Washington Glass Studio Projects

Most of you know about the Washington Glass School’s extensive glass classes and the artwork, but many of you don’t know the third component of the Washington Glass Studio.  The Washington Glass Studio was established in 2001 to deliver artwork to the public realm by creating site specific art for architectural and landscape environments. Here is a highlight of a few recent projects to give a scope of what we are capable of producing.

"Gateway To Community"   Glass and steel arch for Washington, DC Ward 7. Under Construction

“Gateway To Community” Glass and steel arch for Washington, DC Ward 7. Under Construction

We are currently finishing a commissioned public art sculpture in Washington, DC’s Ward 7 - in front of the Unity Parkside Health Clinic and across the street from Caesar Chavez High School. This sculpture will be one of the first public art projects in Ward 7. Consisting of a 16 foot high tri-sided glass covered arch, the entire concept was derived from meeting with the community in the Kenilworth neighborhood.

The residents of the community participated in the creation of the glass elements for the public artwork sculpture.

The residents of the community participated in the creation of the glass elements for the public artwork sculpture.

Made up from steel tube sections the steel framework is clad in covered in colorful kilncast glass panels bolted to the structure. Over 300 tiles were required to complete the structure. These 300 tiles we all hand made by volunteers in the community surrounding the arch. The artwork will be internally illuminated with LED lighting throughout the sculpture. Installation is set for end of May/early June.

The Architect of the Capitol provides design direction for the historic Library of Congress Adams Building.

The Architect of the Capitol provides design direction for the historic Library of Congress Adams Building.

Of our recent public art works, the most acclaimed is our cast glass doors for the Library of Congress’ Adams Building. The original doors were cast bronze from the early WPA days. They were designed by Lee Lawrie, who is most known for his designs at Rockefeller Center in NYC. The original bronze bas-relief doors had ceased to be functional years ago, and the entrances were not up to current safety and security code. In a moment of courage and insight, one of the architects of the Architect Of The Capital’s office realized that if the bronze doors were redesigned with glass replicas of the original bronze bas-relief, then he could bring them up to code and increase safety, for much less money.  We then took on this multi-year project, with spectacular results.

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There were 6 sets of these doors, facing the east and west sides of the Adams Building. American Craft Magazine did a feature story on our work for the Library of Congress and its process – click here to jump to the magazine’s article online.

A smaller scale work was created for the charity organization “Food and Friends” new outdoor park. We made a cast glass Donor Wall that was to honor those who have passed away, to support to charitable work of the organization and to encourage donors to participate. Bas-relief cast glass panels in complementary colors set into a steel framework allows light to pass thru the memorial wall and create colors and patterns on the surrounding plaza. The nature of the glass panels encourages tactile investigation and contemplative interaction.

Food and Friends organization commissioned an outdoor donor wall for their park alongside their Riggs Road facility.

Food and Friends organization commissioned an outdoor donor wall for their park alongside the charity’s Washington, DC facility.

Lastly, one of our most distinguished works was for the Safeway supermarket Bethesda, Maryland. The original store was to be demolished to make way for a much larger structure with parking on the ground floor. As the grocer was committed to Green building, the new structure was to be the first LEED certified grocery store in Montgomery County, and we integrated eco-friendly materials, using recycled glass from the demolished store and re-purposing them to make the new glass and steel ground level building façade. The ground floor building skin was designed to conceal the parking garage function without completely enclosing it.  Here is the result:

Glass recycled from the original site's building was incorporated into Safeway supermarket's first LEED certified building in Montgomery County, MD.

Glass recycled from the original site’s building was incorporated into Safeway supermarket’s first LEED certified building in Montgomery County, MD.

This is only a fraction of what we have competed and what we are capable of doing. No job is too large or too complex. Our architectural design and technical team work well with architects and designers. We are currently looking for additional projects, so let us know in case you know of any, or know someone who might!

Sunderland, UK Artist’s Residency @ Washington Glass School

criss.chaneyTwo internationally recognized glass artists have come to the Washington Glass School for an artist residency. Criss Chaney and Robyn Townsend are both UK-based glass artists that work from Sunderland’s Creative Cohesion art studio. During the International Glass And Clay exhibit in March of 2013, Robyn and Criss presented a workshop on glass inclusions at the Washington Glass School.


2013 workshop led by artists Robyn Townsend and Criss Chaney (center) outline their process of inclusions into fused glass.

Robyn Townsend said that she looks forward to the opportunity to “explore new directions” in glass art in her return to Washington, DC. If you are in the area – make sure that you stop in and welcome the artists back to DC!


Washington Glass School’s 13th Anniversary Open House & Bar Mitzvah!

13 years old already! Time to become an adult…..and have one great party! erwin.timmers.clusterx.recycled_glass.bottle.ledCome on by…lots of music, food…and most of all..great art! See works by wonderful artists like Michael Janis, Erwin Timmers, Sean Hennessey and Tim Tate..plus others!
Thanks to all who have supported us for so many years! Please stop on by just to say hi, see wonderful glass and join us in this celebration!


The adjacent artists studios here in the Gateway Arts District are part of the Open Studio Tour – make a day of it!


Where: Washington Glass School
3700 Otis St.
Mt. Rainier, Md 20712

When: Saturday, May 10th from noon to 5pm.

Smithsonian American Art Museum Features Michael Janis

Smithsonian Distinguished Artist Michael Janis

Michael Janis at the Smithsonian Museum. Photo by Miriam Rosenthal.


Washington Glass School sgraffito workshop. Photo by Miriam Rosenthal.

The James Renwick Alliance (JRA) is an independent national non-profit organization that celebrates the achievements of America’s craft artists and fosters scholarship, education and public appreciation of craft art. The JRA is the exclusive support group of the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the U.S. national showcase of contemporary American craft. Washington Glass School Co-Director Michael Janis was named “Distinguished Artist” by the JRA. The weekend’s events included a sgraffito glass workshop with Michael held at the Washington Glass School and Michael Janis presented at the Smithsonian Museum’s Turner Auditorium outlining his career, process, and artwork. The talk at the museum was broadcast live and the Smithsonian staff promised that it would be available online soon. 3.michael.janis.smithsonian.american.art.museum.artist_glassThe final event was the JRA hosted dinner on Sunday evening – it was a very busy exciting weekend for the Washington Glass School!4.a.distinguished_artist.james.renwick.alliance.shea.trump.janis_glass_cuddle

Congratulations to Michael – well done and well deserved!


Michael Janis @ Smithsonian American Art Museum


Smithsonian’s American Art Museum McEvoy Auditorium will feature Michael Janis starting at 2pm Sunday, May 4th.

Michael Janis was recently featured in American Craft Magazine as “one of a select number of artists in the world creating sgraffito glass art.” The Creative Glass Center of America dubbed him a “Rising
Star of the 21st Century.” His mastery of this difficult technique shows itself in the dreamlike images which he creates by “drawing” with frit powders upon glass which is then fused into painterly panels of
subtle depth and luminosity. This architect-turned-glass-art-star will be made a James Renwick Alliance Distinguished Artist on the weekend of May 3-4.  On Sunday, Michael Janis will present a slide lecture on his work and career at the Smithsonian American Art Museum.michael.janis.smithsonian.american.art.museum

Janis is a Fulbright Scholar and has taught at the UK’s National Glass Centre at Sunderland University. His work is included in the collection of the Art Institute of Chicago and numerous private collections. He will be teaching at Penland School of Craft in August.

Richard Jolley’s Magnum Opus


A portion of glass artist Richard Jolley’s permanent installation “Cycle of Life”. Photo by Paul Efird.

knoxville.museum.artThe biggest event in the Knoxville Museum of Art’s history since the building opened in Tennessee in 1990 – the public unveiling, on May 4th, 2014, of artist Richard Jolley’s “Cycle of Life: Within the Power of Dreams and the Wonder of Infinity,” a seven-ton, 105-foot wide, 30-foot tall glass sculpture installed in the museum’s Great Hall.

The piece cost $1 million and took Richard and his eight-person staff five years to design and construct; it took another three months to hang. It is Richard’s grandest and most ambitious undertaking. It is also being touted as a turning point for the museum itself, a catalyst for more visitors, more money, and international recognition. It will permanently adorn the Knoxville Museum‘s 3,500-square-foot Great Hall.desire.richard.jolley_kma.4

Forged in glass and steel, the artwork portrays the epic story of humanity The piece will consist of seven huge glass and steel panels.

Click HERE to jump to Knoxville News Sentinel online photos of the private unveiling.

Breaking Through: Moving4ward @ Pittsburgh Glass Center

emering american women glass artistAn incredible group exhibit at PA’s Hodge Gallery at the Pittsburgh Glass Center (PGC) opens May 2nd, 2014, titled “Breaking Through: Moving 4ward”. 

Each of the women artists had spent a month in residence at PGC, where they experimented with new techniques for their craft, displaying varying styles and concepts as they worked from four different studios within PGC. Missouri-based glass artist Laura Beth Konopinski works primarily with glass, although uses other mediums including photography and metal. 

Arising from her passion and labors with environmental conservation, Konopinski repurposes used materials and integrates carefully preserved organic compounds into sculpted layers of glass vessels. She uses transparent glass as a lens for distortion to emphasize the ambiguous nature of human belief in reality. 

Nadine Saylor of Hershey, Pa. explores the dichotomy of fantasy and reality in a work called “The Illusion of Ordinary Life.” It recreates a version of a vintage motion lamp from the 30s and 40s. Imagery of a beggar woman on the streets in Venice is superimposed with images of carousel horses. Saylor currently teaches glass classes at Harrisburg Area Community College.

Also featured in the show are Lisa Demagall and Anna Mlasowsky.moving4ward_pgc

Breaking Through: Moving 4ward

May 2 thru July 20, 2014; Opening reception: May 2, 2014, 6 PM

Pittsburgh Glass Center, Hodge Gallery

5472 Penn Ave. , Pittsburgh, PA 15206

Habatat Michigan’s 42nd International Glass Invitational Opens Next Week

Habatat Galleries was established in 1971 in a suburb of Detroit, Michigan. It is the oldest and largest gallery in the United States devoted exclusively to artists working with glass as their medium. The 12,000 sq. ft. gallery in Royal Oak, MI, is the home of the International Glass Invitational, which for 42 years has introduced and exhibited the greatest artists working creatively with glass. This year, three artists from the Washington Glass School – Sean Hennessey, Michael Janis and Tim Tate are included in the exhibition.


Habatat Galleries – Michigan works with many museums and art centers where they have developed exhibits that have been displayed in over 100 public institutions. Each year Habatat publishes catalogs celebrating these both national and international events.

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Habatat Gallery has the catalog for the 42 International Glass Invitational online – click on image to jump to online publication.

Congrats Jeff Zimmer! Coburg Prize for Contemporary Glass

coburg.glass.zimmerThe Coburg Prize for Contemporary Glass – a European competition for modern glass – just announced the winners for 2014, and WGS alum Jeff Zimmer was awarded 2nd Place in this prestigious award!

At Germany’s Veste Coburg and the European Museum of Modern Glass in nearby Rödental, 170 works of art by 150 international artists from 26 nations.


Jeff Zimmer works his glass imagery at the Washington Glass School during a 2011 visit.

The international panel of judges consisted of Sven Hauschke, Veste Coburg Art Collections, Milan Hlaveš, Museum of Decorative Arts, Prague, Susanne Jøker-Johnsen, Bornholm, Peter Layton, London, Jutta-Annette Page, Toledo Museum of Art, Toledo/Ohio, Anne Vanlatum, Musée-Atelier départemental du Verre, Sars-Poteries and as a non-voting member Klaus Weschenfelder, Veste Coburg Art Collections, selected from the participating artists 11 prize winners.


Jeff Zimmer, “The Disconnect Between Action and Consequence (Drone I) 2013, Layered hand enameled glass, LED

Jeff’s socially conscious glass works have tremendous depth – due to the physical layering of glass plates. Jeff makes masterly use of the transparency of the medium and imbues his works with a sense of discomfort and ambiguity.

Big Congratulations Jeff!!