Have A Look Inside the Casting Kiln

A time lapse of the glass for the Giant Magellan Telescope’s fourth mirror melting, captured from inside the kiln.  The Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT) will be one member of the next class of super giant earth-based telescopes that promises to revolutionize our view and understanding of the universe. It will be constructed in the Las Campanas Observatory in Chile. Commissioning of the telescope is scheduled to begin in 2021.The mirror is made using a unique “spin cast” process; the furnace is rotated at 5 rpm as the glass melts. This gives the mirror surface a rounded, or parabolic shape. The mirror will still require additional shaping by grinding to achieve optical tolerances, however, this spinning process saves several tons of glass and significantly shortens the annealing and grinding time because the glass is already in a parabolic shape.
Once the furnace is started, the temperature is maintained for four hours to allow the glass to melt and fill the mold. As the glass is heated it gradually becomes more fluid. Eventually it becomes fluid enough that as the oven is spinning the glass rises up the side of the furnace (the same way as if you were spinning a bucket of water). After more heating the glass becomes fluid enough that it can sink down into the mold.The glass is then cooled rapidly to 900°C (1652°F), and then cooled more slowly for three months to avoid strains in the final mirror.

Washington Glass School Goes All SOFA Chicago

SOFA_CHICAGO_500x500Every fall Chicago, IL hosts the critically acclaimed Sculpture Objects & Functional Art Expo, more commonly known as SOFA. SOFA Chicago 2015 will be held November 6 – 8, 2015 at Navy Pier’s Festival Hall, where masterworks from top international galleries and dealers from numerous countries will exhibit. An opening night preview will be held Thursday, November 5. On par with Art Basel and TEFAF Maastricht, the critically acclaimed art fair has been continuously run every year since 1994. What distinguishes SOFA from other top art events is its focus on three-dimensional artworks that cross the boundaries of fine art, decorative art and design. SOFA is noted for its exceptional presentation of artwork by international galleries and it is enhanced by the many talks to attend in the Lecture Series given by award-wining designers and artists. 

This year, a number of Washington Glass School artists will be featured at the art fair, and the artists are bringing new works that have taken them in new directions. Tim Tate will be giving a “Booth Talk” at Habatat Galleries (space #1400) on Saturday, Nov 7 @ 1:00 pm. Just after that talk, at 2:00 pm, Sean Hennessey and Michael Janis will be featured at the Art Alliance for Contemporary Glass (AACG) Ice Cream Social on the terrace at Navy Pier.

Allegra Marquart, "The Princess and the Pea", 2015, Cast glass shapes wall mounted over a sewn panel, 14"x 28"

Allegra Marquart, “The Princess and the Pea”, Cast glass shapes wall mounted over a sewn panel, 14″x 28″ photo: Pete Duvall

Allegra Marquart (Maurine Littleton Gallery, Space #821) has mixed her cast glass with textile, exploring the new possibilities for color, texture and especially line. Allegra has been stitching connections that create open, delicate looking backgrounds that complements and comments on the bolder glass shapes which are mounted slightly in front.  The glass and the threads compliment concepts of fragility and ambiguity. 

Sean Hennessey

Sean Hennessey, clockwise from top left: “The Doors that May Open”, “The Relentless Path Upward”, “The Gift of Time”, “From Mud and Soap”, cast glass, imagery, steel, LED; 24″ x 36







Sean Hennessey (Habatat Galleries, Space #1400) will be presenting works that take him in a new direction, both in terms of the brightness of the colors and in the use of a separate panel that incorporates photographed and drawn imagery, telling a slightly different side of the story from the larger panel. 

Audrey Wilson (Alida Anderson Art Projects, Space #402) makes her debut at the art fair. Her new mixed media works explore alternate and extraordinary realms.

Audrey Wilson, " Luminiferous Aether Electrode"

Audrey Wilson, ” Luminiferous Aether Electrode”, Cast glass, electronics, found objects, photo Pete Duvall

Michael Janis (Maurine Littleton Gallery, Space #821) explores concepts of identity with his frit powder (sgraffito) drawings with cast glass elements. New this year are his ceramic and glass sculptures.

Michael Janis, "Regeneration", cast glass, ceramic, 14” x 16” x 12” photo: Pete Duvall

Michael Janis, “Regeneration”, cast glass, ceramic, 14” x 16” x 12” photo: Pete Duvall




Tim Tate (Habatat Galleries, Space #1400) is showing his new illuminated pieces, his infinity series. Tim entices the viewer to look deeply into his created environments, create an optical and physical illusion of infinity through apparent limitless space.  There is an intimacy created by viewing deeply into a circular opening, as if peering through a portal to another reality.

Tim Tate, "Violet Tattoo Infinity", Cast Poly-Vitro, Glass, Lighting; photo: Pete Duvall

Tim Tate, “Violet Tattoo Infinity”, Cast Poly-Vitro, Glass, Lighting; photo: Pete Duvall






SOFA Chicago November 5-8, 2015

600 East Grand Avenue
Chicago, IL 60611


Chicago SOFA Floor Plan 2015

A Special Halloween Gathering – with Laura Donefer!

Saturday, October 31, 2015, 2 to 4pm

Laura Donefer and the Washington Glass School would like to invite all to a special Halloween presentation.


Laura Donefer works the glass fashion.

Laura Donefer will give a lively talk about her 35 years working with glass, from her infamous Glass Fashion Shows to her colorful Amulet Baskets to her more emotional installations. laura.donefer.art.jpgIf you have not been to the Washington Glass School in a while, there are a lot of new things to see!

In the spirit of the holiday, Laura Donefer has suggested (tho not required) that everyone wear costumes! 


Washington Glass School

3700 Otis St., Mt. Rainier, MD 20712

George Koch Named Finalist in We DC Awards

we.dc.awardThe Washington DC Economic Partnership (WDCEP) announced the finalists for the inaugural We DC Awards that honor and recognize Washington, DC leaders for their vision, energy, investment, and time to develop a thriving economic ecosystem in Washington, DC. WDCEP will recognize three visionaries from Washington, DC -based real estate, technology, and creative economy markets, whose contribution has made a significant impact within the city.

WDCEP will present the We DC awards at its 2015 Annual Meeting and Economic Showcase taking place on Friday, October 30 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. This year’s annual meeting will mark 15 years of WDCEP’s contribution to the District’s economy and celebrate the city’s accomplishments achieved throughout the year.

The categories and criteria for the three We DC Awards are as follows:

We DC | Real Estate  | We Dream
This award will recognize an individual and/or company that are in commercial or housing development, architecture, construction management, real estate brokerage, and property management.



PN Hoffman

Shalom Baranes Associates

Menkiti Group

We DC  | Innovation + Tech  | We Imagine
This award will honor an individual or company in the high technology, web, application, or graphic design, or data and research.


Allen Gannett, TrackMaven

Andrew C. Florance, CoStar Group

Sibyl Edwards, DC Web Women

Ben Miller, Fundrise


George Koch (L) strategizes with WGS co-director Tim Tate about the next DC based international art fair.

We DC  | Creative Economy  | We Create
This award will recognize an individual or company in the theater, restaurant or culinary, culture (museum, gallery, etc.), music, art, or film industries.


Julianne Brienza, Capital Fringe

Shane Pomajambo, Art Whino and Blind Whino

Jonas Singer & Cullen Gilchrist, Union Kitchen

George Koch, Center for the Creative Economy

We are so happy to learn that George Koch – of Artomatic, and the organizer of a number of US/UK glass exhibits, “Glass 3” was held in Georgetown 2008; in 2009, 38 artists from Sunderland participated in the 10th Artomatic, held near the Navy Yard, and the 2013 International Glass & Clay exhibit held at the Edison Place Gallery.

Congratulations & Good Luck George!


For more info and to register for the WDCEP 2015 Annual Meeting and ECON Showcase – click HERE.


Syl Mathis Cast Glass Featured @ Bethesda Row

bethesda.header.logoBethesda Row Arts Festival

4841 Bethesda Ave, Bethesda, MD

The Bethesda Row neighborhood is located one block west of Wisconsin Avenue (within easy walking distance of the Bethesda Metro station) on block framed by Woodmont Avenue, Bethesda Avenue and Elm Street -east of Arlington Road.

October 17-18, 2015, Saturday 11am-6pm, Sunday 10am-5pm

syl mathis cast glass art

Syl Mathis’ mixed media sculpture

The Bethesda Row Arts Festival is one of the leading fine art and craft festivals in the mid-Atlantic. Featuring 190 juried museum quality artists, the streets of Bethesda Row transform into an outdoor art gallery. Art collectors and lovers will find one of a kind top quality: ceramics, drawing, pastels, fiber, decorative, fiber, wearables, glass, graphics/printmaking, jewelry, metalwork, mixed media 2D, mixed media 3D, oil/acrylic painting, photography, digital art, sculpture, watercolor, and wood. WGS artist Syl Mathis is one of the featured artists exhibiting.

For more information: http://www.bethesdarowarts.org/show-information/