Bullseye Glass Company Closes Portland Gallery & Project Space

Opening night of 2012 exhibit "Facture: Artists at the Forefront of Painterly Glass" that featured works by WGS artist Michael Janis.

Opening night of 2012 exhibit “Facture: Artists at the Forefront of Painterly Glass” that featured works by WGS artist Michael Janis.

Three years after a toxic air scare resulted in unprecedented legal and civil actions against Bullseye Glass Company, the 45-year-old colored art glass factory is closing its downtown gallery, educational, and projects space in a move to cut costs while maintaining a firm commitment to its worldwide arts community. The sole surviving Pacific Northwest art glass factory plans on closing their flagship arts space as costs related to regulatory, legal, and civil actions exceed $4M.

Financial losses related to State demands and strategically orchestrated negative publicity, paired with the resultant billion-dollar class action lawsuit, cut deep into income that had previously supported Bullseye’s arts program.

“For twenty years our space in [Portland's] Pearl District showcased remarkable works in kilnformed glass created by artists from around the world who use the glass handmade in our southeast Portland factory,” said Lani McGregor, Bullseye co-owner and director of the exhibition and activities space known as Bullseye Projects.

Bullseye Projects is scheduled to close its doors on June 1st, though some of its activities organizing touring exhibits and doing educational programming will continue as will key staff members who will be transferred to the Bullseye facility in southeast Portland.

Click HERE to jump to BE press release.

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

Bullseye Glass Resumes Cadmium Use With New Filters: Red, Orange and Yellow Glass Production Returns

Bullseye Glass President Dan Schwoerer shows KOIN 6 News colorful glass made in his factory, Mar. 10, 2016

Bullseye Glass President Dan Schwoerer shows KOIN 6 News colorful glass made in his factory, Mar. 10, 2016

The embattled Southeast Portland glass company – Bullseye Glass (BE) – has installed a new filtration system to prevent dangerous metals from getting into the air. In February, the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality found the area around the facility, had high levels of toxic chemicals cadmium and arsenic. The glass company voluntarily stopped using the metals in its manufacturing process. Later it said it would never again use arsenic. It also suspended the use of chromium.
The company has issued a press release on how the baghouse filter works. Air from the furnace passes up the stack, which filters out “99 percent of the particulate material” made using heavy metals during the production of glass.

Bullseye Glass President Dan Schwoerer next to the new filters at the glass furnace in Portland, OR.

Bullseye Glass President Dan Schwoerer next to the new filters at the glass furnace in Portland, OR.

The Washington Glass School has been asked how the issues affecting BE have impacted the art school and studio and the surrounding neighborhood. Director Erwin Timmers has confirmed that the toxicity issues are a problem for factories producing the glass, not the artists or their surrounding neighborhoods. Once the glass is made, all of the metals used during production to produce color become inert and therefore are safe to use in glass schools & studios.

That said, it is good to know that red, orange and yellow glass can again be part of the glass color range available to students!

Bullseye Glass Needs Some Help

bullseye-logo-websiteThere has been a lot of charges flying in Portland, Oregon following concerns by state regulators over alarming concentrations of dangerous substances – carcinogenic metals cadmium and arsenic- in the air around the Southeast Portland Bullseye Glass (BE) manufacturing facility and whether Bullseye Glass understands the public interest and if they support stronger environmental standards for the industry.

BE has posted a letter outlining how the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is proposing a set of sweeping “temporary” regulations that will severely curtail BE’s glass production, which BE feels is without clear supporting scientific evidence or an understanding of how they make colored glass. 

The primary issue is the use of trivalent chromium—also referred to as Cr(III). Both DEQ and EPA have acknowledged there is no clear evidence of acute or chronic health risks based on BE’s use of Cr(III). The limitations proposed are based on politics and anchored in speculation that Cr(III) might possibly change into a more toxic form of chromium—Cr(VI) in our furnaces. 
Scientific evidence clearly indicates the furnaces won’t turn Cr(III) into Cr(VI). If they did, the BE glass would be ruined. According to BE, Cr(III) is essential to BE producing colored glass.

According to BE: “Scientific evidence shows our use of the compound is not harmful. Nevertheless, DEQ wants to restrict Bullseye from using Cr(III) for an extended period of time. They are essentially basing these rules on an assumption of guilt without any proper supporting scientific or factual evidence.
These newly proposed regulations are based on politics and fear, not science and fact. They come right after DEQ’s executive director was forced to resign and the supervisor of the air quality department left the agency. 
If we are not allowed to use Cr (III), we can no longer make green glass. On top of our voluntary suspension of cadmium glass production until our baghouse is in place, this new limitation would eliminate 50% of our product line. It would result in employee layoffs, huge economic impacts to Bullseye and our worldwide customers, and could even drive us out of business. 

Until March 30, the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality wants to know your opinion on whether or not to adopt temporary rules that are targeted to affect only one specific industry – the colored art glass industry.They could set a precedent that could affect every other colored glass manufacturer in the United States.

Again, DEQ is accepting public comment regarding the temporary rules until March 30 at 5:00 pm (PDT). To read the draft rules and submit comments, visit http://1.usa.gov/1LtqPaY

Bullseye asks for messages of support be sent: Please let DEQ and the Environmental Quality Commission know whether you agree with the points, and let them know how you would be affected by the temporary or permanent loss of Bullseye’s products.”

Click HERE to jump to Bullseye Glass’ message.

Bullseye Glass: List of Suspended Glass Colors

Bullseye Glass has been at the center of controversy about Portland, OR air pollution ever since early February, when Oregon regulators asked the company to stop using the carcinogenic metals cadmium and arsenic. The request was prompted by tests showing high concentrations of the pollutant in nearby air.

Bullseye Glass and Uroboros glass have agreed to stop using cadmium and arsenic in their manufacturing, along with a third and more toxic metal, chromium. A list of Bullseye  Glass colors affected by the manufacturing change was obtained by Washington Glass School – as follows:

Bullseye Glass

Bullseye Glass colors and code

Bullseye Glass Has Suspended Use of Arsenic and Cadmium Because of Air Quality Concerns

By Daniel Forbes from the Portland Mercury (dated Feb 4th, 2016):

Bullseye Glass is suspending its use of cadmium and arsenic for now, following concerns by state regulators over alarming concentrations of those substances in the air around the Southeast Portland facility. Co-owner Daniel Schwoerer emailed a short statement to the Mercury this morning:

“As of yesterday we have suspended the production of all cadmium and arsenic-bearing glasses until we better understand the information that you have brought forward.”

In a brief phone interview, Schwoerer reiterated something he said Monday: “I’m totally surprised by DEQ’s findings. We have worked with DEQ for 40 years and were never once told there were state benchmarks to meet. It’s all a major surprise.”

He declined to answer whether he still had faith in the air pollution control device commonly known as a “baghouse” that DEQ requires Bullseye Glass to deploy.

Asked in general about the by-products of making glass using cadmium and arsenic, Schwoerer said, “There shouldn’t be any by-products. The solution goes all into the glass. We’re not knowingly doing anything wrong.”

Schwoerer then ended the interview, saying that he had a room full of Bullseye employees waiting to hear from him. That he had to do “damage control.”

Update: Bullseye released the following statement on Facebook.


Maverick Mike Returns From Texas

The students in Michael Janis’ “Visualizations in Glass” circle around the instructor.

Our urban cowboy, Professor Janis, returns to Washington, DC after a teaching stint on the wide open ranges of Hot Glass Houston – looking a bit like he was rode hard and put away wet. (Like he normally does, without benefit of photoshop services.) He had a great time, and sent some photos of his frit powder imagery class, and tales of sitting by the campfire with the class. 

The students learned how to create imagery from frit powder.
The students dove right in, creating a series of samples of different techniques.
The class was very focused.
The students each created great images

A light touch…Michael divulged all his secrets of how to create fused layered images from frit powers and other media.
Besides the sgraffito technique, the students learned how to deconstruct an image into separate layers.
The images were assembled and fused into narrative studies – getting the 3 day class ready for larger works that pulled all the techniques together.
Cynthia Gilkey works on a piece that incorporates a tribute to her mother, Rieko.


Cynthia’s artwork as she worked.
The finished work.
Glass artist Kathy Jordan Walsh shows off her imagery skills.
A dam built around the glass stack keeps the glass from flowing out during the firing process.
After firing, the colors mature – what a great piece!
The glass sets up their works inside the kiln – listening intently to Cynthia as she outlines how to minimize air bubbles and “edge needles”.
The finished works as they are removed from the kiln.

Was there cattle rustling? Certainly. 

Houston has no zoning – the view from Michael’s hotel. Cow tipping allowed.

Bowling with armadillos…in the glass studio? Natch.

Honkey-Tonks and wet t-shirt contests? Hell yeah – This is Texas, after all!

Opposite from Hot Glass Houston studio is the Red River Dance Hall & Saloon.

A great time was had at a great place!

Afterwards, the class celebrates a fun session.

Portland Comes to DC


L-R Audrey Wilson, Amy Ferber, Erwin Timmers, Sean Hennessey

Bullseye Glass Company representative, Amy Ferber pops into the Washington Glass School to check up on what’s happening on the other coast.

Amy approves the clothing choice.

Amy was in town giving demos and talking with many of the Mid Atlantic glass schools and studios. It is always great fun to see her and bring her up to date on what the WGS artists are doing with glass as a sculptural medium.

Amy tries on the glass school gladiator mascot outfit.
Amy likes what she sees.

She gives the big thumbs up approval!

Artists To Watch – Jeremy Lepisto


It is our conviction that the people with the best eye for artistic talent are other artists. So for a new set of (seemingly randomly placed) ongoing blog postings titled “Artists To Watch”, we asked working artists which artists they have been watching or been influenced by. 
The profiles that follow will reflect a broad, international and quirky selection – there are some incredible choices notable in the variety of approaches represented. 
Our first profile is of an artist that was born in Fairfax, Virginia, and was recently named a “Rising Star” by the Art Alliance for Contemporary Glass – Jeremy Lepisto.

Jeremy Lepisto is a glass artist who has recently relocated to Canberra, Australia from Portland, Oregon. He creates works that have both physical and conceptual depth in his artwork through the layering of imagery. Jeremy received his BFA in glass and metals from Alfred University in 1997. He also recently completed serving 7.5 years on the Board of Directors for the Glass Art Society (GAS). 

In 2001, he co-founded Studio Ramp with his wife and fellow artist Mel George. Mel was appointed Artistic Programs Manager at Canberra Glassworks in 2009. Her narrative work will be featured in another posting. Jeremy and Mel teach a number of glass techniques at glass centers around the world; in 2005, I was part of their “Imagery in Glass” at Urban Glass in Brooklyn, where they outlined the sgraffito frit powder drawing technique. Jeremy is currently a studio artist and candidate for a PhD in Sculpture at the Australian National University in Canberra, Australia.

Jeremy Lepisto and Mel George at the 2012 GAS Conference

Jeremy utilizes glass to “highlight the simple components and ordinary workings of everyday situations to capture the complex in the common.” His forms are minimal and often contain renderings of architectural structures, landscapes and people. Some of these works will focus on what Jeremy calls, “a detailed idea in juxtaposition to its general surrounding.”

Finding inspiration in the silhouettes and lines of urban architecture, including obsolete water towers and the tangle of city power lines, Jeremy’s work encourages us to question and re-look at the surroundings we usually take for granted. Said Jeremy of his work: “…I try to highlight the ordinary components and simple workings of everyday life and situations to capture the complex in the common. I strive to create from these themes my own objects that have an intricacy of construction yet yield a result of seamless simplicity.” 

Jeremy Lepisto, “LAST SCENE” – kilnformed glass, 2004 (26″h x 5″w x 3″d)
from Jeremy’s “Tower Series

Jeremy’s painted, fused and coldworked glass sculptures speak of the everyday scenes, landscapes and spaces we all share. His detailed landscapes are constructed into three-dimensional forms to achieve great visual depth and a distinct perspective.

Jeremy Lepisto “Without Meeting”, from his “Bridge Series
Jeremy Lepisto “Without Meeting” detail 
click HERE to jump to Jeremy’s description of the background to the series.

Jeremy integrates a unique mix of enamel painting and frit powder “sgraffito” drawing technique in his work – as demonstrated in this short video of his process. Click on arrow image below to play.

A number of Jeremy’s recent series references his relocation to Australia – and the process of building a new stage in life.The works from his “CrateSeries” depict and address “the want for goods that are un-order-able, un-receivable and/or undeliverable.”

Jeremy Lepisto, “Reach”, photo by Rob Little

25″t x 16.5″w x 23.5″l

He clearly understands the demands and challenges of fused glass with his use of layers upon layers. Jeremy said that he is currently hunkered down working on his PhD in Sculpture. We look forward to seeing how his work will evolve!

Marc Petrovic Solo Show @ Heller Gallery


New York’s Heller Gallery will be presenting a solo exhibition of Marc Petrovic  – in a show titled ‘Avian’. Marc often uses bird imagery as a metaphor for relationships, parenting, home, shelter, and geographical identification. In his most recent series, Avian, he takes a closer look at his subject as he pixelates, deconstructs and then reconstructs the figure.  

To create his sculpture, Marc first creates a murrini flat patterned sheet that is later worked in the hot shop, using the roll-up process. The flat fused panel is a result of painstaking detailed cutting and firing of flat colored sheets of Bullseye glass.
Marc Petrovic with Jonathan Chapman work in the hot shop to shape the glass into a dimensional piece.

Using Bullseyecolored glass, Marc cuts the sheet glass, arranges and fuses it into abstract patterned slabs (beautiful as an abstract flat plate). He then uses the “Aussie Roll-up” technique to transform them into incredibly detailed blown glass sculptures. If you are familiar with Marc’s work, his knowledge of anatomy of (seemingly all) living creatures comes into play, as his work easily travels between obsessive, meditative labor, visionary  abstraction and poignant representation. He has been working on this show for most of the past year, and it really shows in the beauty and detail of the work.

Marc Petrovic “Avian” Hot-sculpted and blown Bullseye murrini roll-up. H 9, W 15, D 10 in.
Marc and his work will be featured in an article in the upcoming Fall 2012 print edition of GLASS Quarterly  magazine. Click HERE to jump to a set of photos on Facebook of his process.


September 7- October 6, 2012

Reception for the artist: Thursday, September 6, 6-8pm

Demo: Saturday, September 8, 2012 11am at Brooklyn Glass to benefit Urban Glass Studio.

Heller Gallery

420 West 14th St.

New York NY 10014