Glass Artists Featured in New Book: Intersection Art & Life

Kevin Wallace, director of the Beatrice Wood Center for the Arts in California, writes books and guest curates exhibitions for museums. He is an acknowledged expert on self-expression in craft media who resists labeling works as “art” or “craft.” His new book Intersection: Art & Life has just been published and we are delighted that they included Michael Janis’ glass work on the cover (center top).

Kevin wrote the book to provide a wider understanding and appreciating contemporary art, and he gives insights on over 100 contemporary artists including glass artists: Lino Tagliapietre, Keke Cribbs, Sally Rogers, Einar and James De La Torre, Rick Beck, Marlene Rose, Colin Reid, Susan Stinsmuehlen-Amend and others. Support the Beatrice Wood Center and purchase the book at the center!

If you don’t want to use the PayPal link, you can e-mail Kevin at, and they can send you a PayPal invoice, or you can send a check to: BWCA, P.O. Box 608, Ojai, CA 93024

The Process: WGS Creates Public Art For West Palm Beach Intl Airport

2 Agencies + 2 Unique Identities = 1 Integrated Artwork Solution

Detail from public art sculptures by Washington Glass Studio for West Palm Beach International Airport

Details from sculptures by Washington Glass Studio for West Palm Beach International Airport

Palm Beach County‘s Art in Public Places awarded Washington Glass Studio (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) after a Call for Artists held in 2014. The building – a five story 61,000 square foot facility is located at one the most visible intersections in Palm Beach County, adjacent to the Palm Beach International Airport and can be seen from departing and arriving flights. 

Site for public art at West Palm Beach Airport

Sites for public art sculptures outlined in Call for Artists @ Florida’s West Palm Beach Airport

Agency 1 – Tourist Development Council (TDC)

The Tourist Development Council asked that their site-specific sculpture reinforce their brand and help show that Palm Beach is a prime tourism destination in one of the top tourism states in the country. The TDC includes Discover Palm Beach County, the Film and Television Commission and the Sports Commission. The TDC also provides oversight to the Palm Beach County Convention Center and the Palm Beach County Environmental Resources Management Department and their Beach Re-nourishment Program.

Agency 2 – Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office (PBSO)

The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office has approximately 4,000 dedicated and professional staff that are committed to protecting the public, and enhancing the quality of life in the community while administering agency operations. The project site will house PBSO Admin services include Central Records, Human Resources, Labor Relations, Risk Management and Graphics.

WGS Director Erwin Timmers reviews the sites with representatives from PBSO and TDC in October 2014.

WGS Director Erwin Timmers reviews the sites with representatives from PBSO and TDC in October 2014.

After consulting with the different agencies, WGS began schematic design of the sculpture works and the integration of the work with the architecture of the building. WGS sought to utilize color as a strong identification element that would help define the building’s new entry sequences.

Design concepts for the site are presented and reviewed with the end users.

Preliminary design concepts for the site were reviewed with the end users.

The artwork was reviewed and modified as the project team were consulted and fabrication details were outlined. Structural details of the aluminum framework were integrated into the design. Florida has very high wind design loads that had an impact on the artwork design and working again with structural engineer Holbert Apple Associates ensured that the hurricane loads would pose no problem for the artworks. Additionally, the designs would have to allow for shipping from the Washington, DC area glass studio down to sunny Palm Beach Florida and thus the design incorporated modular aspects to allow for fabrication and shipping.

structural analysis of art

Design of the artwork included detailed structural engineering analysis.

An additional aspect for the project design was the inclusion and integration of artwork and the building’s architectural re-design. Building signage, lighting, paving, and landscaping aspects were to be part of the artist’s proposal. The original building dates from the 1980′s and offered the ideal blank slate background, and allowed for some experimentation with blocks of color that would tie the art with the architecture.

Palm Beach building façade color test study.

West Palm Beach building façade color test study.

The building artwork design contract included elements of landscape design, and WGS artists liked creating new places to have glass incorporated. Color-coordinated glass “pebbles” (surface-seeded aggregate) were mixed into the concrete paving surrounding the artwork at the base of each. With great power comes with great responsibility.

Concrete paving sample

Tourism Office concrete paving sample. The glass chips were color coordinated to the artwork.

Paving slip resistance, hurricane wind loads on glass and steel, in-ground lighting values – all were part of the artist’s control and the studio was challenged to grow and develop our knowledge base. 

Design: Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office (PBSO)

The design of the PBSO artwork had to showcase how the Sheriff’s office was an important partner to the community and reflect the values of the department. Aspects of the Sheriff would be presented in bas-relief cast glass panels mounted in sturdy structural aluminum framework. The colors of the PBSO were to form the basis of the sculpted glass artwork. The greens and golds would include a stripe of blue glass that would represent the “thin blue line” that symbolizes the relationship of law enforcement in the community.

Sheriff department concept sketch.

Sheriff department concept sketch.

The location of the sculpture was important – the artwork would help define the entry to the new Sheriff’s office, and the artwork would also help shield views down along the building that are more private outdoor spaces. 

Detail of one of the cast glass panels for the PBSO artwork. The clasped hands represent helping community.

Detail of one of the cast glass panels for the PBSO artwork. The clasped hands represent helping community.

The finished work has some incredibly detailed cast panels that are works of art in and by themselves.

View of the new Sheriff Office artwork - titled "Guardian" by WGS.

View of the new Sheriff Office artwork – titled “Guardian” by WGS.

Design: Tourist Development Council (TDC)


Palm Beach’s Tourist Development Council (TDC) has oversight responsibility for the marketing agencies which include Discover The Palm Beaches, the Cultural Council of Palm Beach County, the Palm Beach County Film & Television Commission and the Palm Beach County Sports Commission along with the Palm Beach County Convention Center. A number of proposals were presented to the TDC and the selected version was for an illuminated 17′-0″ tower – ultimately to be located on a new plaza area at the building entry. The color palatte of the “Discover the Palm Beaches” campaign would be the basis of the artwork color direction.  The glass design direction taken by the artist team was to abstract elements from each of the agencies that make up the TDC.

The TDC artwork, titled "Guidepost" is situated on a new plaza created at the building entry.

The TDC artwork, titled “Guidepost” is situated on a new plaza created at the building entry.

The structural requirements for the artwork framework (to be made in aluminum) required a substantial cross section for the members. The strong wind loads in coastal Florida required a close supervision of the metal design and fabrication. 

Artist Michael Janis begins creation of the colorful glass inset panels.

Artist Michael Janis begins creation of the colorful glass inset panels.


Erwin Timmers works on the TDC art while Patricia and Audrey supervise.

Erwin Timmers works on the TDC art while Patricia and Audrey supervise.

Dave Dolan of Palm Beach County is part of the review process of the structural metal at the shop.

Dave Dolan of Palm Beach County is part of the review process of the structural metal at the shop.

The glass artwork integrated into the metal structure began in the summer of 2016. Each glass inset was coated with a special coating to protect the structure in hurricane force winds. The installation of the artwork began in late 2016 and was completed in early 2017, giving the WGS crew some time in the beautiful Florida sunshine.

Audrey Wilson and Erwin Timmers install the public art in Palm Beach, FL.

Audrey Wilson and Erwin Timmers install the public art in Palm Beach, FL.

TDC artwork reflects beautifully in the building in sunny Florida.

The artwork “Guidepost” is beautifully reflected in the building that houses Florida’s TDC.

Project Information

Address: 2195 Southern Boulevard, West Palm Beach, FL 33406

Artist: Washington Glass Studio

Design Team: Laurie Brown, Michael Janis, Tim Tate, Erwin Timmers, Audrey Wilson. With Patricia de Poel Wilberg and Ricky Barton.

Structural Engineer : Holbert Apple Assoc Inc

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.

Washington Glass Studio Engages Community With Laurel Library’s Public Art

Washington Glass School & Studio

Prince George’s County’s Art in Public Places promotes community interaction in the creation of the new artwork sculpture at the Laurel Library. Residents of the area are invited to the Glass School to create the glass panels in the sculpture.

Prince George’s County, MD, recently awarded Washington Glass Studio the commission to create of one of the public art sculptures destined to become a landmark at the new Laurel Library, currently completing construction.

WGS is working with Arts in Public Places (AIPP) -  Prince George’s County Government’s public art program that contributes to the place-making and aesthetic significance of Capital Improvement Projects. AIPP creates percent-for-art initiatives that integrate works-of-art into new and (substantially) renovated County buildings as part of construction costs of the facility.

Proposal sketch by Washington Glass Studio.

Proposal sketch by Washington Glass Studio.








The Laurel Library public art process involves community and facility stakeholders, artists, construction professionals and local government officials. Community glass making workshops have been held, and a there has been a great start on the artwork! 

The new glass artists lay out their designs.

The new glass artists lay out their designs.

The first batch of fused glass artworks is reviewed in the studio.

The first batch of fused glass artworks is reviewed in the studio.

One of the artworks references the new library’s lighted dinosaur footprints leading to the Discovery Island children’s room that will have a glass floor exposing a full-size velociraptor skeleton replica. The room will hold two children’s seating areas, one within a large dinosaur rib cage and the other decorated with volcano lava and light effects.

GLASS! In West Virginia!

Morgan Arts Council in Berkeley Springs, West Virginia  - 90 miles from the DC/Baltimore metro area- has a special gallery show featuring glass art that opens Friday,May 29, 2015.  Titled ”GLASS!” The long history of art glass is reflected in this 21st century show of stained glass, sculptures, and functional glass artwork. Washington Glass School artists Erwin Timmers, Laurie Brown, Veta Carney, Trish Kent, Diane Cabe and Erin Antognoli are amongst the featured artists. 


May 29 – July 26, 2015 Opening Reception on May 29 at 7:30 pm. cropped-MAC-logo

Morgan Arts Council, Ice House Gallery; Independence & Mercer Streets in Berkeley Springs, WV.

Historical Glass Fun Facts : Invention of Pyrex & the Studio Glass Movement

From this. . . . . . .. . . . . . . .to this.

“It was all her idea”

The History of Pyrex
Back in the early 1900′s, Corning Glass Works was working on a request from the railroads to produce lantern glass that would not break when the hot glass was struck by rain or snow. In response to this request, Corning developed globes made from low-expansion glass that could withstand the abuses of weathering and handling which readily broke the flint glass globes. Ironically, the shatterproof lantern globes generated were so good that Corning‘s managers witnessed a decline in sales of replacement globes. This super-tough “fire glass”, as it was called, was resistant to temperature fluctuations, chemical corrosion and even breakage.
Eugene Sullivan, Director of Research at Corning Glass Works, developed Nonex, a borosilicate low-expansion glass, to reduce breakage in shock-resistant lantern globes and battery jars. (Borosilicate glass was originally developed at the Jena Glass works by Otto Schott, which Sullivan had learned about as a doctoral student in Leipzig, Germany.)

In July 1913, a series of events involving Bessie Littleton, the wife of the company’s newest scientist – Dr Jessie Littleton, forced Corning managers to focus their attention on the consumer venture. Apparently, Mrs. Littleton had used a Guernsey brand casserole only twice when it fractured in the oven. Knowing the strength of the glass her husband worked with on a daily basis, she implored him to bring home a substitute from the Corning Glass Works plant. He returned the next evening with the bottoms of two sawed-off battery jars made from low-expansion glasses. Mrs. Littleton cooked a sponge cake in one of the surrogate baking dishes. She noted several remarkable findings:
• The cooking time was shorter
• The cake did not stick to the glass; it was easy to remove with little adhesion
• The cake was unusually uniform
• The flavor of the cake did not remain in the dish after washing
• She could watch the cake bake and know it was done by looking at the underside.

Mr. Littleton brought his wife’s creation to work the following day. Laboratory researchers inspected the cake, which was a “remarkable uniform shade of brown all over.” The men deemed it delicious and very well baked. (A favorite of any lab conclusion, Ed.) Thus began a two-year process to perfect this new invention. The notion of baking in glass was a whole new concept to the public. In 1915, a wondrous new line of “glass dishes for baking” appeared in the nation’s hardware, department and china stores. On May 18, 1915, Boston department store Jordan Marsh placed the first PYREX bakeware order.

The Littleton’s had a son – Harvey K Littleton. Harvey was born in 1922 and was briefly employed by the Corning Glass Works in the 1940s, where he developed his glassmaking skills and began to pursue the idea of glass as a medium for artistic expression. The earliest objects in the exhibition are two experimental cast female torsos, dating to 1942 and 1946, which are the first works in glass made by Littleton while working at Corning Glass Works. Also featured are glass vessels from the early 1960s, dating to the years just after the seminal Toledo Workshops, as well as a bottle made at the 1962 Workshops.

Click HERE to jump to the story of Harvey Littleton and his historic workshops that brought glass from the factory to the artists.

Other Glass Fun Facts to know and tell:

Glass Fun Facts: Gaffer/Composer

More Glass Fun Facts: Bullseye Glass

Float Glass Fun Facts

Glass Fun Facts – Shattered Glass Predicts Weather

Why is Glass Transparent?

Washington Glass School Winter Exhibition 2011


The Washington Glass School 10th Anniversary Winter Sculpture Exhibition and Open House was held on December 10, 2011. Here are some shots from the day:

Mount Rainier City Councilman Jimmy Tarlau checks out the Open House – loving the artwork by Dave Cook.

The Washington Post had featured Erwin Timmers cast recycled glass in the Weekend Section – and his work had drawn many visitors.

Erwin Timmers chats about art with Stephan Thurman and Laurie Brown.

The Glass School’s newest elf – Mick Coughlan – updates and advises Santa on the current “Naughty or Nice” status.

From the looks of the conversation between Robert Kincheloe and M.L.Duffy – I’m guessing “Naughty” list material.

Sean Hennessey chats with one of the art patrons about his mixed media works.

Takoma Park’s Exhibits Director, Alison Carr with her family – checking out Sean Hennessey’s concrete-and-glass sculpture.

Syl Mathis‘ cast glass sculpture always draws a crowd.

Everyone wants to know more about the artwork on exhibit.

Debra Ruzinsky exhibits her beautiful cast glass – Sweet!

Nancy Donnelly‘s copper, glass and steel sculpture were some of the most popular works in the show. Nancy nearly sold out of all her work. I understand that she had another art opening after the school’s show, and sold many of her painting works! This is Nancy’s year!

Speaking of years – this is also a big one for metalworker Chris Shea. Chris’ artwork was recently acquired by the Smithsonian Museum as part of the permanent collection at the Renwick Gallery. Congratulations, Chris!

Michael Janis explains his “sgraffito” technique of drawing with crushed glass powder.

Relaxing in the lounge – Robert Kincheloe, ceramic artist Novie Trump, and Sean Hennessey.

It was a great time to check out the new class schedule, meet the artists, visit with friends. Looking forward to what 2012 will bring!

Glass Meets Art @ the Ratner Museum


INTERSECT: Glass Meets Art
In-ter-sect: (in-ter-sekt) To cut across or overlap each other, to have one or more points in common.

A glass exhibition with a number of Washington, DC area glass artists is opening this weekend at the Ratner Museum in Bethesda , MD.

The eight artists in this exhibit have each been on an artistic journey and perhaps, still are. Their travels have taken them to different places and each unique journey distinguishes each artist from the other. Most of them have crossed paths at some point. In this exhibit, the artists, all independently chosen, converge for INTERSECT: Glass Meets Art. Glass and art are the points they have in common.

Some of the artists exhibiting are Washington Glass School favorites, including works by:

Sean Hennessey, a sculptor and painter, currently working in glass and concrete, creating narrative works inspired by artifacts, mythology, and common everyday objects.
Robert Weiner’s
Colorbar Murrine Series, affords him the opportunity to experiment with color, fusing temperatures, and to express a personal style that reflects simplicity with a close attention to detail.

In her dynamic glass and mixed media creations, in which depth and contrast are dominant, Anne Elise Pemberton explores the relationship between plant, human, and atomic structures.

Nancy Weisser
is an award winning multimedia artist with a focus on glass since 1980. As owner of Weisser Glass Studio, Nancy has made a substantial contribution to the dynamic growth of the Washington glass community.

Other artists in the diverse show include, Jill Tanenbaum, Judith Busby, Kari Minnick and Benjamin Bornstein.

Dennis and Phillip Ratner Museum

10001 Old Georgetown Road

Bethesda, Maryland 20814

Phone: 301.897.1518
Artist Reception, Sunday, September 12, 2010
1:30 – 3:30 pm

Digital Technologies & Contemporary Craft

>An interesting article was put out by Craft Australia, Australia’s craft advocacy organization: US based artist and design professor Donald Fortescue comments on recent work by craftspeople in the US which embraces digital technology. He defines the notions of sensuality, narrative and anachronism in this work and argues that digital technology is congruent with the core values of the crafts. He concludes that the challenge for artists and designers is to understand and become fluent not only with the technologies themselves but the meanings they carry with them.

“There has been an interesting trend in the last 10 years or so for many contemporary craft artists in the US to incorporate what has been called ‘new’ or more strictly ‘digital’ technology in their work. This might seem at odds with the very definition of craft practice with its emphasis on ‘hand work’, the primacy of the sensual and the honoring of traditions and historical precedents…”

“The crafts are often seen as outmoded and behind the times, clinging to technologies somehow inappropriate or rendered quaint by the proliferating ‘new’ technologies. However, clay and glass drinking vessels have been part of human culture for thousands of years. How long will the PET bottle be around for?

Similarly digital technologies while having the glamor of new and cool are arguably more distinctly artifacts of a moment in time. Technologically attuned craft artists are re-contextualizing old and new technologies and in doing so questioning the values we attribute to each.”

Many of Donald’s points are made using images from the
recent exhibition The New Materiality – Digital Dialogues at the Boundaries of Contemporary Craft at the Fuller Museum of Craft (Brockton, Massachusetts), including the work Virtual Novelist by Tim Tate.

Tim Tate, Virtual Novelist, 2008, Blown and Cast Glass, Electronic Components, Original Video,

Photographer: Anything Photographic

Click HERE to jump to Donald’s full review.