Getting Ready for Chicago S.O.F.A.!


Kilnformed glass artwork by Michael Janis exhibited at Maurine Littleton Gallery space 2015 during SOFA.


This November, the world’s foremost Sculptures Objects Functional Art + Design Fair (SOFA CHICAGO) is back and happening at Chicago’s Navy Pier this Nov 3-6, 2016.

SOFA CHICAGO is one of the longest running art fairs in the world, and the oldest art fair in Chicago. Now in its 23rd year, SOFA CHICAGO is dedicated to bringing together the perpetually separated spheres of design, decorative arts, and fine arts. With nearly 70 internationally renowned galleries, SOFA CHICAGO will be exhibiting an array of media-specific art and innovative designs. Additionally, those who come to SOFA CHICAGO will have the chance to meet hundreds of the world’s most creative people, as well as view works of some of the globe’s most talented emerging artists. 

Washington Glass School artists will again be showing at the international art fair – Allegra Marquart, Tim Tate, Audrey Wilson & Michael Janis have been working away this past summer on new works. 

Allegra Marquart,"The Rabbit Who Wanted Red Wings";Hand blown reverse painted glass vessel; H.9"W. 5"

Allegra Marquart,”The Rabbit Who Wanted Red Wings”; Hand blown reverse painted glass vessel; H.9″W. 5″ photo by Pete Duvall.

Allegra Marquart has been working with glass blower Tim McFadden – who blew the forms that she reverse painted and fired. The theme running through some of her new pieces is “wanting” – where the main protagonists want something they don’t have or more of what they have already. Allegra’s sculpture and her glass-and-textile wall installations will be shown at Maurine Littleton Gallery’s booth # 821 at SOFA.

Tim Tate, "Where We Hide From No One" detail

Tim Tate, “Where We Hide From No One” detail; Silver Plated Frame, Mirror, Flame Worked Glass, LED’s; 18 x 18 x 4″. Photo by Pete Duvall.

Tim Tate has been working on whole new series developing for the past year and a half. Tim’s works engage the viewer and each piece visually draw’s the viewer deep inside. Tim’s new works will be shown at Michigan’s Habatat Galleries

Michael Janis has had a incredible year so far! After receiving the 2016 Mayor’s Arts Award and having a successful solo show at Maurine Littleton Gallery, Michael has recently finished his signature cast glass/frit powder imagery panels for the art fair. Michael’s works will again be shown at Maurine Littleton Gallery – (Boorth # 821).

Audrey Wilson will again be showing at Alida Anderson Art Projects. Audrey’s wonderful sculptures wryly explore questionable science and conspiratorial thinking. In our troubled times, some recent researchers have found that anxiety and the feeling of loss of control triggers people to see nonexistent patterns and evoke conspiratorial explanations. With high-stress situations (such as job uncertainty) its not surprising that people concoct, embrace, and repeat conspiracy theories. 

Audrey Wilson's mixed media / Pâte de verre sculpture explores science and conspiracy theories.

Audrey Wilson’s mixed media / Pâte de verre sculpture explores science and conspiracy theories.

This year’s SOFA CHICAGO hopes to take art lovers one step further. Explore the world of art like never before and be sure to take in one of the SOFA Lecture Series presented by some of the world’s most distinguished artists, collectors and professionals, as well as a special events series curated and presented by international art organizations. 


Festival Hall, Navy Pier 
600 East Grand Avenue Chicago, IL 60611

Washington Post Reviews Michael Janis Solo @ Littleton Gallery

The Washington Post published the following review of Michael Janis’ solo show “Echoes of Leaves and Shadows” being exhibited at the Maurine Littleton Gallery through Oct 15. Art critic Mark Jenkins  describes Michael’s skill as “extraordinary. Jenkins also enthuses that Janis’ glass artwork combines “the stateliness of stained-glass windows with the vivacity of pop art”. Have a read of the full text below:

Michael Janis. "Radiance," 2016, glass, glass powder imagery, steel; on view at Maurine Littleton Gallery. (Michael Janis/Maurine Littleton Gallery)

Michael Janis. “Radiance,” 2016, glass, glass powder imagery, steel; on view at Maurine Littleton Gallery. (Michael Janis/Maurine Littleton Gallery)

By Mark Jenkins October 8, 2016

Michael Janis

If Michael Janis worked with pencil or charcoal, his draftsmanship would be impressive. But the D.C. artist draws photorealist portraits with pulverized glass, placing the powder exactly with tiny tools. Which is extraordinary.

Most of the pieces in “Echoes of Leaves and Shadows,” at Maurine Littleton Gallery, include depictions of pretty young women. These gamines, who might be ballerinas or French New Wave stars, are rendered in granulated black glass fused by heat to clear glass sheets. The pieces aren’t just black-and-clear, though. Janis overlays and underlies patches of translucent colored glass, and often adds such 3-D glass elements as butterflies or flower petals. Aqua and orange are common in this array, among other hues. In one picture, an abstract yellow-green swirl contrasts the subject’s slightly darker green eyes.

Janis employs many variations, slicing faces into three equal parts or contrasting them with panels of textured glass. There are ceramic busts garlanded with glass leaves, and portraits embellished with near-opaque peacock- or dark-blue circles. The latter combine the stateliness of stained-glass windows with the vivacity of pop art — half medieval cathedral, half 1960s Vogue.

Michael Janis: Echoes of Leaves and Shadows On view through Oct. 15 at Maurine Littleton Gallery, 1667 Wisconsin Ave. NW. 202-333-9307.

Art Hamptons June 23 – 26, 2016


Positioned to launch the summer season, the leading modern and contemporary art fair, Art Hamptons 2016 opens Thursday, June 23 and runs through Sunday, June 26. Held annually, the fair presents 70+ dealers featuring works of art in Bridgehampton – one of the most exclusive neighborhoods in the Hamptons.arthamptons

Michigan’s Habatat Galleries invites all to come and visit booth #200 at Art Hamptons in Bridghampton New York!

Habatat Galleries will be featuring the artwork of Michael Janis, Toots Zynsky, Daniel Clayman, Howard Ben Tré, Vivian Wang, Hiroshi Yamano, Loretta H Yang, Colin Reid, Michael Glancy, Leah Wingfield, Tim Tate, Emily Brock, Debora Moore, Laszlo Lukacsi, and Marlene Rose.

The Habatat booth will be front row center and Habatat has complimentary tickets to the event – contact the gallery for more information.

Art Hamptons

June 23-26th at 900 Lumber Lane, Bridgehampton, NY 11932


The Process: Site-Specific Art Project by Washington Glass Studio

Design sketches of the two lobby areas were created.

Sample showing glass colorways.

Washington Glass Studio recently completed commissions for artwork in a refurbished downtown Bethesda building lobby. Working with art consultants, Directions in Art, Washington Glass Studio began creating artwork options for two levels of an office building that was undergoing a major renovation. 

The proposed floor-to-ceiling glass artwork was designed to be fully backlit with LED panels, giving the artwork a strong visual punch.  The artwork proposals were presented to the client, and the direction on colors was approved. 

Crushed glass (frit) was used to make the large circles of glass color.

Crushed glass (frit) was used to make the large circles of glass color.


Working with the building architects, the design was modified to allow for a stainless steel surrounding frame. The framework would conceal the electrical transformers required for the LED wall. Timing and coordination issues for installation on two separate floors were addressed, as were wall structure concerns.

Artists Audrey Wilson and Erwin Timmers discuss the fabrication of the glass panels.

Artists Audrey Wilson and Erwin Timmers discuss the fabrication of the glass panels.

Layers of fused glass created the desired textures and colors.

Layers of fused glass created the desired textures and colors.

Installation of the main lobby artwork.

Installation of the main lobby artwork.

The finished artwork. WGS Project team: Tim Tate, Erwin Timmers, Michael Janis, Audrey Wilson

The finished artwork. WGS Project team: Tim Tate, Erwin Timmers, Michael Janis, Audrey Wilson

Glass Secessionism


Tony Oursler

The Internet and social network groups continue to create changes and offer options in art criticism and discussions. A new Facebook group “Glass Secessionism” has sprung up, creating a venue for artwork with a narrative or content-driven aesthetic.

According to the group description:

The intent of this group is to underscore and define the 21st Century Sculptural Glass Movement and to illustrate the differences and strengths compared to late 20th century technique-driven glass. While the 20th century glass artists contributions have been spectacular and ground breaking, this group focuses on the aesthetic of the 21st century.

Kiki Smith

The object of the Glass-Secession is to advance glass as applied to sculptural expression; to draw together those glass artists practicing or otherwise interested in the arts, and to discuss from time to time examples of the Glass-Secession or other narrative work. This movement is modeled after Alfred Stieglitz and the Photo-Secessionists and how they redefined photography.

It was said of Stieglitz” What, then, was this secession from? It was not only from artwork that had gone stale through the copying of Victorian, conventional styles, but more importantly from the dictatorship of the entrenched institutions, galleries, art schools and professional art organizations that enforced or at very least sanctioned copying or imitation.”

Stephen Paul Day & Sibelle Peretti

Keep in mind, by Glass Secessionism it is not to say that we as artists are seceding from glass, just from the aesthetic of purely technique, material and process driven sculpture. There is no disrespect meant towards technique driven work. Glass Secessionism is a different branch of the glass tree. Think of them as separate but equal.
Glass Secessionism, with notable exceptions, is focused on 21st century sculptors in glass – and can include mixed and new media. There is a strong movement which begins at the graduate school level, to focus more on the narrative content and less on materiality. The newest emerging artists in glass tend to be much more focused on this direction.

Christina Bothwell

Glass is finally being allowed to be just another sculptural medium. The fine art world is certainly beginning to take notice, as so many notable fine art galleries and museums (not focused on glass in the past) are allowing and, in fact, promoting work and artists that are glass based.

Members are encouraged to post and share their own or others examples of 21st century glass sculpture and open discussion topics regarding this issue. Click HERE to jump to the Facebook group.

Social Networking Seminar


Nora, The Piano Cat
click on image to jump to cat-certo video

Special Seminar: Social Networking and Marketing Your Art

This special seminar will be held during CraftWeek DC and in cooperation with the James Renwick Alliance’s Spring Craft Weekend. Come and explore with us the possibilities for advancing your artwork using today’s popular social networks. Get shows, sell your work, approach galleries, blogs, newspapers…. so many forms for the new face of art to investigate.

Find out how Tim Tate was able to turn a Facebook posting of a cat playing a piano into a show at New York’s Museum of Arts and Design – that alone is reason enough to participate in the seminar!

The seminar speakers are some of DC’s art stars that are at the forefront in the use of the internet and social media:

Rania Hassan studied art in college in Lebanon and moved to Washington to work for the White House. More recently, Rania has been getting attention for her alt-craft “knit paintings,” and last year she received an award from the James Renwick Alliance, which is affiliated with the Smithsonian’s Renwick Gallery. Rania has kept her day job working for the government but finds herself devoting every spare moment to her craft. She actively sells her artwork with Etsy, and Crafty Bastards.

Click HERE to jump to Washington Post article about Rania.

F.Lennox Campello studied art at the University of Washington in Seattle, Washington. In 1996 he was the co-founder of the Fraser Gallery, a leading independently owned fine arts gallery in Washington, DC and he has been the recipient of many art awards as well as having exhibited widely in the United States, Latin America and Europe. He is also often heard on National Public Radio (in the USA) and the Voice of America discussing the visual arts from the Greater Washington, DC region. Lenny is an award-winning artist, and his art news blog; DC Art News is one of the highest ranked visual arts blogs in the Blogsphere. Lenny is well known for his “Boot Camp for Artists” seminars on how to survive as an artist.

Click HERE to see his website.

Tim Tate is the Co-founder and Co-Director of the Washington Glass School. He is a sculptor who has been working in glass, steel, concrete and ceramic since 1989. He oversaw a glass casting production studio in New Orleans for three years. Tate’s artwork has been shown in many galleries and museums including the permanent collections of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Mint Museum, the University of Richmond Art Museum and the University of Virginia Art Museum. Tim was the recipient of the 2009 Virginia A Groot Foundation Grant for his work in sculpture.

Click HERE to see his website.

Seminar 222 – Special Seminar: Social Networking and Marketing Your Art

Instructor Rania Hassan/ Tim Tate and F Lennox Campello
Date Saturday April 24
Time 1 pm – 3pm
Tuition $20

Click HERE to jump to the Washington Glass School class list & use PayPal form at top of webpage.

Get Ready for the Washington Glass School Holiday Sale!


It may be cold and nasty outside – but it is warm & toasty at the Glass School.
The Washington Glass School annual Holiday Sale is coming soon!
So many of the Glass School artists and instructors will have their work available – artwork for sale in many styles and media; beautiful jewelry & craft.

Plus the surrounding artist studios (ceramic studios like Red Dirt & Flux Studio, art studios like Ellyn Weiss’, Alec Simpson’s, Janis Goodman’s) will be open.
The Gateway Arts District will have their Fine Art and Craft Sale along Route 1 / Rhode Island Ave – make it a day of art.
Mark Your Calendar At Once!

Washington Glass School Holiday Sale

Saturday, December 12, 2009

2 – 6 pm

Food, Music, and Glass, Glass, Glass!

The Death of Craft – Whodunnit?

>Craft committed suicide, but it was under the influence of art.

The victim pulled the trigger on itself, detective Garth Clark says, but it was under the influence of Art.

That’s Art, no last name, sometimes known as Fine Art. And though the corpse keeps getting tricked out for public events like the stiff in the movie comedy Weekend at Bernie’s, the actual time of death was, oh, somewhere around 1995.

Garth Clark

This was the premise of a fantastic and provocative lecture that was held at Portland‘s Museum of Contemporary Craft last October titled “How Envy Killed the Craft – An Autopsy in 2 parts”, given by Garth Clark – a leading international writer on modern and contemporary crafts today. In the talk Clark dryly assessed the current state of American Craft, and conducted an examination of how aesthetics, economics and art-envy have “killed” this 20th century movement. The talk is available online as a podcast from the museum – the details are at the end of this posting.

What is this art envy? Good question.

Surely it has something to do with money. Clark quoted one excellent potter of his acquaintance who says he and his friends have a word for potters who make a living entirely from their craft. It’s unicorns, “because we’ve never seen one.”

And surely it has something to do with reputation, with being taken seriously. Artists are simply thought of more highly, as more creative beings, more intellectual, and therefore more important (and, let’s underscore, more worthy of high prices in exchange for their work).

Perhaps it has something to do with escaping an eternal past. “Craft has been overdosing on nostalgia,” Clark averred. “This is craft’s Achilles heel.” That’s not surprising, he added, since the modern movement (which he stretches back 150 years, a very long time for a movement of any sort) was born as a revival, and thus looking backwards from its beginning.

So, he said, somewhere around 1980 craftmakers simply started referring to what they did as art. Museums and other organizations began to drop the word “craft” from their names — sort of like snipping their horse-thieving uncle from the family tree. For a few genuine artists who were trapped by their association with craft — people like Jun Kaneko and Robert Arneson – it was an escape with just cause. For others, it was wishful thinking. “Craft was strongly and sometimes pretentiously influenced by fine art,” Clark said, “but it did not cross the line to become fine art.”

What did Clark mean by “craft,” anyway? One object-maker drew applause when she commented that, when she’s in the studio, she doesn’t even think about whether she’s making art or craft, she just thinks about what she’s working on. And there was some sentiment that Clark was making a fuss about something that was really just about words and categories, things that come after the fact. “Everything he’s saying is coming from a gallery owner’s point of view,” one member of the audience said.

And there might be some truth to that. Still, Clark insisted that categories are vital, and they are real. “Ultimately there is something called craft and there is something called art,” he said. “And there’s nothing wrong with that.”

What, then, is the difference? When it came right down to it, Clark had a tough time describing exactly what craft is. And in a sense, he blamed that on craftmakers, because they themselves had abandoned the word. After that, he said, “It was almost impossible to write honestly about a field that pretended to be something else.”

And craft’s stress on physicality, Clark said, is “part of its problem as art goes to multimedia, using all sorts of things.” In other words, while craft is reaching toward art, art is reaching toward craft — toward an acceptance of all sorts of materials as viable raw material for the making of fine art.

Then again, he says, fine art’s embrace of traditional craft materials has more to do with “postmodernism’s promiscuity” — hardly a marriage of minds. And, he pointed out, in the mid-20th century fine art underwent a more than equal and opposite reaction, “away from craft-based values” and toward conceptualism — a conspicuously idea-driven form of art (even if the ideas are sometimes half-baked) that gets big media play even as it often rejects the entire concept of craftsmanship as old-fashioned and irrelevant. No wonder crafters feel a little loss of self-esteem.

Still, the question remains: What do we mean when we say “craft”? Maybe it’s a little like U.S. Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart’s 1964 dictum on pornography: “I know it when I see it.” The borders are fuzzy, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

One man in the audience last night asked Clark whether we were using “craft” as a noun when we should be using it as a verb. Maybe so.

Either way, there’s something physical about the thing. Craft is at its best when it is dealing with sensuality,” Clark said. “… (I)t grabs you by the throat and just thrills you.”

So maybe the more interesting question is, What is the relationship between art and craft? Does art require craft? If not, has the art world suffered for its loss? Clark says fine art doesn’t need craft. You can make great art without craft, he said, but you can’t make great craft without great skill. This is a far more significant question than many people in the art world will admit. For all of its history, from cave paintings on, art and craftsmanship have been intertwined. At what cost are they separated, if indeed they are?

For the 2-part podcast click HERE and scroll down to 10.16.2008 CraftPerspectives Lecture Garth Clark (Part 1 & 2)

Craft V Art – the final battle!


Washington Project for the Arts Presents:

Tug-of-War Blurring the line between Art and Craft

A panel discussion and interactive event Wednesday, April 22nd 5:30 – 7:30pm @ WPA headquarters’ 2023 Massachusetts Ave. NW

(in conjunction with the James Renwick Alliance & Smithsonian’s Craftweek DC )

Washington Project for the Arts will participate in the JRA & Smithsonian’s first annual Craftweek DC by hosting a lively discussion on the subject of “Art vs. Craft”. The event will take place on Wednesday, April 22nd from 5:30 – 7:30pm at the WPA headquarters in Dupont Circle.

Curator and art critic, Jeffry Cudlin, will moderate a panel discussion between members of both the art and craft communities in DC- revealing their thoughts on what differentiates the two ‘sides’. The discussion provides a framework for understanding the concepts and breaking down the divide between what is considered fine art and craft.

When all is said and done, panelists and audience members will be invited to participate in the very first Art vs. Craft tug-of-war on a nearby grassy knoll (rain or shine).

The tug, a metaphor for the discussion, is a fun way to illustrate the way some artists dance between both realms while others live on one side or the other.

Palm Beach 3 Opens!

>Celebrating its 12th anniversary, the PalmBeach3 contemporary art fair returns to the Palm Beach County Convention Center on January 15-18, 2009. The glittering vernissage debuts January 14, 2009.
Washington Glass School is represented by Allegra Marquart, Tim Tate and Michael Janis showing in Maurine Littleton Gallery’s space.

John LaPrade, assistant director of Maurine Littleton Gallery sends his cell phone pix of the setup at the fair.

The gallery looks great!