It was a year to be confounded, shocked, outraged, exuberant, and saddened. Whether you loved 2016 or hated it, one thing is clear: It was a year full of the unexpected.
Studio Glass great Marvin Lipofsky passed away January 15, 2016. Marvin Lipofsky was one of the six students that Studio Glass founder Harvey Littleton instructed in a program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in fall 1962 and spring 1963. Marvin’s work has been an integral component of modern sculpture in glass for some 50 years while his personality was a challenge for many.
WGS alum Cheryl P Derricotte had a great year! Cheryl was a finalist in the 2016 Society for Contemporary Craft (SCC) LEAP awards. Later in the year, Cheryl received rave reviews with her solo exhibit “Ghost/Ships” at San Francisco’s Museum of the African Diaspora (MoAD).
It has been a tumultuous year for art glass makers. Researchers found elevated levels of toxic heavy metals near Uroboros and Bullseye Glass factories in Portland, OR, prompting ramped up regulation of the industry. Oregon’s EPA had focused its regulations that control emissions. The new regulations require costly industrial filters that prevent the release of glass production’s toxic byproducts. The EPA regulators later identified 14 factories that may make art glass using heavy metals.The cease and desist order threw art glass production in the US for a loop, with the glass companies struggling to comply. Bullseye Glass voluntarily stopped using the metals in its manufacturing process. Later it said it would never again use arsenic. It also suspended the use of chromium. The EPA story would play out all year long, closing a number of US art glass makers and shifting fabricators out of the country.
On a happier note, the Corning Museum of Glass (CMoG) announced the appointment of Susie J. Silbert as curator of modern and contemporary glass.
In February, members of the National Capital Area Glass Guild (NCAGG) visited at the Washington Glass School in February for a presentation on public art works. Tim Tate, Erwin Timmers and Michael Janis covered how possible site-specific projects are identified, how proposals were put together, and how a team is created to create the public art and installations – a real soup to nuts presentation.
Speaking of site-specific commissions, also in February, Washington Glass Studio completed two commissions for artwork in a refurbished downtown Bethesda building lobby. Working with art consultants, Directions in Art, Washington Glass Studio designed and fabricated artwork for two levels of an office building that was undergoing a major renovation.
In March, the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery’s Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition selected Penland resident artist Dean Allison‘s cast glass sculpture as one of the 43 finalists selected from the competition’s more than 2,500 entries received in its celebrated competition, held every three years.
Michigan’s Habatat Galleries exhibited at New York Art Fair SCOPE featuring works by Tim Tate, Sean Hennessey and Michael Janis.
In April, Sean Hennessey taught his bas relief cast glass and color techniques at NC’s Penland School of Craft, with Audrey Wilson as his teaching assistant.
The Laurel Library public artwork community glass “quilting bee” workshops began in April – and making the sculpture would continue most of the summer.
In a move that shocked many in the art glass world, Spectrum Glass company announced that they were going out of business. Spectrum, which made System 96 fusing glass and numerous varieties of stained glass stated that “due to several factors, it’s no longer financially feasible for Spectrum Glass to continue to operate.” These factors included the EPA regulations imposed as of February 2016. In September, Spectrum announced that they “…finalized the sale of Spectrum Glass and System 96 brands, equipment, and formulas to world-renowned glass manufacturer Oceanside Glasstile (OGT) in Carlsbad, CA.”
The James Renwick Alliance “Distinguished Artist” series – glass artist Sibylle Peretti was in Washington, DC for a workshop. On Sunday, May 22, Sibylle Peretti presented her works to the audience that gathered at the Smithsonian Renwick Gallery.
Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) Craft/Material Studies student Sandhya Kiran Chiluvuri did a stint of independent study at Washington Glass School. Sandhya graduated VCU in just 2 and a half years after a career at a male-dominated computer job.
The Americans for the Arts annual convention was June 17 – 19, 2016, held in Boston, MA. The Washington Glass Studio is proud to have made the awards for the 2016 Annual Leadership Awards.
The permanent collection returned to the refurbished Smithsonian Museum’s Renwick Gallery with a dynamic new presentation of 80+ objects celebrating craft as a discipline and an approach to living differently in the modern world. The installation, titled “Connections” featured favorites alongside new acquisitions made during the museum’s renovation. Nora Atkinson, The Lloyd Herman Curator of Craft, selected the objects and conceived the innovative presentation.
Pokémon Go — the augmented-reality game that sent the classic Japanese franchise into a new age — took the world by storm in July. The Washington Glass School was listed as a Pokestop, with the nearby Mt Rainier Mini-Park was designated a Poke gym. Go Figure.
The Laurel Library public art sculpture continued in both the workshops and in assemblage. Glass artist Josh Hershman joined in on the process.
Curator Jennifer Lindsay brought together two sculptors, Laurel Lukaszewski (ceramics) and Joseph A. Corcoran (glass) to create site-specific installations for the Brentwood Arts Exchange in the show “Other Worlds of Imagination and Wonder“. Using collaborative installations as a way to intensify the viewer’s immersion in a transformative or revelatory experience, Lindsay juxtaposed works by both artists, from miniature to monumental, illuminating each artist’s individual responses to materials, nature, culture, and the environment.
Washington, D.C.’s 31st Annual Mayor’s Arts Awards ceremony was held at the Historic Lincoln Theater and Washington Glass School Co-Director Michael Janis was awarded the “Excellence in the Arts” honor! The DC Mayor’s Arts Awards are the most prestigious honors conferred by the city of Washington, D.C. on artists, teachers, nonprofit organizations and patrons of the arts and humanities.
Artist Klaus Moje, who founded the Glass Workshop at the Australian National University School of Art, passed away in September at the age of 79. Klaus Moje had been recognized internationally as one of the most significant innovators in the medium of glass, and as a highly influential educator who has inspired several generations of young artists. Born in Hamburg, Germany, Moje established his first studio, in 1961. He relocated to Australia in 1982, where he founded the Glass Workshop of the Canberra School of Art and the modern art glass movement in Australia.
Michael Janis’ solo exhibit at Maurine Littleton Gallery – “Echoes of Leaves and Shadows” opened to great reviews. Dr Claudia Rousseau – Professor of Art History at Montgomery College – reviewed the show in the East City Art “glass works that cross the line between sculpture (as in relief sculpture) and painting, and which stand out in brilliant color….From both a technical and subjective viewpoint this is a striking show.” Washington Post Arts Critic Mark Jenkins wrote that Janis’ work “combine the stateliness of stained-glass windows with the vivacity of pop art — half medieval cathedral, half 1960s Vogue”.
Uroboros Glass Company- also located in Portland- announced that they will be shutting down after almost 44 years in the business. In December, Uroboros announced that the company had been sold and will continue production in Mexico. Bullseye Glass had announced that, under the supervision of the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, Bullseye has implemented an environmental protection capital investment program, installing baghouses on 12 of their furnaces. Permanent rules adopted by the Oregon’s Environmental Quality Commission in September require the installation of additional technology, which were planned to be in place in December. Bullseye plans to resume full production of glass in early 2017. Until then, they are not be able to produce glasses containing chrome. BE continues to develop new chrome-free greens and have reformulated other styles. One of the styles BE reformulated is 0100 Black, which appears to be slightly more transparent than it was in the past. BE has advised that this will be the case until they can once again use chrome.
SOFA Chicago! Once again, a number of artists from Washington Glass School were featured at SOFA CHICAGO - one of the longest running art fairs in the world, and the oldest art fair in Chicago.
After 108 years of waiting, the Chicago Cubs won the 2016 World Series with 8-7 victory in the final game over the Cleveland Indians. Awesome.
Vitrum Studios announced that their glass resource center would close at the end of 2016. Vitrum Studio was started by Judith Conway and Kevin O’Toole in 2001.
The Washington Glass Studio (WGS) completed installation of a community based site specific public art commission for Prince George’s County Laurel Library. On opening day the community members that participated in the creation of the over 100 glass panels eagerly sought out the location of their artworks.
The international contemporary art world descended on Miami, Florida for the infamous Art Basel Miami Beach exposition, and its numerous satellite events. The exhibits were as outrageous as ever, and Washington Glass School artists Tim Tate and Audrey Wilson’s work were featured at the shows. Tim Tate had a solo booth at SCOPE Miami, and Audrey Wilson at CONTEXT, showing at Alida Anderson Art Projects.
PBS’ Maryland Public Television (MPT) tapped our Michael Janis to be Co-Host on the fifth season of the series ‘Artworks’ with host Rhea Feikin.The show features intriguing profiles of established, emerging and experimental artists from across the country working in all creative categories: musicians, performers, visual artists, writers, designers, and artisans.
So much to absorb. Yet if 2016 was a world turned upside down, just wait until next year!
The instructors and artists at the Washington Glass School and Studio wish All a Happy New Year!