DC’s Historic Howard Theater’s Rebirth

>Public art is part of the restoration of the historic Howard Theater in Washington, DC.

The Howard Theater was a Beaux Arts Style theater built in Washington, DC in 1910. During its hayday it catered to African American clientele and was an extension of U Street’s “Black Broadway”. Many famous performance artists came through the Howard including Duke Ellington, Danny Kaye, Abbott and Costello, Pearl Bailey, Buddy Holly, Sarah Vaughn, Dinah Washington, Sammy Davis, Jr., James Brown and the Flames, Otis Redding, Lena Horne, Lionel Hampton, Redd Fox and Chuck Brown – so many amazing shows!

The theater closed in 1980 and has sat empty for the past 30 years. The D.C. Preservation League listed it among the District’s Most Endangered Places in 2002. The renovation and restoration work that began five years ago is just about complete but for a few finishing touches and the reopening is scheduled for next week.

The sculpture will be the building’s crowning finial – replacing the original “Apollo” sculpture that was lost long ago.

Artist Brower Hatcher and his team at Mid-Ocean Studios won the commission to create a public art installation at the Howard Theater. Installation of “Jazz Man” sculpture to the facade of the Howard Theater is this weekend, with a ribbon cutting ceremony to be held on April 9, 2012.

Initial concept of “Jazz Man” sculpture by Brower Hatcher in 2007.

Brower’s eight foot sculpture called “Jazz Man” is the image of a man holding a trumpet formed by a scaffold-like metal frame. The framework is painted in the sculptor’s favorite color – blue. “They call it Brower blue,” Brower said, “Blue works particularly well because as a color it’s quite transparent. Certainly against the sky, it almost absorbs light.” That allows the metal frame to almost disappear, as reflective objects attached to the frame and dangling inside make the whole piece sparkle.

Often, it is the practice of Mid-Ocean Studios to work with artists in the cities that they have received commissions and they invited WGS’ master of glass and concrete castings – Sean Hennessey to create the trumpet for the Jazz Man sculpture.

Sean Hennessey’s shop drawing of the Jazz Man’s trumpet – made in cast concrete and glass.

Sean gives an insight into his work as a component of the historic building’s sculpture on his blog Scenic Artisans.

“This is a dream project for me in many ways” said Sean. “The Howard Theater is a building I walk by often. It is only 6 blocks from my house and with both my history in working in theater and my fascination of urban American ruins, I have been very drawn to the space. I have also been looking for ways to get into public art and haven’t yet had the opportunity. This is a great thrill and honor for me. And I’ve been so excited I can hardly stand it!”

Sean created original forms that would then have urethane rubber poured around to create a negative mold.

“The overall trumpet will be in cast concrete -the bell of the trumpet will be glass” said Sean as he outlined his process, “…to create the final piece I will construct a mock up in clay, wood, metal pipe, cut glass, and found pieces, then make a 2 part rubber mold of the maquette … I will fit the glass sections into the rubber mold, add a stainless steel armature, and pour tinted concrete into the void. After the concrete sets up I will demold the piece, clean it up, and seal it.”

Sean pours urethane rubber around the positives he made, creating an accurate mold for the later concrete pour.

After the urethane sets up, the mold is opened to clean and prep for the next stage.

Sean worked with glass artist Dave D’Orio to create the trumpet’s glass flare.

The finished cast concrete and glass trumpet for the sculpture.

The trumpet is integrated into the sculpture at Brower Hatcher’s studio as the work is prepared for the installation atop the refurbished building.

Installation of “Jazz Man” sculpture to the facade of the Howard Theater is this weekend, with a ribbon cutting ceremony to be held on April 9, 2012.

“It’s like the Cotton Club inside The Apollo,” said Michael Marshall, partner at Marshall Moya Design, the District-based architectural firm hired to create the theater’s new interior, creating a cabaret-style ambiance, with tables and chairs on the main floor, a balcony with banquettes. The “new” Howard Theater is expected to offer a balance of national events and community performances. The Howard’s future cabaret-style format will host a variety of cultural events and is expected to lead the rebirth of jazz, R&B, soul, blues, and funk in Washington D.C. The theater’s $25 million rebuilding project will also feature a museum and gift shop.

The ribbon-cutting, which is open to the public, will be on Monday, April 9 from 11:30 am to 2:30 pm. You can get a tour of the theater and witness the unveiling of “The Jazz Man” followed by live performances by Robert Thompson & The James Brown Experience Band, along with a host of other talents.

The Grand Opening Gala is April 12.


The Howard Theatre
Monday April 9th
11:30-2:30 PM
620 T St NW
Washington, DC


UPDATE – for pix of the installed sculpture atop the Howard Theatre and to find out why there are two trumpets made by Sean- click HERE

Ooh La La! Susan Taylor Glasgow ‘s “Glamorous Lift” @ GAS Auction

>Susan Taylor Glasgow plans to “support” the Glass Art Society by “lifting” the game of the auction. Her Glass Lingerie Set is part of Laura Donefer’s famed fashion show production that will be part of the the Glass Art Society 2012 Conference (June 13 – 17, 2012 in Toledo, OH).
This conference will specially celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Studio Glass Movement.

Laura Donefer had put a call for wearable glass creations as part of the auctions that provide the finale for the GAS conference. Susan Taylor Glasgow (the little minx) was once a seamstress, and now takes her needle and thread to glass. The award winning artist often references images of domestic bliss and nostalgic imagery to create sculpture that is strangely comforting and unexpected.
Click
here to jump to Susan’s website.

Kiln Formed Glass History – Part 2

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Exploring Technique and Content – the ’60′s, ’70′s & ’80′s

Untitled sculpture, Mary Shaffer, fused and slumped industrial sheet glass, 1975


As part of the 50th Anniversary celebrations in honor of the 1962 Toledo Glass Workshop, the Washington Glass School blog is looking the heritage of the art movement. This is the second part in an historical overview of how fused glass (aka kiln-formed, or warm glass) fits into the contemporary Studio Art Glass Movement. Much of the information was based on published writings by
Martha Drexler Lynn, William Warmus & Beth Hylen, Richard LaLonde, Dan Schwoerer & Boyce Lundstrom and from the Corning Museum of Glass library.

The 1962 Toledo glass workshops indeed marked a watershed. After the workshops, glass moved into university and college programs and significantly into fine arts programs. After the two workshops, by 1964, (hot) glass artists were increasingly college educated in fine arts degree programs that required the same course work demanded for painting or sculpture. In the early days of the Studio Glass Movement the compelling attitude was the quest to spread the word and distance glass art from both the factory and hobbyist. Hot glass had reconstituted itself with the museum’s blessing, and had achieved a new identity.

Other aspects also had an influence on the growing art movement. The young artists were entranced by notions of an alternative lifestyle free of the establishment values of the older generation. “We were hippies, Okay? People have to understand that. No watches, no underwear, no nothing” remembers Toots Zynsky regarding the early days at Pilchuck. Learning to make art with glass, rejecting bourgeois rules, and living an anti-establishment lifestyle were irresistible and became part of the lore both of Pilchuck and of the glass movement in general.



Clipped Grass, Mary Ann “Toots” Zynsky, green tinted fused and thermo-formed glass threads, 1982


Antique collecting in the 1960’s brought about a renewed interest in stained glass. Citi
es such as Denver, CO became trading centers for stained glass windows removed from old East Coast houses and buildings. The demand for turn-of-the-century stained glass encouraged studios to create works ranging from Tiffany style reproductions to contemporary designs.

The rapid growth of the new stained glass studios across the country, brought about by the demand for stained glass, was made possible by new types of glass manufacturers and the influence of the growing Studio Glass movement and Harvey Littleton.

Ray Ahlgren, Dan Schwoerer, Boyce Lundstrom

The modern stained glass movement, started by mimicking the traditional work evolved into a very diverse art form. Boyce Lundstrom, one of the founders of Bullseye Glass Company wrote:
Our experience in the glass world pointed to a need for more colored sheet glass for the stained glass industry…(I) began working with glass in 1965, when I joined the new glass program established by Dr. Robert Fritz that year at San Jose State University in San Jose, California. At that time I was a ceramics major, studying with one of the great ceramic glaze technicians of our time, Dr. Herbert Sanders. The close correlation between the calculating and making of ceramic glazes and the process of making glass is a natural one. So, as a potter studying glaze calculation, I found it natural to apply the technology to glass, and was soon drawn by the material.
In Dr. Fritz’s program I learned to control all phases of the process of making finished blown objects. We built glass melting equipment, calculated and melted batch, formed the glass, and carried out all the cold working processes for finishing the annealed work. After my graduation from San Jose State, in 1967, I operated a ceramics and glass studio in southern California for two years before my wife and I moved to Corvallis, Oregon, in late 1969, where I blew glass for galleries and craft fairs. While participating in craft fairs and shows, I met many other glass artists who had become infatuated with hot glass in the early years of the studio blowing movement in this country. We were all struggling to support our individual studios and families, while experimenting
with new glasses and equipment.”

Two of those artists were Ray Ahlgren and Dan Schwoerer, who were partners in a glass blowing. (Ray Ahlgren started his glass career in Wisconsin in 1965. His background in ceramics, glass blowing, glass chemistry, studio fabrication and design. Daniel Schwoerer graduated from the University of Wisconsin where he also worked in the art department as graduate assistant to Professor Harvey Littleton in 1968-69. He then moved to Portland, where he set up a glassblowing studio. In 1974 the three self-described “hippie glassblowers” started Bullseye Glass Company, a small factory for making specialty sheet glass – initially focused on making colored sheets for use in stained glass.)


Ray Ahlgren, fused glass tiles, plywood, 1982


Said Boyce: “
For the next four years, the pressing demands of an infant company consumed all of my time. In 1978 I began designing independent stained glass panels, executed for me by more capable craftspersons. Since, at Bullseye, we produced mixed colors of glass daily, and had control of the formulas, it seemed a foregone conclusion that we could make sheet glass with similar coefficients of expansion.


Boyce Lundstrom, red glass fused bowl, 1979


The thought process went something like this: if sheet glasses had the same coefficient of expansion, they could be cut into shapes and fused together. So, I started experimenting in 1979 or 1980–I don’t know exactly when because the process was slow at first, fraught with many failures and just a few successes. If there was one memorable breakthrough, it was the application of the method of testing for stress with a polarimeter (from glass blowing) to glasses fused to a clear sheet glass with a constant coefficient of expansion.

When making sheet glass it is not important to have a constant coefficient of expansion among all the glasses. Single colors can all be different and mixed colors only have to be within one or two coefficient points of one another. In glass blowing it is not uncommon to use glasses together that vary in coefficient of expansion by four or five points, because the casing process holds the glass together. But when fusing glass flat, the glasses must be very close in coefficients. Establishing a clear glass as a constant, and then formulating the melt for all colors to fit that constant, made the contemporary glass fusing movement possible.

The ability to fuse glass, by taking it through the complete process of heating, holding and annealing, then checking the finished results with an accurate test, really stimulated my dreams of unlimited possibilities. I saw kiln fired glass as the wave of the future, providing freedom for all those who would like to be freed of the lead lines! Tiles, windows, bowls, sculptures, and building facades could all be made with fused sheet glass… By 1981, I became adamant about producing glass for the fusing market at Bullseye Glass. My remaining partner, Dan Schwoerer, supported me in my one-man campaign to make fusing available to everyone. During the next few years we succeeded in making available a line of fusing compatible glasses. By 1983 we were teaching fusing in diverse parts of the world, establishing a line of products and working with kiln manufacturers to get kilns designed for glass on the market.”

The influence by the hot glass education and artwork by the artists that came from the universities now teaching glass artwork outlined the directions that warm or kiln-formed glass would take. In the late 1960s there was the emphasis on technology and education. The glass artwork was part of broader international craft movement of the 1960s in which clay, fiber, wood, and metal are used for creative expression.


Gyes Arcade, Christopher Wilmarth, flat and curved plate glass elements, 1969

In 1969, glass was rarely seen in contemporary art, especially in large-scale sculpture. However, the American Studio Glass Movement was gathering national momentum. Many studio glass artists looked at contemporary sculpture, such as Gyes Arcade, for inspiration on how glass might be treated artistically.

At the 1972 National Sculpture Conference in Lawrence, Kansas, Harvey Littleton introduces his phrase “Technique is cheap” that continues to influence artists. The dichotomy between the sculptor in search of form (the “technique is cheap” attitude) vs. the craftsman striving to create a perfectly executed functional object is a strong motivation for many artists.


Bowl #2, Mary T Warren, glass, wire, 1978

The explosion of glass schools and studios in the 1970s and 1980s paves the way for a new industry of glass tools, equipment and glass suppliers.

Glass kilns originally were ceramic kilns with cones that required watching the stage and temperature of the progress. With the programmable computer controls, the fused glass industry was revolutionized. In the early 1980s Spectrum Glass introduced System 96, and Bullseye Glass introduces its “Tested Compatible” glass designed specifically for fusing.

Mosaic Bowl, Klaus Moje, glass, 1978

The work by glass artists pursue narrative, political, gender issues and create more multimedia work, combining glass with other materials (wood, metal, paint, stone). The “Art vs. craft” debate pushes aside technical issues.

Blast Off To Oblivion, Richard LaLonde, fused glass panel, 1983

By the mid-1980′s there was an explosion in alternatives to hot glass: pâte de verre, lampworking, kilnworking, coldworking, even microwaved glass jewelry, and women play an increasingly prominent role in the glass movement. With the increase in interest and new glass specific art galleries emerging, art museums begin to exhibit glass in contemporary art sections – and the interest in glass art helps glass magazines flourish.

Charles Parriott, glass, enamels in sgraffito technique, ca 1983

Pajaritos en la Cabeza (Little birds in the head) and Cabellos de Angel (Angel hair), Toots Zynsky, fused and thermo-formed glass threads, 1988

In the summer of 1971, Dale Chihuly brought a small group of his friends and a few RISD students, including Toots Zynsky, to Washington State. There, she participated in the founding and early development of Pilchuck Glass School. By early 1972, she was making installations with slumped plate glass. In 1973, she began experimenting with video and performance works that incorporated hot and cold glass with artist Buster Simpson. Her experimental work—which was characteristic of much of the art being made in the 1970s—was important for the development of glass as a material to explore issues in contemporary art.

Throughout the 1980′s art glass collectors sought to build collections based less on investment value and more on the inherent worth of the artworks and auctions of contemporary glass begin at Sotheby’s and Christie’s. The camaraderie of collectors and friendly competition for the glass artworks lead to a relatively stable market and the development of a glass community. In 1985, Glass Weekend begins at Wheaton Village, Millville, NJ. The biennial seminar brings together leading contemporary glass artists, collectors, galleries, and museum curators.

Opposing Fields, Charles Parriott, glass, silk-screened decal imagery, 1982

As it became more acceptable for artists to use of glass as a fine-art medium, there began a more expansive use of glass as a component – there was more multimedia work, where glass was combed with other materials (wood, metal, paint, stone), and a perceived reaction against the “beauty” of glass. Artists continued to pursue narrative, political, gender issues as expressed in the glass.

In 1989 the late Dan Klein, former director of Christie’s auction house and studio glass collector noted that hot glass, which had “enjoyed what seems in retrospect a disproportionate degree of popularity during the 1960’s lost ground to other techniques, until it was felt during the 1980’s that it had been almost completely phased out”.

An interesting note to end this segment of the history of fused glass within the context of the American Studio Glass Movement.

Click HERE to jump to Part 1 of the Washington Glass School blog about the History of Fused Glass.

UK Hosts 2nd International Symposium of Architectural Glass

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The UK International Institute of Research in Glass (IIRG) presents the 2nd International Symposium in Architectural Glass, focusing on ‘Working with light as a means of interaction between space and the mind’.

The emphasis of this event is on how flat glass is used three dimensionally in space and as a creative means of expression. This will explore both the theoretical and practical aspects of this process: idea exploration; design development; use of new technologies; the possibilities of technical restrictions; and the multi-disciplinary approach prevalent in many projects.

The Symposium will run on Thurs/Friday, May 17 &18, 2012 at the National Glass Centre in Sunderland, England. The event will take the form of traditional lectures, panel discussions, workshops demonstrations and informal networking opportunities. Speakers include:

Marian Karel

Dana Zamecnikova

Judith Schaechter

Algirdas Dovydenas

Daan Roosegaarde

Rodney Bender

Tim Macfarlane

Alexander Beleschenko

Early bird fees, if you book and pay before the 1 May:

One day £55, Two days £90

You can book your place through the University online shop, just search Conference/Events International Glass Symposium.

http://onlinestore.sunderland.ac.uk

University of Sunderland, National Glass Centre

Liberty Way

Sunderland, UK, SR6 0GL

Fulbright Scholars Janis & Tate Final Report

>Final Report by Michael Janis and Tim Tate regarding their Fulbright Specialist Program at the University Of Sunderland and the National Glass Center.

The bonds that were forged years ago when The City of Washington & Washington Glass School hosted the UK artists from Cohesion Glass Network art Artomatic’s Glass 3 event in Georgetown have been strengthened. Our connection with Washington, DC’s UK Sister City, Sunderland, the National Glass Center and the University of Sunderland; will continue throughout our careers. While our mission as Fulbright Scholars was to impart information, we leave having learned many lessons.

Our time in England began with presentations of our artwork and discussions of on new directions the glass world was embracing, such as Glass Secessionism, where artists are looking to move from the aesthetic of pure technique, materials and process and are advancing glass as a medium of sculptural expression in the narrative realm. The participants in the audiences came from the student body of the University as well as working artists from Sunderland, Newcastle, even as far away as Edinburgh, Scotland. The audience stayed long after the talk, and topics from the discussion continued to come up during our entire Fulbright program stay (and indeed, afterwards via the internet) showing the strong relevance of the concepts.

We created workshops for both the National Glass Center and Sunderland’s Creative Cohesion studio; the city’s artist incubator (that, in fact, used the Washington Glass School as its educational and business model). The City of Sunderland invited us to speak with students at a local secondary school during our stay, where we talked about careers in art. We also worked with the Leaders of the University’s Glass and Ceramics program and outlined methods we could extend the cooperative agreement that exists between Sunderland and Washington, DC.

The British tertiary arts education system is different from the US university model. Their MA program blends an MFA and BFA into a very concentrated program. The amount of expertise, materials and techniques they make available to students seems staggering. Sunderland’s may be the finest glass program in the world. With the National Glass Center, the physical space alone dwarfs any facility in the US (or even if one combined the arts centers of Pilchuck, Penland, Corning into one place). The University of Sunderland also offer a doctorate in glass, which is similar to an MFA, though the focus is research, as this is one of the primary methods for the University to receive funds. At the end of a student’s time at Sunderland University, they have a much broader base of knowledge regarding glass and its parameters. In many ways the educational system in the UK is ahead of the US, especially in how they treat glass sculpturally.

Our talks with the students included observations on the differences between the art practices of the two countries. The gallery/collector focus on technique driven vessels that drove the US Studio Glass Movement for over 40 years did not occur to the same extent in England. Instead of being gallery driven, the UK arts education sector seems to be more exhibition and grant driven. University and museum -sponsored art shows are more common as the way an artist would establish themselves. With this as their foundation, artists do not find it as necessary to focus on a single form. They are able operate with the freedom of each installation being potentially a different medium, voice, direction (though many times I would have liked to see the directions pushed much further.) In the US, with the galleries / collector based system, there exists the perception that an artist’s work be recognized for a particular form and for the work be within a series format.

The courses we held at the University included a mix of graduate and undergraduate students, and the workshops allowed and encouraged students working in different modules to interact. We found the students of the University to be some of the most engaged and accomplished students we have ever worked with. They wanted to absorb as much information as possible. Their energy was refreshing, and we added another workshop and added one talk more into the schedule.

Our final discussion was on Artist Covenant’s and how artists can create a network using social media as a way to support each other as a group. This informal talk was packed, standing room only. The artists were voracious in seeking advice on how to get their work seen and recognized. We hope we have helped energize them and perhaps rally them to work together towards their common good. The interest and respect we received from the students was over-whelming. Many of the artists have connected to us online.

We would like to thank all those who made this academic interaction possible: The Fulbright Commission, the Council for International Exchange of Scholars (CIES), The University of Sunderland and the National Glass Center, The City of Sunderland and Creative Cohesion. Each in their own way has made our visit into a life changing experience.

Our mission is to now to reflect and contemplate on not only what we have achieved, but to think of ways on how best to extend our hand and continue our symbiotic and synergistic relationship so that it will not only survive but thrive.

Lets all bridge the Atlantic for many more decades.

Tim Tate & Michael Janis , Co-Directors, Washington Glass School

Dinner with the Board of University of Sunderland and More Workshops!

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UK based glass artist Jeffrey Sarmiento shows Michael Janis his artwork. I’m sure he has not yet noticed the panel I’m holding is missing yet.

Artist Jeffrey Sarmiento popped into the University of Sunderland’s Architectural Glass studio where our Fulbright workshop classes were being held with an invitation to show how he uses the National Glass Center’s waterjet to cut intricate and delicate glass elements for his artwork. Naturally, I was excited to see 1.) how the waterjet works and 2.) Jeffrey at work.


Jeffrey Sarmiento and Michael Janis


Jeffrey offered to make one of the component layers for the demo piece I was using to show how the sgraffito process can be achieved in glass, and he explained the process. We looked thru some of his images that were in the computer to save time, and selected one of his images of the nearby Tyne bridge that was part of his series “Invisible Cities“.


Using a CADD program, Jeffrey cleans up the cut-off sections and outlines areas that will be positive or negative.


Jeffrey checks on the initialization of the process.

The pressurized water cuts through the glass and wood support panel.

The grit overflow tub.

The compressor unit located beyond the waterjet machinery.

The verticals of the waterjet cut Bullseye glass panel section are 3mm (less than 1/8″) thick.

Jeffrey pulls apart and assembles the positive and negative.

The connector nibs are pulled off each element.

The panels section loaded and fused in the kiln.

The fired panel integrated into the demo piece.

Washington Glass Fulbright duo of Michael Janis & Tim Tate (plus Kay Janis as chaperone) soldiered on with dinner at the National Glass Centre, hosted by the University of Sunderland Board of Directors. The food at the dinner was a treat – my first Yorkshire Pudding. I was told that Yorkshire pudding and was told the story that the origins of the dish was to provide a cheap way to fill the diners – thus stretching a lesser amount of the more expensive ingredients as the Yorkshire pudding was traditionally served first. The dinner was nothing but elegant.


L-R Fulbright Scholar Tim Tate; Graeme Thompson, Dean of Faculty of Arts, Design and Media; Dr Kevin Petrie, Leader of Glass & Ceramics; (not shown in photo Shirley Atkinson, Deputy Vice-Chancellor; Peter Fidler CBE Vice Chancellor & Chief Executive and James Bustard, Director of the NGC).


The Yorkshire Pudding served.


L-R Cathy Barnes, Chair of the NGC Board; Kay Janis; Chris Jobe, Governor of the Board

For dessert, Tim Tate said he hoped it would be the traditional English (and to American sensibilities, questionably named) “spotted dick“. We were served a beautiful light custard filled confection that was dubbed “spotted hemorroid” as a way to keep in the spirit of the night.

Though not “lite” in the sense of calories, it was a delectable, light dessert that was served.

It was a lovely, fun evening that was filled with discussions on how we can create opportunities in both countries that would facilitate the exchange artists, ideas and ways we can strengthen the relationships we have developed.

We had time for one more workshop, held at Sunderland’s not-for-profit artist center, Creative Cohesion.
This was to be a much more casual workshop, more a conversation – about the differences in the perceived US and the UK approach towards art and education, the changes that social media had on the art world, how artists can survive in tough economic times, the advantages of creating artist covenants.


Anne Tye, the Creative Industries Development Manager at Sunderland City Council introduces Tim and Michael to a packed audience.



The talks were packed with artists from Sunderland, Newcastle – as far away as Edinburgh, Scotland.

Tim Tate tells all.

The evening talk was the last of our scheduled Fulbright Scholar events. Our short project length had us fly out of town the next morning, heading back to Washington very early.


UK Artist profiles Part 3:

Andrew Livingston


Andrew Livingston works as an artist and is also Leader of CARCuos Ceramic Arts Research Center and MA Ceramics Program Leader at the University of Sunderland, The National Glass Center, Sunderland, UK.

Andrew’s work uses a range of media which acknowledges the interface between both traditional practice and new media. His continued exploration aims to challenge and expand contemporary locations in respect of the traditional positioning of ceramics. The integration of digital media and new technologies has become central to his artwork where new media is often positioned and juxtaposed with more traditional elements.

Andrew’s Parallax View series works in creating a fresh perspective on Tullie House‘s porcelain collection and explores preconceived notions of ceramics.

Surfeit 621 621 cast ceramic components, looped video, and drawings made from clay & graphite.

Britannia. ceramic and glass vitrine.

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Roger Tye

Roger Tye graduated from Manchester Poly in 1975 with a BA(Hons) in 3D Design – Glass and Metal. Roger to concentrate his work on sculptural and installation pieces that integrated glass and other media. Roger is the guiding force of the new not-for-profit artist studio – Creative Cohesion, located in Sunderland. Though Roger often works in creating beautiful traditional blown glass forms, he also works with slate and cast glass.


glass and slate

cast glass sheep, slate and steel

Up next posting: One more workshop video link and final thoughts on the Fulbright program.
Click HERE to jump to first posting about the Sunderland trip.


Click HERE to jump to the start of the postings about some of the super-cool UK artists.

London Affordable Art Fair & Imagery In Glass

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2012 London Affordable Art Fair held at London’s Battersea Park.


The first big workshop, Bas-Relief dry plaster casting at the UK’s National Glass Center had gone well (phew!) The Sunderland arts organization, Creative Cohesion, was participating in the London Affordable Art Fair and had invited Tim Tate and I to exhibit our work in the contemporary art show. Which we readily agreed. Tim, my wife Kay & I jumped on a train down to London, and joined the exhibitors at the fair that had opened a couple of days earlier.


Kay Janis watches the North Sea whizz by on the train to London.

Crowd watching is part of the fun of an art fair and at London AAF it included celebrity-sightings of Johnny Depp and Joanna Lumley (Joanna looks loverly, BTW)


Tim Tate’s artwork was featured in the Creative Cohesion Booth.

L-R Dinner with the Creative Cohesion artists Kay Janis, Tim Tate, Robyn Townsend, Joanne Mitchell, Roger Tye, Anne Tye


Tim Tate tuckered out on return train trip.

Our time in London was too short, soon we were back on the train to Sunderland, and preparing for my multi-day class “Imagery in Glass” that was held in the Architectural Glass Studio of the National Glass Center.


Outlining the basics for getting detailed imagery into fused glass.

Showing the different glass powder tools and how an artist can manipulate imagery.

The master level class is tasked with creating a number of sample panels.

Students drew inspiration from the view over the river.

The first firing of glass powder imagery.

Reviewing fused glass samples with class.


Discussing options for creating effects within the layered imagery.

Jeffrey Sarmiento created a component layer for the class demo project – the artwork suggests creating bridges between the art communities.

University of Sunderland Artists Part 2:

Jeffrey Sarmiento

Jeffrey Sarmiento was recently appointed Reader in Glass at the National Glass Center at the University of Sunderland. A Filipino-American artist, he holds an MFA in Glass from the Rhode Island School of Design. His research has led him to work widely in the US and Europe, having been awarded a Fulbright Scholarship Denmark. He was also a finalist for the Louis Comfort Tiffany Award and the Bombay Sapphire Prize. His most recent project is a 600kg glass map, permanently housed in the new Museum of Liverpool.

Liverpool Map Jeffrey Sarmiento and Inge Panneels, 2010

Bombay Encyclopedia

Jeffery Sarmiento talks about his work “Ossify”

Ossify 2010 British Glass Biennale Award Runner up


Emotional Leak Jeffrey Sarmiento & Erin Dickson, 2011

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Cate Watkinson

Cate Watkinson trained in 3-D Design, Glass with Ceramics at Sunderland Polytechnic.After leaving college Cate worked in Cambridge and the Channel Islands before returning to the North East to set up her architectural glass studio. Cate continues to run her business, Watkinson Glass Associates, while teaching at the University of Sunderland.

Over the years Cate has built on her experience, optimizing developments in new technologies, including new developments and techniques in construction. She has successfully completed a varied range of commissioned projects from glass public seating in city centers to a 22’ high sculpture for a shopping mall. From a stained glass window for Newcastle Cathedral to a laminated glass screen for the Arrivals Hall at Newcastle International Airport in the UK.

Other research activities include exploring the use of text and light through the public art commission entitled `Total Policing’, a glass and stainless steel sculpture situated at the front of the new head quarters for Northumbria Police in North Tyneside.


Total Policing


Baltic Business Quarter Public art/seating made with recycled glass.


Lookout

Next Up – Creative Cohesion artist development talk, dinner with the Uni Board, and more great UK artists!

Fulbright Scholars at University of Sunderland

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Tim Tate gets the class working in the kilns at the UK’s National Glass Center.


Our Fulbright schedule began to fill the days.The first workshop we held at the University of Sunderland’s National Glass Center: “Affecting Sheet Glass – Bas-Relief Imagery in Glass” was filled.
The technique of “dry plaster casing” was outlined, and firing schedules were converted from Fahrenheit to Celsius – along with converting all dimensions from imperial to metric. (Why did the US decide to not join the world in the 70′s when we were supposed to go all metricationed?)


Tim Betterton sets up the kilns for dry plaster casting.

After the firing, its like Christmas day as the students eagerly retrieve their kilnformed glass sculptures.

Removing the still warm glass from the kiln.

The fusing classes in the bas-relief method were a great success. It was great to work with students from many different levels at University, from foundation through PhD. 

We were able to meet a number of incredibly talented artists that were associated with the University and their work was so strong that we will post some of the work and profiles about the artists in each of the next few blog updates:

Kevin Petrie

Dr Kevin Petrie leads the Glass and Ceramics department at the University of Sunderland. Kevin studied Illustration at the University of Westminster and Ceramics and Glass at the Royal College of Art. He holds a PhD in ceramics and print from University of the West of England, Bristol. Kevin’s first book ‘Glass and Print’ established the crossovers between Glassmaking and Printmaking. The book forms the cornerstone of a period of research that established the cross over between two largely separate strands of creative activity. His second book, ‘Ceramic Transfer Printing’ draws together the great potential of print for ceramics. Kevin has written many articles and reviews for journals such as Ceramic Review and presented his work on glass, ceramics and print in Canada, Thailand, Hong Kong, Denmark, Germany, USA, Australia, and China. He was recently awarded a National Teaching Fellowship for his contribution to glass and ceramics teaching, in particular this relates to postgraduate at MA, MPhil and Ph.D levels.

Dr Petrie’s work often refers to the long tradition of graphic ceramic surface decoration at the same time as reflecting contemporary life.

St Pauls Church, kilnformed glass

Cell of Himself, Kiln form glass with printed inclusions, blown glass

Besides his own work as an artist, Dr Petrie is an author, lecturer, exhibition curator, and he is an authority and specialist on contemporary glass and ceramics matters. He has lectured at the following institutions: The University of the West of England, Bristol, The University of Westminster, London, Norwich School of Art and Design, Bath Central St. Martins School of Art and Design, London, Rajabhat Institute Changmai, Thailand, Australia National University, Canberra, Australia, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia, Sydney College of the Arts, Australia, Anla Glas, Denmark, Hong Kong Baptist University – Academy of Visual Arts.

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James Maskrey

If you are familiar with the first of the DC / Sunderland glass exhibition “Glass3″ that was held in Georgetown in 2008, you might have seen James Maskrey‘s work. His work has really transformed into haunting and ethereal work. Social situations, overheard conversations, observed interactions and personal experiences hugely inspire Jim’s work. Tall stories, elaborate hoaxes and peculiar facts, usually from a bygone era, are then translated into glass, often resulting in flamboyant narratives, theatrical compositions or simple objects with a twist. The series below are from a series based on the polar expeditions by Edward Wilson to collect penguin eggs.


The Worst Journey in the World, blown and hot sculptured glass details, 2011. Photo by David Williams

The Drayton Egg, blown and hot sculptured glass details, 2011. Photo by David Williams

Last Entry,Winter Journey, andThe Barrier, 2011, Blown and solid formed hot glass with printed glass inclusions.

Photos by David Williams

The works poetically and poignantly touches on themes of collecting and hubris. In the austral winter of 1911, Wilson led “The Winter Journey”, a doomed journey to the Emperor penguin’s breeding grounds at Cape Crozier to collect eggs for scientific study. The eggs were supposed to reveal the evolutionary links between dinosaurs and birds but their collection nearly killed the journey’s participants. Frozen and exhausted, they successfully collected three eggs and desperately exhausted they returned to Cape Evans, later describing this expedition “The Worst Journey in the World.”

James started working with glass in 1990. After graduating in 2000 with a Three Dimensional Design BA (Hons) degree in glass at The Surrey Institute of Art and Design he was appointed as Artist in Residence at the Surrey Institute. In 2001 James joined the Glass and Ceramics department at The University of Sunderland and graduated with an MA in Glass with distinction in 2004. Jim was recently named as one of the artists that will exhibit at the British Glass Biennale 2012.

Coming Next - London Affordable Art Fair & Imagery in Glass Class and featured Sunderland Artists: Jeff Sarmiento, Cate Watkinson and more!

Washington, DC Fulbright Scholars Connect with Ancestral Home of President George Washington

>As our time in the UK continued, Fellow Fulbright Scholar Tim Tate and I were invited to speak with students from St. Anthony’s – a technical specialist college in Sunderland.


Tim Tate & Michael Janis talk about the future of the arts to students at St Anthony’s in Sunderland, England.

After meeting with the students, Sunderland City Council’s Catherine Auld then took the DC crew on a quick jaunt to a couple of scenic spots that are around the city of Sunderland. First stop, the Town Hall and Indoor Market of Durham.

Tim Tate and Kay Janis at the Durham Town Hall.

Durham Town Hall and Market place were on the site since the Middle Ages. The current building dates from 1800′s.


Kay Janis seeks out notions from the indoor markets.

Nearby is the famed Durham Cathedral. The magnificent Romanesque structure dates from the 10th century, and boasts fine stained glass panels.


Durham Cathedral (and denim jeans artwork installation).

Catherine Auld, Kay Janis and Tim Tate at the Cathedral’s famed “Sanctuary Knocker”.

“Daily Bread” stained glass in Durham Cathedral by Mark Angus, 1984.

More importantly, the Cathedral, cloisters and grounds were used as some of the sets in the Harry Potter movie series.




Professor Tate as Harry Potter and the Fulbright Scholar, 2012

Afterwards, Catherine took Kay, Tim and I to see the ancestral home of George Washington in the county now known as Tyne and Wear. Although the hall was closed, Catherine worked her magic and arranged for a private tour of the building.


Washington Old Hall

George Washington’s ancestors were natives of this area as far back as the 12th century, and members of his family continued to live there for almost five hundred years.

The Saxon Origin of the Washington Family Name: This was, in fact, where the purely Saxon name of Washington derived. Among the first to bear it were the descendants of William de Hartburn near Stockton [-on-Tees], who came to live in the manor now known as Washington Old Hall as long before as 1183.

At that time, people in England and elsewhere had no surnames as we know them today, and were most often identified by the locations in which they lived. “Washington” was one of them. The name originally meant “the estate of the Hwaes family.’ “Hwaes” in its turn was the name of a Saxon chief, while “ynga” meant “family” and “ton” – a typically Saxon suffix – stood for “estate.” These three terms were linked and given a tinge of French since, like many prominent families in England, the new Washingtons sought to identify themselves with the French Plantagenet kings who succeeded the Normans and ruled England after 1154. The result was the original form of Washington – “de Wessyngton”.

Washington, DC Fulbright Scholars Tim Tate and Michael Janis pay homage to the Washington Old Hall in Durham County, UK.

Washington Old Hall was pulled down and rebuilt by the Bishop of Durham, who purchased the property from William de Wessyngton in 1613.Sadly, though, some three centuries later, it had become very dilapidated. The Hall was condemned as unfit for human habitation, and destined for demolition. It was fortunately saved from demolition by a committee specially formed to preserve it, and after thoroughgoing restoration work, the Hall was officially opened in 1955 by the then American ambassador, Winthrop W. Aldrich. Two years later, the Hall was taken over by the National Trust, an organization dedicated to preserving places of historical interest or natural beauty.


Garth Clark lecture on Ai Weiwei ceramics

The next morning, Garth Clark, noted art historian and critic – who the Washington Glass School has posted about his thoughts on the Death of Craft previously – gave a fascinating and provocative lecture about the work of Chinese bad-boy ceramic artist Ai Weiwei.

Coming Next: Workshops at University of Sunderland.

Click here to jump to first part of the Fulbright Journey blog posts.