Glass History Lesson – Harvey Littleton 1962 Workshops

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As well as being an influential and successful glass artist, Harvey Littleton is known as an outspoken advocate of arts education. He organized the first hot glass course within an American University, which in turn promoted the idea of glass as a valid course of study across university art departments in the Midwest and North Eastern United States. He famously stated that ‘Technique is Cheap’, and fueled debate around the role and importance to the artist of material versus technique and the impact of content in the creation of glass art.

Harvey K Littleton

During the 1950s, studio ceramics and other craft media in the U.S. began to gain in popularity and importance, and artists interested in glass looked for new paths outside industry sources. At that time, access to glass was only through industrial production. Students were not taught hands-on techniques with the material; the craft of working with hot glass was still taught at the factories, under the apprenticeship system. The catalyst for the development of studio glass was Harvey Littleton, a teaching ceramist at the University of Wisconsin in Madison.

Informed by his own background in the material (he grew up in the shadow of Corning Glassworks, where his father headed Research and Development during the 1930′s), Harvey started experimenting with hot glass in his studio in 1958. He eventually realized that his desire to develop studio glassblowing could become a reality after experiencing limited success with his own glassblowing experiments.

The 1962 Toledo Workshop program

Harvey joined forces with the Toledo Museum of Art, the site of the “birth” of the American Studio Glass movement during two historic glassblowing workshops in 1962. He worked with glass research scientist Dominick Labino, who successfully devised a small, inexpensive furnace in which glass could be melted and worked, making it affordable and possible for the first time for artists to blow glass in independent studios.

Harvey Littleton subsequently started a glass program at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, and some of his early students were Dale Chihuly, Marvin Lipofsky, and Fritz Dreisbach, all artists who have played seminal roles in raising the awareness of studio glass around the world.Source: CMOG

As GlassWeekend 2011 gets started, The Washington Glass School Blog visited with Harvey’s daughter Maurine Littleton at her art gallery in Washington, DC, as she prepared for the exhibition. Maurine brought out some of the early glass pieces made by Harvey at the workshops.

Maurine Littleton discusses the early Harvey Littleton pieces. In the background are Harvey Littleton works ca 1986.

Two Harvey Littleton vases from the 1962 Toledo workshop. The pieces are engraved on the bottom with Harvey’s name and date.

Harvey’s first pieces in blown glass were, like his earlier works in pottery, functional forms: vases, bowls and paperweights. His breakthrough to non-functional form came in 1963 when, with no purpose in mind, he remelted and finished a glass piece that he had earlier smashed in a fit of anger. The object lay in his studio for several weeks before he decided to grind the bottom. As Harvey recounts in his 1971 book Glassblowing: A Search for Form, he brought the object into the house where “it aroused such antipathy in my wife that I looked at it much more closely, finally deciding to send it to an exhibition. Its refusal there made me even more obstinate, and I took it to New York … I later showed it to the curators of design at the Museum of Modern Art. They, perhaps relating it to some other neo-Dada work in the museum, purchased it for the Design Collection.”

Harvey’s birthday is June 14th – he turns 89 this year. Everyone here at the Washington Glass School sends Harvey Best Wishes for a Happy Birthday!

The Smithsonian Institution has a fascinating oral history interview with Harvey – made in 2001. Click HERE to jump to the SI web-link.

Artists Talk @ Long View Gallery

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Opening Night of Washington Glass School Exhibit

“Artists of the Washington Glass School: The First 10 Years” opened to huge crowds last week and a review of the artworks in the Washington Post has created tremendous interest.

This Sunday, June 5th, from 3-4, Long View Gallery presents an Artist’s Talk.

Want to know more about the work? Want to see the exhibit up-close with someone who knows what was that artist thinking? Want to gossip with the artists that made made the Washington Post art critic Michael O’Sullivan “feel like a monkey in front of a ball of shiny, shiny tin foil“?
Here’s your chance – come join us!

Long View Gallery’s Siobhan Gavan snuggling with Washington Glass School Director & Monkey Keeper Tim Tate.


“Artists Talk
” @ Washington Glass School exhibition / Long View Gallery Washington, DC

The exhibition runs through June 19, 2011.
Long View Gallery is located at 1234 9th Street, N.W., Washington, DC
202-232-4788. For more information:
www.longviewgallery.com.

Washington Glass School 10th Anniversary Exhibit @ Gallery 555

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This Saturday, from Noon til 5 PM, join Gallery 555 as it celebrates the Washington Glass School’s 10th Anniversary with a special juried exhibition of WGS student sculpture works. Artists will be there from 3-5 PM.

Washington Glass School artists in the exhibit include: Patrick Truby, Graham Fox, Nancy Donnelly, Robert Kincheloe, Teddie Hathaway, Brenda Dean and Erin Antognoli.

The Washington Glass School 10th Anniversary
Student Exhibit

Gallery 555dc
555 12th Street NW Lobby, Washington DC 20004
202-393-1409 or 240-447-6071
Gallery555dc.com


Exhibition Dates: June 1 – June 30, 2011.
The reception is Saturday, June 4th, 2011 – noon to 5pm; Artists present 3 – 5pm

Gallery 555dc to Feature WGS Student Exhibition

>Jodi Walsh – owner of DC’s Gallery 555dc, visited the Washington Glass School to jury works by students for a new glass sculpture show that opens this Saturday, June 4, 2011.
The judging took place over the Memorial Day weekend.


Erin Antognoli’s glass and steel sculpture is reviewed.

All manner of glass sculpture are discussed by the jury.

Patrick Truby’s cast glass and forged steel work in the foreground.

Director Erwin Timmers points out some of the finer details.


Congratulations to all the artists selected for the show – it should be a great event!

Washington Glass School artists in the exhibit include: Patrick Truby, Graham Fox, Nancy Donnelly, Robert Kincheloe, Teddie Hathaway, Brenda Dean
and Erin Antognoli.

The Washington Glass School 10th Anniversary
Student Exhibit

Gallery 555dc
555 12th Street NW Lobby, Washington DC 20004
202-393-1409 or 240-447-6071
Gallery555dc.com


Exhibition Dates: June 1 – June 30, 2011.
The reception is Saturday, June 4th, 2011 – noon to 5pm; Artists present 3 – 5pm

The gallery will also feature paintings by Michele Cormier.

Judith Schaechter on "Beauty"

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Tim Tate and Judith Schaechter in DC

With the Washington Post writing a review about the guilty pleasures of some of the artwork in the WGS show at Long View Gallery – “isn’t contemporary art supposed to be ugly…?”

Superstar stained glass artist extraordinaire – Judith Schaechter – wrote about this very subject as a paper she presented at the last Glass Arts Society conference – titled “Beauty & the Beef” .

She has a version of the paper on her blogLate Breaking Noose - which includes comments like:

“why did beauty go out of style in the art world?

First of all technique, materials and process became an issue. After the Industrial Revolution, a pernicious mind/body split became manifest in the art world. One might observe that mass production was, in part, to make things more democratic—decent plates and bed sheets for the proletariat at last! But at a cost—I don’t just mean that machine-made things are bereft and depressing. They ARE bereft and depressing (as the social experiment with public housing so deftly illustrated) or “objects always reflect the character of their maker so when that maker is a soulless automaton, you will be eroding the human condition” I do believe that, but perhaps that’s an argument for another day. —But I refer to the unwinnable contest between hand and machine—I am saying when machines do it cheaper, beauty becomes a social and economic battle and extremely undemocratic as unique human made objects (objects made with love and intelligence) are mostly available only to the wealthy (and those who can make them, of course!). Albeit, beautiful objects have always been more valuable and the better they are the less affordable. So status is always lurking in the margins making kind, generous, liberal people very uncomfortable. When the middle class arose, it was out with the “wall bling” and in with the Wal-Mart.”

Judith recently taught a creativity workshop at the Washington Glass School.

Click here to jump to her full blog posting.

Judith Schaechter Workshop

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Judith Schaechter, Widow, (2008), Collection of Colleen and John Kotelly, Photo by Dominic Episcopo/Renwick Gallery, SI

The Grand Poobah Savior of Stained Glass – Judith Schaechter – who single-handedly revolutionized the craft of stained glass through her unique aesthetic and inventive approach to materials is one of the featured artists at the Smithsonian Institute‘s exhibition, “History in the Making: Renwick Craft Invitational 2011.”

Judith held a Creativity Workshop as part of the James Renwick Alliance‘s “Distinguished Artist” series this past weekend at the Washington Glass School. photos by Miriam Rosenthal / Third Eye Photography

The workshop participants re-enact Da Vinci’s “Last Supper with Judith Schaechter

Judith workshop was geared towards getting the participants to expand their creative practice, and had some fun creative exercises for everyone.

Judith has plans for the unsuspecting class.

L-R Jimmy Powers, Clemmer Montague, Sherry Selevan, Diane Cooper Cabe begin unleashing their creative wills.

Judith shares her thoughts with Elmerina and Paul Parkman.

Soon creativity is flying around the school – unstoppable. Ideas for artwork, fashion, events – everything at once. The innermost thoughts of the participants are explored.

Judith indicates her approval of the designs.

What one of the students was contemplating.

See more of Judith Schaechter’s work in the exhibition “History in the Making: Renwick Craft Invitational 2011,” on display at the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s Renwick Gallery through July 31. The show was curated by Renwick curator Nicholas R. Bell. The artists were selected by Bell, Ulysses Dietz, senior curator at The Neward Museum and Andrew Wagner. The exhibition also features the work of silversmith Ubaldo Vitali, ceramic artist Cliff Lee and furnituremaker Matthias Pliessnig.

Gallery 555 to Celebrate Washington Glass School’s 10 Anniversary

>“The Washington Glass School is known for its excellent student program and the quality of creative work its students produce. I wanted to celebrate their 10th anniversary by giving students an opportunity to exhibit their work in Gallery 555dc. Running and managing a school takes hard work, long hours and dedication – then more hard work. To celebrate a 10th Anniversary in the art world is a rare thing and a tribute to the founders and teachers of the Washington Glass School. ”
Jodi Walsh
Owner
Gallery 555dc

Jodi Walsh

The gallery is at 555 12th Street NW Lobby, Washington DC 20004
202-393-1409 or 240-447-6071

Gallery555dc.com
The show is from June 1 – June 30, 2011. The reception is Saturday, June 4th, 2011 – noon to 5pm; Artists present 3 – 5pm.

Photos from 10 Year Anniversary Exhibit Opening Reception @ Long View Gallery

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Huge turnout at the opening of WGS’ anniversary show.
photos by Robert Wiener unless noted

The much anticipated Washington Glass School 10th Anniversary exhibition show opened on Thursday, May 19th. The gallery estimated that the crowd attending was over 400, and the opening event was a great success!


Elizabeth Ryland Mears and William “Tex” Forrest alongside their collaborative glass and steel work “The Three”


Text on the entry wall


Robert Wiener next to his work
Diane Cooper Cabe next to her glass, wood, copper & mica work “La Bella Figura” - photo by Michelle Delino.

Syl Mathis’ cast glass boats - photo by Michelle Delino.


Admiring the sculpture.
photo by Todd Wiggins

The WGS show at Long View Gallery will be on exhibit until June 19, 2011
There is a closing reception scheduled for Sunday, June 19, from 2-5 pm.

Washington Glass School: The First 10 Years

LongView Gallery
1234 9th Street, NW, Washington, DC

Installing Washington Glass School @ Long View Gallery

>The installation of the Washington Glass School retrospective at Long View Gallery’s incredible space has begun.


Long View Gallery, 1234 9th Street, NW Washington, DC


L-R Robert Wiener & Sean Hennessey‘s works installed and looking good.

m. l. duffy’s glass & steel sculpture comes rolling up 9th. Erwin Timmers directs the sidewalk traffic to make delivery… easier.


Jennie Lindstrom helps out the crew.

m. l. duffy’s cast glass and steel piece located at the front of the gallery.


Jennie then gets working on her artwork installation – next to glass artwork by Jackie Greeves.

Robert Kincheloe gives his glass sculpture a buff. (erm…Rob – tho an old t-shirt is great for cleaning, its often better not to wear the shirt whilst cleaning the glass… I’m just saying)

The installed works look amazing. This show (10 years in the making) shows a cross section of artists who are working outside the traditional notions of glass art and that look to the future of the medium.


Washington Glass School: The First 10 Years
Long View Gallery
1234 9th Street, NW, Washington, DC
May 19 – June 19, Opening Reception, May 19th, 6:30-8:30 PM
Closing Reception Sunday June 19, 2-5 PM
phone: 202.232.4788

Washington Post on Renwick Craft Invitational

>The Post arts critic Michael O’Sullivan has a very insightful review of the Renwick Craft Invitational.

Of the work shown by Judith Schaecter, Michael writes: “… I stood at that midpoint for several minutes, listening to the reaction of random visitors as they crossed the unseen threshold.

“Now this is disturbing” was a typical comment. “It’s a nightmare” was another. Both statements, I would like to believe, were intended as compliments.

The artwork inspiring such strong sentiments is by Schaechter, whose postmodern twist on the stained-glass window has more in common with comic books — albeit darkly subversive, R-rated ones — than ecclesiastical decoration.

Death, arson and lust are just a few of the themes of Schaechter’s bold and striking, if ambiguously narrative, works. Mounted in softly luminous lightboxes, Schaechter’s pictures transform the part of the Renwick where they’re hung into a church of the weird and wonderful. They’re easily the most powerful, and disturbing, things in the show…”

Click here to read the full review.

The Craft Invitational exhibition (March 25 thru July 31, 2011) features works by four extraordinary artists, who are creating works of superior craftsmanship that address the classic craft notion of function without sacrificing a contemporary aesthetic:

  • Cliff Lee (b. 1951), a former neurosurgeon who works in Stevens, Pennsylvania, creates elegant porcelain vessels with the exactitude of a doctor, often using his knowledge of chemistry to re-create medieval Chinese glazes long thought lost to history.
  • Matthias Pliessnig (b. 1978), a furniture maker in Philadelphia, uses boat-building techniques in new ways to create graceful forms with curved wood strips that may have up to 5,000 points of contact without the aid of hardware.
  • Judith Schaechter (b. 1961), a glass artist based in Philadelphia, brings a wealth of knowledge about traditional stained-glass practice to her moody windows.
  • Ubaldo Vitali (b. 1944), a fourth-generation silversmith and master conservator of historic silver working in Maplewood, New Jersey, uses classical techniques he learned in Rome to create luminous works for popes, kings, and presidents.

The Renwick Craft Invitational is a biennial exhibition series established in 2000 to honor the creativity and talent of craft artists working today.