2017 WGS Year in Review

wgs.2017.year.in.review

A look back at some of our biggest moments of the year and what we’re looking forward to in 2018. This year brought us the first year of Trump’s presidency, a historic solar eclipse and some huge exhibits. Now, as the year draws to a close, WGS blog reflects on some of the happenings that rocked – and to some degree reshaped our place in the glass art world.

January 

The Women’s march held in Washington D.C. on Jan. 21, 2017 was organized after the election of Donald Trump as president of the U.S. to demonstrate solidarity among women, minorities, LGBT and other disenfranchised communities. Glass Art Magazine editor Shawn Waggoner visited the Washington Glass School while in town for the event.

Glass Art Magazine editor Shawn Waggoner was one of the participants in the Womens March in January.

Glass Art Magazine editor Shawn Waggoner (second from left) was one of the participants in the Women’s March in January.

WGS Instructor Debra Ruzinsky was named the new director of the Appalachian Center for Craft. The Appalachian Center for Craft is located in scenic Middle Tennessee near the town of Smithville. The facility was built in 1979 and has spacious studios, gallery, exhibitions, administrative offices, library, student housing and meeting/audio visual rooms.

The Appalachian Center for Craft in Tennessee.

The Appalachian Center for Craft in Tennessee.

Glass Art Magazine featured our Michael Janis in a profiled in their magazine and as part of their podcast series “Talking Out Your Glass“.

Glass Art Magazine featured Michael Janis in the Jan/Feb issue.

Glass Art Magazine featured Michael Janis in the Jan/Feb issue.

February

Washington Glass Studio completed installation of a two-part public art project in Florida. Palm Beach County‘s Art in Public Places awarded WGS the commission to design and fabricate integrated public art sculptures as part of the renovation of an existing facility for the new headquarters for Palm Beach County’s Tourist Development Council (TDC) and the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office (PBSO). The works were installed starting in January and completed in February 2017.

Public art at Florida's West Palm Beach International Airport

Public art at Florida’s West Palm Beach International Airport

March
March featured the opening of “Embracing Narrative” – the joint exhibition of glass works by artists from the Washington Glass School and the Virginia Glass Guild opened this weekend at Virginia’s Portsmouth Art & Cultural Center (PACC). Juried by Diane Wright, Curator of Glass, Chrysler Museum of Art and Sheila Giolitti, Mayer Fine Art Gallery, the exhibit kicked off the Glass Art Society’s (GAS) 46th annual conference that was held at the Chrysler Museum and the Perry Glass Studio in June, 2017. embracing_narrative.GAS_conference_norfolk.washington_new_post.studio.glass_.secession.art_.exploring.invite

April

Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) invited WGS’ Michael Janis in April to the museum to talk about his artwork that was featured in the exhibit “Mindful: Exploring Mental Health Through Art”. He talked about his glass process and the themes that run thru his work. MOCA_meet_the_artist_Janis_michael.museum.glass_.mental_health.mindful

In April, Habatat Galleries featured works by Washington Glass School artists Erwin Timmers, Tim Tate, Michael Janis and Sean Hennessey at the gallery’s 45th Glass International Award Exhibition.

Erwin Timmers' new cast glass and LED panels were featured at the 45th International.

Erwin Timmers’ new cast glass and LED panels were featured at the 45th International.

May

Washington Glass School co-founder Tim Tate was invited by Glenn Adamson, senior scholar at Yale, to speak at a symposium at Yale University. Tim talked about his work, as well as artists Roberto Lugo and Stephanie Syjuco. Tim Tate talked about how objects differ from other types of evidence, when it comes to histories of ideology and belief.

Tim Tate at Yale conference.

Tim Tate at Yale conference.

June 

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WheatonArts hot shop during Glass Weekend 2017

New Jersey’s WheatonArts opened GlassWeekend 2017– an International Symposium and Exhibition of Contemporary Glass. For 32 years, GlassWeekend brought together the world’s leading glass artists, collectors, galleries, and museum curators at Wheaton Arts and Cultural Center for a three-day weekend in June. This year’s demonstrating artists were Matthew Szosz, Rik Allen, and Shelley Muzylowski Allen. The keynote speaker featured Susie Silbert, the new Curator of Modern and Contemporary Glass at the Corning Museum of Glass.

Tim Tate was one of the featured LBGTQ artists in the Liberty Museum show.

Tim Tate was one of the featured LBGTQ artists in the Liberty Museum show.

The National Liberty Museum hosted the nation’s first museum exhibit of studio glass works produced exclusively by artists of the LGBTQ+ community. Each artist explored diverse subjects, methods, and styles using the artistic medium of glass making.

July

Teary-eyed farewell to Our Miss Wilson - artist Trish Kent baked a farewell cake in the shape of Audrey's favorite artistic element - a feather.

Teary-eyed farewell to our Ms Wilson – artist Trish Kent baked a farewell cake in the shape of Audrey’s favorite artistic element – a feather.

The Table-making class was great fun!

The glass table-making class was great fun!

Washington Glass School’s table making class ended with some happy artist/students! Erwin Timmers class made the glass for the tabletops and welded the steel for the table bases.

Audrey Wilson was recognized unstoppable force of nature! The Art Alliance for Contemporary Glass (AACG) awarded her with their Visionary Scholarship - with it, she was off to Penland for intensive workshops. Glass Art Magazine also featured Audrey with a great profile in the July/August issue! Ms Wilson had to say goodbye to WGS, as she began MFA classes at Ohio’s Kent State.

Glass Art Magazine featured Audrey Wilson in their July/August issue.

Glass Art Magazine featured Audrey Wilson in their July/August issue.

August

Tim Tate outlines the history of the American Studio Glass Movement to the class.

Tim Tate outlines the history of the American Studio Glass Movement to the class.

Baltimore’s Contemporary Glass Art class held at the CCBC visited the Washington Glass School as part of their studies. The group got to meet with many of the artists working from the studio, and were able to see how a school & studio functions.

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LBK gets to work making changes in the Glass School.

Laura Beth Konopinski joined the WGS crew as the new Studio Coordinator coming from the Pittsburgh Glass Center. LBK quickly updated our procedures and has taken over the workings of the busy studio. Ms Konopinski’s artwork has also been noticed, with her work being sought out for exhibition at the Miami Art Week.

“The Great American Eclipse” was the name given to the solar eclipse visible within a band across the entire contiguous United States, passing from the Pacific to the Atlantic coasts. WGS celebrated by having the community over to watch the event using the studio’s protective welding eyewear.

Said WGS Co-Director Michael Janis of the eclipse: "whoa".

Said WGS Co-Director Michael Janis of the eclipse: “whoa”.

September

sean.Hennessey.art.sculptureArtist Sean Hennessey became a proud papa, introducing his best work yet: Atlas Leif. Mazel tov!

The James Renwick Alliance’s (JRA) annual Distinguished Artist Series (DAS) brings notable craft artists from around the country – and in September, the season started off great with Alex Bernstein as the distinguished artist in Glass. Alex took the JRA workshop attendees along a journey from billet to awesome in about 3 hours! The  JRA Distinguished Artist walked the audience thru his signature process of “Bernstein-ing” his work, and everyone loved it!

DAS Alex Bernstein begins his workshop demo at the Washington Glass School. photo by Diane Charnov

DAS Alex Bernstein begins his workshop demo at the Washington Glass School. photo by Diane Charnov

October

Washington Glass School said farewell to Studio Artist Veta Carney as she retired from her law practice and headed out west with her husband to join her son Daniel Carney’s glass studio in Arizona.

Changes at the Glass Studio are best addressed with food.

Changes at the Glass Studio are best addressed with food.

November

The Sculpture Objects Functional Art and Design (SOFA) Fair in Chicago this past November was focused on three-dimensional art and design. Artists Tim Tate and Michael Janis were shown at Habatat Galleries space at Chicago’s Navy Pier.

Seen in Chicago SOFA 2017 at Navy Pier

Also in November, the Washington Glass Studio installed the site specific commission for the William Beanes Community Center in Suitland, MD. The internally illuminated artwork was commissioned by Prince Georges County for the new community center named for William Beanes, MD, who played a pivotal role in the history of The Star-Spangled Banner.

The William Beanes Community Center in Suitland, MD.

The William Beanes Community Center in Suitland, MD.

The images were designed and selected by the community after a series of interactive meetings and finalized with the help of local council members. The LED illuminated discs were mounted to a powder coated structure that was mounted to the building structure.

December 

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Tim Tate’s definitive profile by William Warmus in American Craft Magazine.

The December/January 2018 American Craft magazine issue features a story by author/critic William Warmus explores WGS co-founder Tim Tate’s history in the glass world. Titled “The Spaces Between“,  William writes about what drives Tim’s work, and about the development (and controversy) of the Facebook “Glass Secessionism” page.

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Miami Art Week 2017 featured works by WGS crew Michael Janis, Laura Beth Konopinsk, Tim Tate, Erwin Timmers & Alum Audrey Wilson.

December 2017 finished up with an amazing feat – ALL the principal staff of the Washington Glass School were featured as part of the worlds largest and most prestigious art fair – Art Basel/ Miami Art Week. The enormous art fair envelopes Miami and one cannot help but be inspired and encouraged.

Looking Ahead

2018 promises many new opportunities – looking ahead on the calendar:

New classes at the glass school! Michigan’s Habatat Galleries will again feature WGS artists in this year’s 46th International Glass Invitational in April. Michael Janis will be teaching an intensive session at Pittsburgh Glass Center in May. Tim Tate’s artwork  will be part of the LA activist art show “Into Action!curated by John Legend, Shepard Fairy, Rosario Dawson, Harry Belafonte and other notable activists, artists and museum curators. Never a dull moment!

Washington Glass School and Studio Wishes All the Best for the Holidays! May the New Year give wings to all of our dreams and let them come true in 2018!

American Craft Magazine Profiles WGS’ Tim Tate

WGS Co-Director Tim Tate is featured in the American Craft Dec/Jan 2018 magazine with an article by William Warmus.

WGS Co-Director Tim Tate is featured in the American Craft Dec/Jan 2018 magazine with an 8-page article by William Warmus. Photos by Pete Duvall.

The American Craft Council (ACC) is the leading arts nonprofit cultivating a culture of making. The ACC’s award-winning magazine seeks to “inspire, telling the behind-the-scenes stories of artists and designer-makers, while exploring the multifaceted benefits of creative living”.

A humorous take on what the ACC magazine cover should have looked like. (Note: this is not the real issue cover!)

A humorous take on what the ACC magazine cover should have looked like. (Note: this is not the real issue cover!)

As such, the December/January 2018 issue of the magazine features a story by author/critic William Warmus that delves deep into Tim’s softer side. Exploring Tim’s history in the glass world, William writes about the what drives his work, and about the development of the Facebook “Glass Secessionism” page and the backlash created by the online conversation. 

Dec/Jan 2018 American Craft magazine cover (the real one).

Dec/Jan 2018 American Craft magazine cover (the real one).

 

American Craft Council Baltimore Show 2017 Opens This Week!

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In just a few days, the American Craft Council (ACC) @ the Baltimore Convention Center opens their wholesale (February 22-23) and retail (February 24-26) American Craft Shows.

More than 650 top contemporary jewelry, clothing, furniture, and home décor artists from across the country will gather in Baltimore at the Convention Center. Touch, feel, and explore high-quality American craft and meet the makers behind the fabulous work. This is a HUGE show – a must-attend for craft lovers! Make sure you see incredible glass works by Kenny Pieper, ceramics by Joe Hicks and Ani Kasten, and wearable wood accessories by Drew Graham.

The ACC has also invited 20 makers from Craft Scotland to their flagship Baltimore show in 2017 – so the show will be extra ossum! Click HERE for more info. Click Here to jump to ACC event tickets.

Retail Show Dates:

February 24: 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.
February 25: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
February 26: 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Baltimore Convention Center
1 West Pratt Street
Baltimore, MD 21201

Mindful: Exploring Mental Health Through Art

WGS’ Michael Janis is one of the artists featured in the Society of Contemporary Craft‘s exhibit “Mindful: Exploring Mental Health Through Art“. This show explores the impact that mental illness is having on society, and the role the arts can play to both encourage positive self-expression and guide effective mental health promotion and treatment. The (traveling) show highlights a variety of techniques and forms that include innovative art expressions rooted in traditional craft materials, as well as art that explores unexpected relationships between craft and painting, sculpture, conceptual, and installation art. American Craft Magazine will have a short story about the show in their next issue – out early next year! The SCC has made a short video of the exhibit and their goals in the show – in the link below

Can A Craftsperson Succeed Today?

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American Craft Oct/Nov 2012 issue

It’s not realistic for most craftspeople to make a living working alone (on their craft). That was the provocative argument made by Garth Clark, award-winning historian, writer, dealer, and auction specialist in ceramic art, in the Oct/Nov American Craft Magazine. In the interview by Monica Moses, Garth urges crafters to emulate designers who partner with industry as a way to find success. American Craft asked him to elaborate in the interview – a few samples from the interview: 
You’ve said “the crafts are a threatened field,” suggesting that purely handmade work can’t compete with more scalable, cost-efficient work. What is threatening craft now? The big weakness is a failing economic studio model. Overheads rise constantly, but each maker has only two hands and can’t make more work to bring in more money. There is an output ceiling. This threat is self-imposed, coming from adherence to a medieval concept of craft and refusal to employ low-key industrial techniques to produce more inventory. Another threat: Craft galleries are withering and in some cases closing. Then, of course, there is the damage to the brand of craft done when institutions such as the flagship American Craft Museum [predecessor to the Museum of Arts and Design], drop the term craft and seek to join the fine arts world.

As you’ve suggested, for a number of years craftspeople aimed to be accepted in the fine art world, with limited success. Your view is that, in general, the design world is a more promising avenue for craftspeople. Why? Most crafters are not fine artists, even when they use fine art as their muse. The ones who have crossed over are about .0001 of the craft community. It’s a tiny handful: Ken Price, Josiah McElheny, Betty Woodman. The odds are hardly encouraging. On the other hand, designers and crafters do exactly the same thing; they make vases, jewelry, furniture, mugs, hats, fire irons. It’s exactly the same class of objects. Both are designed. The difference is the means of production: Crafters work by hand, while designers employ industry. Designers have learned to have it all – some unique works, some limited works, and some mass-produced works. Crafters can do the same. And the market is gigantic and growing.

What advice would you offer today’s aspiring craftsperson?

Decide what you want to be – be it fine artist, designer, or for that matter, crafter. And live there. If you believe you are, say, a sculptor and not a crafter, then the day you leave college, take the strengths of your craft education and head to a sculpture community and make your home there. Don’t remain in the relatively protected world of the crafts and whine that you are a misunderstood artist trapped in the craft world. Leave the nest, and learn to fly. 

Click here to jump to the full online version of the article – or look for in the Oct/Nov hard copy magazine at the shops. That American Craft issue also has a great review of the Smithsonian’s 40 Under 40 Craft Futures exhibit.

Garth Clark at lecture on Ai Weiwei at University of Sunderland, March 2012

Garth Clark is one of the leading experts on design and craft. The blog has posted previous lectures that Garth has had on the changing nature of craft. 

While at the University of Sunderland, the WGS Fulbright directors were able to attend Garth Clark’s lecture on Ai Weiwei Ceramics. The lecture was most interesting and gave great insight into Ai Weiwei’s work with clay.

I Heart American Craft Council

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Love is in the air

I ♥ Glass

In time for Valentines, the Feb/March 2012 issue of American Craft magazine (published by the American Craft Council) features Washington Glass School Director Michael Janis answering the romantic question: “Who’s Your Platonic Craft Crush”. The new issue also has some great articles about Harvey Littleton and the Studio Glass Movement, and an article about ceramic sculptor Cristina Córdova.

For some reason tho, Michael is made to be yellow. Very yellow. I am (overly) Curious Yellow.

Michael Janis looking either very jaundiced or he’s Bart Simpson’s twin, Hugo.

And just who is Michael Craft Crushing on? Its no secret that it is glass & ceramic artist Christina Bothwell.

The American Craft Council is the voice for craft in America, celebrating the remarkable achievement of the many gifted artists working in the media of clay, fiber, glass, metal, wood and other materials. Programs through which the Council supports the field include the bimonthly magazine American Craft. Click HERE to jump to the Craft Council website.

American Craft on Tim Tate & Marc Petrovic Collaborations

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Sins Under Glass
The April/May issue of American Craft magazine has an 8 page review of Tim Tate & Marc Petrovic‘s collaborative work.

Tim Tate & Marc Petrovic
photo by Pete Duvall/Anything Photographic


The article, written by American Craft‘s Senior Editor, Julie Hanus; with photos by Pete Duvall of Anything Photographic, talks of “Connectivity and collaboration” and the ways they are molding our lives. The author profiles in-depth their two recent joint works
Apothecarium Moderne and Seven Deadly Sins, and how, within the two works, Marc and Tim are model­­ing one vision of the interconnected future of art: genuine collaboration.

Above: Two works from the Seven Deadly Sins series.


Shattered found pottery lends sculptural interest to
Wrath. For the finial, Marc made a tiny maple rolling pin on a lathe. Visually, I like the look of Envy a lot,” says Marc. They designed the piece around the video concept: a creepy eye, peering through a keyhole. Each piece is loaded with detail. The green finial that sits atop Envy, for example, is a cast-glass likeness of Michael Janis, a tongue-in-cheek poke at an artist with whom Tim shares workspace at the Washington Glass School (…or is it?). The tiny gate is Marc’s handiwork – a rare opportunity to exercise a long-ago minor in metals, he says. His wife, artist Kari Russell-Pool (with whom Marc also has collaborated), lent a hand with the grass.


Above: “Vanity” from the Seven Deadly Sins series
blown and cast glass, camera and audio soundwave electronics, found objects

In Vanity, a small video screen displays the image of all who approach. Peek into this technological mirror and a recorded voice gushes, “You look wonderful. Have you lost weight? You look younger every time I see you.”
Drawing in viewers to interact with the work is, arguably, the pièce de résistance of their collaborative process – the sharing of a work that transforms everyone who sees it into an active participant.

For the entire article – click HERE (or check out your newsstands!)
Email for Pete Duvall: pete@anythingphoto.net