver, and The Children’s Hospital of Colorado. When Morgan Adams lost her battle with cancer, her mother started a foundation to raise awareness and funds for children’s cancer research.
Carlson asked the children in the cancer unit of Children’s Hospital to draw a picture and write a story about their healing character and assign them special powers. The drawings of the 25 kids who participated are being created in glass via blowing or sculpting in the furnace or on the torch. The glass sculpture along with the corresponding drawing and story will be auctioned off at a special event called ARTMA 2020, on February 8, at Denver Design District. The Morgan Adams Foundation puts on this art auction every two years to raise money for children’s cancer research.
As a special gift to the children, D & L Art Glass Supply and Leslie Silverman graciously opened their teaching facility and furnished all of the glass and kiln time for GAC to produce a glass tile matching the drawing of every child who participated. These will be given out either at the auction or at the hospital. The Morgan Adams Foundation has also made and will give each child a special t-shirt with the project name and Glass Artists of Colorado on it. Every participating glass artist will receive the same t-shirt and a year’s membership to GAC.
Says Carlson: “The children’s comments are amazing, with most of them saying this was the best project they have ever been a part of because it gave them a chance to participate in the fund raising. They were incredibly enthusiastic, and we are grateful. The artists also expressed their gratitude for being included in such a meaningful event. We are blessed to have this great glass community here in Colorado.”
In 1989, Tim Tate received an HIV-positive diagnosis and was told he had one year to live. The terrible news inspired him to follow a dream he’d had since the age of 9 when he visited the Corning Museum of Glass. Driven to use the time he had left to become a glass artist, Tate travelled to Penland School of Crafts in North Carolina for the first in an intensive succession of classes. Penland and the artwork made during this time saved his life.
A Washington, D.C. native, Tate has been working with sculpture now for 30 years. Co-Founder of the Washington Glass School, his artwork is part of the permanent collections of a number of museums, including the Smithsonian’s American Art Museum and the Mint Museum. He participated in 2019’s Glasstress show with Ai Wei Wei and Vic Muniz during the Venice Biennale. Tate has received numerous awards and honors including the 2010 Virginia Groot Foundation award for sculpture; a Fulbright Award from Sunderland University, England, in 2012; second place in the 2017 London Contemporary Art Prize; and the 2018 James Renwick Alliance Distinguished Artist Award.
Along with William Warmus, Tate is the founder and moderator of the Facebook group 21st Century Glass – Images and Discussions. His involvement at Penland includes teaching, serving as featured artist for the 2018 annual auction, and acting as the Development Chair for the Penland Board of Trustees from 2014 to 2018.
In 2001, Tate helped establish the Washington Glass School to focus on sculptural glass made by kiln-casting and mixed media rather than traditional studio glassblowing techniques. Modeled after Penland and the Crucible in Oakland, the school has offered instruction to more than 4,000 students while providing a permanent studio in which Tate makes his work.
After 10 years of making bowls, between 1999 and 2005 Tate made 30 large blown glass hearts, an exercise which required him to work with a glassblowing team and revealed his preference to work solo. His Reliquary works created between 2004 and 2014 drew attention from journalists, galleries and critics, putting Tate on the map of the art world at large.
Never fully fitting into any one definition of Studio Glass, steampunk or video artist, Tate blends traditional craft with new media technology, the framework in which he fits his artistic narrative. Through moving images and endless mirrors his contemporary work possesses the aesthetic of Victorian techno-fetishism, which emerged from fascination with Jules Verne as a boy. Artwork and video, he believes, will be society’s relics of the future.
He says, “I like to reference many possible histories and will do so with video or mirrors to show our common artistic ancestry and illustrate alternate paths. Perhaps centuries from now my work will have the same presence as abandoned archaic machines from the Turn of the last Century, as people marvel over what could have possibly been its intent.”
An early pioneer of the fusing movement in the Northwest, Michael Dupille is accustomed to developing the processes and products necessary to achieve his aesthetic goals in glass. As the creator and early master of Fritography, the artist’s work can be found in numerous public and private collections including those of the Washington and Oregon State Arts Commissions, The Everett Cultural Commission, The Seattle Times, The Pierce County Arts Commission, Amazon.com, and the Seattle Mariners.
He says: “At first, I was the only person doing frit work. Now there are many people teaching the techniques. Working with frit and fusing in general gives you freedom of expression. Learning how the colors work, how they fire, and what you can do with the different sizes of frit provides a conduit for your imagination.”
Some of the most unique developments in Dupille’s work have been the result of experimentation or aesthetic accident. He has the mindset of a perpetual student, always looking for ways to make his art more interesting and extraordinary. This led to the birth in 2003 of Tranchant du Verre, Dupille’s exclusive process requiring a mix of his specially formulated CMC gum called Vitrigel with System 96 powdered glass. He is also the developer of Castalot Glass Mold material.
Innovation and creation have always gone hand in hand for Dupille, as seen in everything from his large-scale glass feathers to his frit paintings of baseball games to his recent 4-foot custom glass hockey sticks.
Dupille’s journey in glass began in the mid-1970s. Upon graduation from Central Washington University in Ellensburg, the young artist moved to the Seattle/ Tacoma area where he attended Clover Park Vocational Technical Institute, studying offset printing and lithography. Meeting fellow fusers Richard La Londe and Ruth Brockmann at a street fair, Dupille was eventually invited to their studio and introduced to one of the founders of Bullseye Glass Co., Boyce Lundstrom. Dupille’s training in design and illustration came in handy for the early print advertising, book layouts and T-shirts he produced for Bullseye and Lundstrom’s glass school, Camp Colton. While working on Lundstrom’s Fusing books two and three, Dupille started teaching glass classes at the school.
As an innovator of new techniques and products, Dupille has been in demand as a teacher for the last three decades, instructing all over the United States and Mexico. Two workshops will be offered in 2020, one at Anything in Stained Glass, in Frederick, Maryland, this September, and in October in the UK at Glassification. Dupille is also working on a couple of new e- books and will release a series of production casting molds later this year. One of Dupille’s favorite experiences is opening up a glass magazine or book and seeing a former student’s work.
In the early 1990s, Brockmann won a competition sponsored by the Oregon Arts Commission to create a pair of murals for the lobby of the Portland State Office Building. Created in collaboration with her partner Hal Bond, Dupille was also enlisted to collaborate on the two murals, which covered a total of 320 square feet and included fused glass, kiln cast glass, and colored cement.
Since those early days, public and private commissions have comprised a large portion of Dupille’s work in glass. Some of his largest and most challenging artwork touches the lives of hundreds of teachers and students in the Public School environment every day. His most recent, Manito Glow was installed in 2017 at Hutton Elementary School in Spokane, Washington, a Percent for Arts project offered through the Washington State Arts Commission. Although the process of creating art for schools is not significantly different from producing other large-scale work, Dupille’s goal is always to inspire his audience. “Glass has such unique and beautiful properties, and the students, parents, and faculty are drawn to it for that as well as the process used to make the work.”
The Corning Museum of Glass Acquires its First Glass Cannabis Pipe, Created by David Colton
The Corning Museum of Glass named David Colton as the recipient of its prestigious 2019 Rakow Commission, awarded annually to emerging and established artists whose work is not yet represented in the Museum’s collection. Colton’s sculpture represents the first-ever glass cannabis pipe to be added to the permanent collection of any major art museum. With its bright pink, red, and purple calligraphic forms, this expressive, graffiti-inspired sculptural object demonstrates the contribution of pipemakers to colored borosilicate glass, the palette of which has expanded greatly since the beginning of the glass pipe movement in the late 20th century.
Heavily influenced by the rise of graffiti in America in the 1980s and ’90s, Colton creates his own take on the graphic art form in sculpture, using glass as his chosen medium. Recognized by his peers for the distinct organic style he has developed, Colton’s practice encompasses abstract borosilicate sculptures and functional glass pipes. Born in Westfield, Massachusetts, Colton began glassblowing in Fort Collins, Colorado in 1995 and currently resides in Westhampton, Massachusetts. The artist’s work is also included in The Dr. Seuss Museum’s permanent collection in Springfield, Massachusetts.
Enjoy this fascinating conversation about how and where glass pipes fit in to the world of fine art and museum collections.
On November 12, 2019, Venice and Murano, Italy, were devastated by “acqua alta,” record high water from tidal floods, which caused severe damage throughout the laguna and islands. Master glassblower Davide Fuin has established a GoFundMe campaign to help glass artists who need outside funding to make repairs and get shops, furnaces and studios back in working order.
Born in 1962 on Murano, Fuin still lives and works on the island. Considered one of the most skilled glassblowers of the last 30 years, he has collaborated with Italy’s famous glass houses including Venini, Toso, Pauly, Salviati, Elite, and De Majo, as well as with many international artists and designers. His work can be found in major galleries as well as private and museum collections in Europe, the United States, Japan, Korea, Saudi Arabia, EAU, and Australia.
On September 15, 2015, at Palazzo Franchetti on Venice’s Grand Canal, the Istituto Veneto di Scienze Lettere ed Arti honored glass master Fuin for excelling in his ability to make blown work according to Murano tradition, highlighting especially the techniques of reticello and retortoli filigree, incalmo, and avventurina. Gherardo Ortalli, president of the Istituto; Gabriella Belli, director of the Fondazione Musei Civici di Venezia; Georg J. Riedel, president of Riedel Crystal; and Rosa Barovier, glass historian, selected the award recipients and were in attendance. William Gudenrath, resident advisor for The Studio at the Corning Museum of Glass (CMOG), Corning, New York, was also present at the ceremony.
“Fuin’s work was selected because he is the most visible, arguably the best, and some would say the last practitioner of the tradition of goblet makers on Murano, said to date from the Renaissance. The goblet tradition in both Murano and Venice is in considerable peril,” says Gudenrath, who himself teaches advanced courses in Venetian techniques and ensures excellence in the CMOG studio facility and its programs.
Every year Fuin spends several weeks teaching at art schools and studios around the world, including The Studio at CMOG. On January 3, 2020, the artist presented a workshop at The Glass Spot, in Richmond, Virginia, and in August will teach at his Murano hot shop.
Known widely as the crème de la crème, Fuin’s work defines classic Venetian glass. In 2000, he began producing a collection of goblets, vessels, and traditional Venetian baskets in Avventurina glass. His goal was to open new markets and appeal to a more exclusive clientele. The number of pieces and the preciousness of the sparkling, seemingly copper infused glass elevates this body of work beyond the functional. Fuin’s Avventurina collection makes an artistic statement about traditional technique and the unimaginable beauty possible only at the hand of a true maestro.