US/UK Collaborative Art Precedents : Glass 3 and Artomatic

As the arrangements for the UK artists are being finalized, the Washington Glass School blog takes a look back to the first two collaborative exhibitions and their outcome.

GLASS 3__________________________
In 2008, Artomatic organized an exhibit that showcased glass art, focusing on how three “glass” cities approach the medium. The collaborative show was titled “Glass 3″ referencing the invited glass centers of Washington, DC, Toledo, Ohio and Sunderland, England. 

  • Sunderland is home to the UK’s National Glass Centre at the University of Sunderland. The North East of England has a long tradition of glassmaking – since the 7th century as glassmakers from France were brought in to make the stained glass windows. The numerous glass factories of the 17th and 18th century have now closed, and in its place a number of studio glass artists working in smaller studios. 
  • Toledo, Ohio is known as “Glass City” – where in 1962, Harvey Littleton and Dominick Labino presented the seminal glass workshop with the Toledo Museum of Art. This workshop profoundly influenced the American Studio Glass Movement. 
  • Washington, DC glass artists work at using glass as an expressive component in a larger whole, mastering technique in order to express content. The “post-craft” artists strive to make works that transcend words and discrete disciplines – therein lies their beauty.
Design of the Glass 3 exhibit graphics and catalog by Jon Gann.

Artomatic had secured an exhibition space in the Georgetown Mall, and in February, artwork and artists from the UK and Ohio came into DC setting up the multi-level space. 

2008 “Glass 3″ Exhibit. Photo by Tracy Lee.
2008 “Glass 3″ Exhibit. Photo by Tracy Lee.
Artist Vanessa Cutler (R) talks about the UK artwork with Sunderland City Council’s Anne Tye (C) and DCist’s Heather Goss (L) on opening night.

DCist city blog writer Heather Goss wrote of the 2008 collaborative show “Glass 3″:
“But does all of this lovey-dovey, hands-around-the-world stuff translate into a good art show? In this case, definitely. Glass work has always faced a tough challenge being accepted as “fine art” and not “a bunch of bowls and vases you find at the craft fair.” And if anyone can make you change your mind, its the artists from Sunderland. Some of the artists are actually experts in glass theory with Ph.Ds and have developed techniques that not only create beautiful art, but have revolutionized architecture and other uses for the medium.”
Click HERE to jump to full DCist article.

A catalog of the works in the show was published, a copy is in the Corning Museum of Glass’ Rakow Library.

Click HERE to jump to the Glass 3 catalog pdf.
The Brits returned charged up with the success of the interaction with the Americans, and based on the Washington Glass School model, created a not-for-profit artist run studio facility in Sunderland; Creative Cohesion. The new organization is home to professional artists working in glass, ceramics, fine art and mixed media, with a gallery, arts workshops and a glass hot-shop.

UK’s Stephen Reveley’s fused glass forms at 2009 Artomatic.

Artomatic 2009__________________________ 
In 2009, Artomatic held the 10th anniversary of its unjuried art fair in DC’s Southeast, near the Navy Yard. 38 artists from the UK were able to participate in the event via Creative Cohesion joining with Artomatic in the planning of the exchange.  A number of the visiting artists were part of the University of Sunderland and the UK’s National Glass Centre and held workshops where they demonstrated their techniques.

UK glass casting workshop by Stephen Beardsell held at Washington Glass School, May 2009.
Sarah Blood’s neon artwork at Artomatic.

The Artomatic was a great success, and the visiting artists were able to connect to the US artscene. Glass artist Phil Vickery’s artwork was selected by the James Renwick Alliance to receive their Craft Award of Distinction.

Award winning glass by Phil Vickery.
2009 UK / US Artomatic artist reception

The connection between the sister city artists had been strengthened, andProfessor Peter Fidler, Vice Chancellor and Chief Executive of the University of Sunderland was impressed with the artists at Washington Glass School, and sought out ways to continue the interaction.

Later, after Tim Tate and Michael Janis were successful Fulbright Scholar candidates, the connection to the University of Sunderland continued; in 2012, they both were Fulbright Scholars at the University and held workshops at Creative Cohesion. 

The Brits are back this year, and the exhibit has broadened to include ceramic artwork.To complement the artwork, International Glass and Clay 2013 will host panels at Pepco Edison Place Gallery all month long meant to inspire in depth conversation about cultural diplomacy, Fulbright exchanges and international artists residencies and the arts. The events will include representatives from cultural institutions in the nation’s capital, including embassies, government entities, think tanks and local arts organizations.

“This year, the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities launched a program encouraging District artists and arts organizations to develop cultural partnerships with our sister cities, which we are proud to implement,” said Lionell Thomas, Executive Director of the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities. “International Glass and Clay 2013 is an excellent example of how cities with differing cultures can approach diplomacy through their respective creative heritage.”

International Glass and Clay2013 will open from Friday, March 1 to Friday, March 22. It is free for the public to attend. At Pepco Edison Place Gallery, 702 Eighth Street (between G and H Street). Gallery hours are 12 to 4 p.m. on Saturdays and Tuesdays, and 12 to 8 p.m. on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. The gallery is closed on Sundays and Mondays. The Gallery Place Metro station servicing the green, red and yellow lines is within close walking distance to the gallery.

Has Tim Tate Gone MAD?!

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Well, yes, but Tim’s feeling much better…Playing With Fire @ NY MAD Museum

Tim Tate, “I Want To Run Away and Join the Circus“, 2009, blown and cast glass, electronic components. Photo: Anything Photographic.

This year, New York’s Museum of Arts and Design (MAD) celebrates the 50th anniversary of the American Studio Glass movement with an exhibit titled “Playing with Fire: 50 Years of Contemporary Glass”  – which featured more than 100 works of glass from the MAD collection,  and additional contemporary works on loan.  Ever since 1962, when a legendary workshop led by renowned glass artist Harvey Littleton demonstrated the potential of glassblowing as a medium available to individual artists, artists and designers have continually pushed the material in new directions and used the complex, fragile, and highly versatile nature of the material to create an astonishing diversity of works.

“Playing with Fire” looks at the breadth of innovative processes and artistry in contemporary glass, from pieces by early adaptors such as Dale Chihuly to installations by Israeli designer Ayala Serfaty. The exhibit is organized by the Museum of Arts and Design and is curated by Jennifer Scanlan, Associate Curator. “As a sculptural material, glass has unique properties: its ability to hold, emit and reflect light renders color more brilliant and animates figures and forms,”says Jennifer Scanlan. “In ‘Playing With Fire,’ we wanted to show how artists and designers play with the properties of this fluid medium — often in extraordinary, and sometimes unexpected ways.”

The exhibition is made possible, in part, by the Art Alliance for Contemporary Glass. 

Playing with Fire: 50 Years of Contemporary Glass.

November 6, 2012 thru April 7, 2013

Museum of Arts & Design

2 Columbus Circle 

New York, NY 10019

 

Historic Gallery of Glass @ Washington Craft Show 2012

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Maurine Littleton Gallery Exhibit at Washington Convention Center.

The Washington Craft Show was just held this past weekend. The juried event brings nearly 200 Contemporary Craft Artists (glass; furniture; ceramics; silver, bronze, and copper; mixed media; decorative and wearable textiles; jewelry; paper; and wood) to the Washington Convention Center, with an emphasis on quality and originality. 

The Washington Craft Show 2012 included a special 50th Anniversary glass exhibit.

This year, Washington, DC’s celebrated glass gallery – the Maurine Littleton Gallery held a special exhibit that was dedicated to the 50th Anniversary of the American Studio Glass Movement. 

Dale Chihuly glass artwork next to a Thermon Statom ladder.

As a show-within-the-show, the center of the Convention center featured seminal works by the man considered to be the father of the studio glass movement,  Harvey Littleton. The show included works from the famed 1962 Toledo Workshop, where artists were invited to look at glass as a viable sculpture medium. 

Michael Janis examines one of the 1962 Harvey Littleton original blown glass pieces from the Toledo Museum workshop – shown in period photo (inset). 

Some pix from the show: 

William Morris glass artwork foreground.
Visitors gather around Joan Falconer Byrd, author of the new book “Harvey K Littleton: A Life in Glass“. Ms Byrd was one of the show’s speakers at the event. She was one of the first students in the Toledo workshops and was Professor of Art at Western Carolina University.
Contemporary works by the artists of the Washington Glass School were included in the Maurine Littleton exhibit. L-R in above photo, works by Tim Tate, Erwin Timmers & Allegra Marquart.

Alison Sigethy’s glass sculpture.

The show also had some favorite DC craft based media artists exhibiting, like Ani Kasten showing her great ceramics, or Alison Sigethy’s recycled glass sculptures. 

Ani Kasten’s ceramic works.

Click HERE to jump to a photo gallery of artwork seen at the 2012 Washington Craft Show. 

S.O.F.A. Chicago Art Fair 2012 Features Studio Glass

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SOFA CHICAGO From Technique to Artistic Expression

The critically acclaimed international art fair SOFACHICAGO returns to historic Navy Pier Friday, Nov 2 through Sunday, Nov 4, 2012, with an Opening Night Preview on Thursday, Nov 1.  The exhibition features masterworks of contemporary and modern arts and design, sculpture, functional art, and visionary art, plus related special exhibitions and lecture series. SOFA CHICAGO promises to be the world hot spot for international studio glass art. The American Studio Glass Movement is celebrating its 50th Anniversary this year and the acclaimed art and design fair at Navy Pier will be center-stage. New this year, iPhone and iPad users can use the free SOFA FAIR App to browse the works on display at the show and identify works or contact galleries, simply by pointing their phone at artworks and adding them or instantly receiving information about that work. To download the SOFA FAIR App visit sofaexpo.com.

Harvey Littleton,
Yellow Crown II, 1984, glass

From the SOFA CHICAGO 2012 website: Art “dealer Maurine Littleton of Maurine LittletonGallery (Washington, D.C.), daughter of Harvey Littleton reports that half her booth space (#408) will feature “a selection of rarely seen (and first-time offered) pieces” by her father, including a “spectacular example” from his signature Arc series entitled Yellow Crown II (1984), direct from its exhibition at the Chazen Museum of Art in Madison, Wis. Littleton says it is the only one of its type still available; similar works can be found at the Smithsonian’s Renwick Gallery of the American Art Museum and in major national public and private art collections.”
Michael Janis, Eclipse, 2012, glass powder imagery

Works by Michael Janis and Allegra Marquart will be amongst the artists featured in the other half. 
Allegra Marquart, Monkey Girl, 2012, glass

Tim Tate will be featured in Habatat Galleries space (#1200) – which has expanded their SOFA booth to accommodate 18 solo exhibitions!

Tim Tate,
The Deconstruction Of George Melies,2012, Cast and Blown Glass, Video

Additionally, the Robert M. Minkoff Foundation will screen their new documentary, The Toledo Workshop Revisited, 1962-2012. In a March 2012 residency, three young artists at the Toledo Museum of Art rebuilt a small glass furnace modeled after the one Harvey Littleton and Dominick Labino designed 50 years earlier. 

The 1962 workshop launched the Studio Glass Movement, and made it possible for individual artists to work directly with glass. This new film documents the week-long residency that honors the past and celebrates the future of creative experimentation in glass. Screenings will be followed by Q&A with Robert Minkoff, Managing Trustee of the Robert M. Minkoff Foundation; Andrew Page, Director of the Robert M. Minkoff Foundation.

SOFA Chicago 2012
Nov 1 - 4, 2012
Festival Hall, Navy Pier

600 E. Grand Ave., Chicago, IL 60611

Blue Spiral 1 Gallery Looks to Studio Glass’ Future

>North Carolina’s Asheville was named one of AmericanStyle magazine’s “Top 25 Arts Destinations” . This week, another of its top galleries – this time Blue Spiral 1 – opens a show that looks to honor the 50th Anniversary of the American Studio Glass Movement.

WGS is well represented in the list of artists!

Blue Spiral has curated the show with an eye to the future of glass with “compelling sculpture [that] speaks to conceptual and narrative directions the medium takes in the 21st Century”.


Artists include a number from the Washington Glass School extended family – Tim Tate, Sean Hennessey, Michael Janis, Marc Petrovic, Christina Bothwell and Susan Taylor Glasgow.


With Erwin Timmers’ work showing at nearby Bender Gallery – its like a Washington Glass School summer camp in the Blue Ridge Mountains!


Glass Secessionism
June 7 – July 26, 2012
Opening Reception, June 7, 5-8 pm
Blue Spiral 1 Gallery
38 Biltmore Avenue
Asheville, NC 28801

Kiln-formed Glass & The American Studio Glass Movement – A Parallel History

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Part 1 The Glass Pioneers

Frances Stewart Higgins

fused crushed glass and enamel vessel, 1958-1959.

2012 marks the 50th Anniversary of the American Studio Glass Movement, and its celebration will be marked with many events and exhibitions. The focus of the anniversary celebrations will mainly be on hot-glass and taking glass making from the factory to the artist’s studio, using the 1962 Toledo glass workshop as the birth date.


Toledo glass workshop in the spring of 1962

As the Washington Glass School features kiln-formed glass, we wanted to join the celebration by outlining the parallel and often co-dependent history of the kiln-formed glass section of the movement (aka warm glass, or fused glass). This series of postings – often based directly on writings by glass artists Richard LaLonde, Boyce Lundstrom, Dan Schwoerer, Bert Weiss and Corning Museum of Glass’ history information online. It also strongly references Martha Drexler Lynn’s seminal study “American Studio Glass 1960-1990. Thanks also to Chip Montague and Betty Py for sourcing images and backgrounds on the featured artists.
Shifts in art practice after WW2 opened the door for materials not previously considered.The popular story about the origins of the American studio glass movement casts Harvey Littleton as its Prometheus. Littleton and his teaching had a significant effect on the evolution of studio glass. His work, and that of his students and their followers built a basis for the current glass art scene. While

Littleton’s passion for hot glass originally led him to define “studio glass” to that blown or worked in a hot-glass studio – his later works included kilnformed plate glass and printing on glass plates, a new concept that he called vitreography.

Horizontal/Vertical, 1974. Harvey Littleton. Chazen Museum of Art, Madison, Wisconsin

Early Fused Glass

While the precise origins of glass fusing techniques are not known with certainty, there is archeological evidence that the Egyptians were familiar with basic techniques. Some historians argue that the earliest fusing techniques were first developed by the Romans, who were much more prolific glassworkers. Fusing was the primary method of making small glass objects for approximately 2,000 years, until the development of the glass blowpipe largely replaced fusing due to its greater efficiency and utility.


Vase, 1923.François Emile Décorchemont. pâte de verre

Two government actions helped to propel crafts to greater acceptance in the 1930s and 1940s, the Works Projects Administration Federal Arts Project (later WPA) created employment for the approximately five thousand artists and craftsmen. Another consequence of the war that contributed to the emergence of studio glass was that as returning veterans’ formed new families, they required housing and furnishings. This fostered a trend toward mass-produced anonymous objects. Handcrafted items, in contrast, were refreshing and capable of expressing individuality. Crafts were seen as an antidote to the suburban Levittown and as a means to creating a sense of individuality in the new American suburban tract house.

Sept/Oct 1959 issue of Craft Horizons Magazine. The cover shows images from the 1959 Corning International Contemporary Glass Exhibition. The magazine changed its name in 1979 to American Craft.

In the late 1940’s and 50’s glass pioneers set up studios to experiment, and made functional household objects like plates, bowls, jewelry and the occasional art object or hanging mobile. Their success often came from the transfer of ceramic and other craft techniques to glass. These artists fused enamels that were created for metal enameling on and in between pieces of window glass in electric brick kilns used for ceramics.

Glass Artists of the Post War Era – an outline of a few of the pioneers:

Maurice Heaton, a designer of stained glass, became adept at slumping flat sheets of hot glass into or over a mold to form vessel shapes. Born in London, he was the son of an Arts and Crafts cloisonné enameller and the grandson of a stained-glass maker. He moved to New York in 1914. His work is characterized by detailed, linear patterns created by fusing crushed, brightly colored enamels onto the surface of the glass.

Africa, 1948. Maurice Heaton

Kilnformed glass, powdered glass, enamel.Corning Museum of Glass

Fish Platter, 1940′s. Maurice Heaton

Kilnformed glass, powdered glass, enamel.
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Michael and Francis Higgins in the 1950′s

Michael and Francis Higgins’ were a husband-and-wife team who produced commercial tableware for Dearborn Glass.Both studied at the Chicago Institute of Design. The couple individually created unique hinged boxes, mobiles, flat panels and vessel forms that were distinguished by bold geometric patterns and innovative techniques that retain their freshness with their delicate designs.

Vessel, 1958-1959 Frances Stewart Higginsfused crushed glass and enamel. Corning Museum of Glass

plate, 1960′s Michael & Frances Higginskiln-formed glass
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Edris Eckhardt, a well known Cleveland School artist, is recognized for her virtuosity in ceramics, enamels, and glass work, invented her own glass formulas to create her sculpture. She may have been the first American studio glass artist to formulate her own batch instead of simply melting cullet. Eckhardt changed her first name to Edris, after a genderless angel, after being declined for an art school scholarship based solely on her gender.


Archangel, 1956. Erdis Eckhardt
cast glass. Corning Museum of Glass


Uriel, 1968. Erdis Eckhardt
cast glass. Corning Museum of Glass

This year, the Museum of American Glass at WheatonArts has the above artists featured in an exhibit titled “Pioneers of American Studio Glass“, now thru 12/30/2012.

Early Writing About Studio Glass
For the glass practitioner, collector or scholar, there were few published information sources were available, beyond meeting the artist in person. Teaching about glassmaking – or “glass technology” would, at best be taught in a school’s manual arts curriculum or as a hobby. First published in 1942, the craft magazine Craft Horizons provided limited information about glass techniques, but typical of the focus on the arts, it had three times more information about other craft media as on glass. The magazine later became American Craft in 1979 and was redesigned with an expanded awareness of studio glass.


1944 Craft Horizons and 2012 American Craft Magazine


Early books about glass offered technical advice, a general history of glass, or the occasional survey of contemporary work. Information about glass was available only in industrial manuals, amongst them “The Art of Glassmaking” (1947) by Sydney Waugh, a designer for Corning Glass. Waugh’s book included declarations that glass could only be made in large factories.
California artist Kay Kinney studied glazes and ceramics and later experimented with glass in the early 1960′s. Kinney’s book “Glass Craft: Designing, Forming, Decoration” (1962) was written long before the “fusing-compatible” era. Her book has information about mold-making, fusing and slumping projects utilizing window glass, bottles, and other types of glass.


Kinney’s book was written for glass novices, with simple, straightforward instructions on cutting and fusing.

The Toledo Workshops were indeed a watershed. After the workshops, glassmaking programs entered the college, university and fine arts programs. Other venues for glass study began opening up, and established regional craft centers like Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, Penland School of Craft had more intensive learning opportunities. By 1973, glass programs had penetrated the university and craft world to the extent that Glass Art Magazine listed seventy educational programs. This expansion had a profound effect on the establishment of the critical mass of artists devoted to learning about, producing, and promoting studio made glass. Additionally, the G.I. Bill, started in the 1940′s, had a strong effect on the lives if the returning veterans. That bill, (as did the later, similar Veterans Acts under the Johnson, Nixon and the Ford Administrations) through the mid 1970′s – offered veterans a college scholarship to any college of their choice. As it turned out, art school was very attractive and glass blowing extremely attractive. There were glass programs across the country. By the time the GI Bill was gone, so were the glass programs.

Click HERE to jump to Part 2 Exploring Technique and Content – the ’60′s, ’70′s & ’80′s