Building Worlds @ GRACE

The Greater Reston Arts Center (GRACE) in Northern Virginia’s town of Reston,  presents Building Worlds - an exhibit of artwork that focuses on the role of science fiction, scientific fact, and fantasy in the changing nature of our relationship to our fears, ideals, and questions about being human.

Laura Beth Konopinski, "Hang:Purge"; glass; 2018

Laura Beth Konopinski, “Hang:Purge”; glass; 2018; photo by Pete Duvall

The artists in this exhibition create their own worlds, including cultural references and artifacts, to question the assumptions of history-making and truth-telling. Building Worlds features the work of Michael Booker, Rachel Guardiola, Timothy Harper, Laura Beth Konopinski, and Katherine Tzu-Lan Mann.

Opening Reception and Curator’s Talk: July 21, 5–7pm

Building Worlds
July 21- September 15, 2018
Greater Reston Arts Center
12001 Market Street, Suite #103, Reston, VA 20190
703.471.9242

National Liberty Museum To Blast-Off With Spacelab Exhibit of Glass Art

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SPACELAB: An Interstellar Exhibit of Glass Art
On display at Philadelphia’s National Liberty Museum from July 6 – September 7, 2018

SPACELAB is a one-of-a-kind showcase of glass art that explores the great unknown – outer space. This collection of artwork examines human relationships with the universe, including space travel; extraterrestrial beings and intergalactic discoveries; the vastness and mystery of space; and much more. The innovative nature of glassmaking makes it the perfect medium for this subject, which has captured imaginations since the dawn of humankind. The featured work ranges from whimsical and mystical to elegant and awe-inspiring. WGS’ Laura Beth Konopinski is one of the featured artists in the exhibit. 

Laura Beth Konopinski; "her Inner space given Out"; Blown and recycled glass, torchworked and sculpted, enamel, preserved organic materials, 4.5in x 4.5in x 8.5in

Laura Beth Konopinski; “her Inner space given Out”; Blown and recycled glass, torchworked and sculpted, enamel, preserved organic materials, 4.5in x 4.5in x 8.5in

Friday, July 6 is the Opening Reception of SPACELAB. The public is invited to see a  preview the show, meet featured artists, and see a performance by the over-the-top glam rock band, OOLALA.  The event is free with a suggested donation of $10 to support the Museum’s public programming.   RESERVE NOW!

The National Liberty Museum’s mission of supporting glass art positions the institution as a unique venue to celebrate and discuss issues relevant to the international glass community.

Artists Accepted for this Exhibit:

NLM_logo_245321 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106

For more info – click link to jump to Liberty Museum website http://www.libertymuseum.org/glass-art/glassaccess-exhibits/spacelab-exhibit/

New Glass Museum opens in Sunny St. Pete!

Imagine Museum's  ribbon cutting on Tuesday, January 23rd at 10:30 a.m.

Imagine Museum’s grand opening ribbon cutting will be on Tuesday, January 23rd @ 10:30 a.m.

The brand-new Imagine Museum opens January 23, 2018 in Saint Petersburg, Florida, near the Morean Arts Center, which has a permanent collection of Dale Chihuly’s glass artwork.

The vision for the museum comes via its benefactor, Trish Duggan, a glass collector and artist in her own right. Duggan wanted to create a space with both aesthetic and civic significance, a cultural institution dedicated to her medium of choice: glass. The new museum’s primary collection will focus on the explosive growth and diversification of the studio glass movement in America since the 1960’s, and extends to new directions in contemporary glass.

The collection of the museum seeks to present an historical Family Tree of the American Studio Glass Movement from the 1960’s to the present. This 55-year phenomenon is represented by 55 prominent glass artists who exemplify its vitality. The collection comprises almost 500 extraordinary works that highlight the connections and influences among studio glass pioneers through to the present. The museum’s collection was acquired with the help of Corey Hampson, president and owner of Michigan’s Habatat Galleries, who was acting as a “curatorial advisor.” 

imagine,museumImagine Museum
1901 Central Avenue
Saint Petersburg, Florida 33713

 

Workhouse Glass National 2015

lorton.glass.national.maurine_littleton.2015.usa.art.virginiaLorton, Virginia’s Workhouse Arts Center opened its 1st Annual Workhouse Glass National Exhibition reception this past weekend. The exhibit was created from an “Open Call” for functional and/or sculptural glass artworks, juried by the legendary gallerist, Maurine Littleton.

Featuring a range of contemporary glass artwork currently being created throughout the United States of America, Washington Glass School is proud that works by two WGS Resident Artists, Veta Carney and Diane Cooper Cabe were among the artwork selected for the exhibit. Congratulation to all the artists!

Artists exhibiting:
Paul Heller, Elizabeth James, Sandi Martina, Nancy Nicholson, Biba Schutz, Barbara Atkinson, Suellen Black, Diane Cooper Cabe, Veta Carney, Eli Cecil, Lauren Cummings,, Dick Ditore, Jean Fernandes, Rhonda Gilbert, Charlie Holden, Jaye Houle, Benjamin Johnson, Winn Jones, Rollin Karg, Laura Beth Konopinski, Andrew Madvin, Ursula Marcum, Jennifer Nauck, Steven Ramsey, Mary Richardson, Scott Slagerman, Paul Swartwood, Natalie Tyler and Janet Wittenberg

Workhouse Glass National 2015

Now thru  - January 17, 2016

9518 Workhouse Way, Lorton, VA 22079

Glass as Sculptural Medium Talk at ISC Conference

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The ISC conference returns to New Orleans for the 24th International Sculpture Conference: Sculpture, Culture, and Community, being held from October 1-4, 2014. This conference will feature panel discussions, keynote speakers, ARTSlams, optional tours, and networking events, and will explore how sculpture and the arts can rejuvenate communities and economies.

One of the panel discussions, “Glass as Sculptural Medium in the 21st Century” is sure to be one to see! Moderated by Patrick Blythe, the panelists include Tulane University Professor Gene Koss, arts writer/critic/historian/scuba diver William Warmus, and WGS Professor Tim Tate.

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If you are going to the vibrant city of New Orleans for the ISC conference – make sure your calendars marked for Friday’s talk starting at 2:30 pm at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art.

The Process: Public Art and Placemaking

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DC Ward 7 Green Community Arch sculpture located at the new Unity Healthcare Building.

One of the Washington Glass Studio’s most ambitious public art projects has just completed installation. The DC Commission on the Arts & Humanities commissioned the sculpture for the new Unity Healthcare facility in Washington, DC, and the glass-and-steel artwork was installed without a problem this week.

Michael Janis bolts the panels to the top of the public art sculpture before the work is hoisted into place.

Michael Janis bolts the panels to the top of the public art sculpture before the work is hoisted into place.

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Concept design for the Green Community Gateway Arch

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The public artwork concept was designed and engineered to a high level.

The design of the public artwork was intended to mark the symbolic entrance to the Kenilworth / Parkside section of DC’s Ward 7. This area (near Caeser Chavez charter school, the Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens and the Anacostia Freeway) was recently identified as a DC Promise neighborhood – and its experiencing a renewed investment in neighborhood revitalization. After meeting with community representatives, the WGS team focused on themes that were strongly held. A “Community Gateway Arch” became the vision for the placemaking sculpture that would help identify the new environment. The glass panel insets in the 16′ tall sculpture would be made with the help of the neighborhood residents, students of the high school, and the staff of the new Unity Healthcare facility. The Washington Glass Studio worked with the DC Creates! Public Art Program selection committee, the DCCAH Council, Unity Parkside Health Care, the Ward 7 ANC and the community and held a series of glass “quilting-bees” and made a communal environment where community and art were not separate. 

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Artist Erwin Timmers oversaw the structural integration of support framework, LED lighting and glass panel insets.

The 16′ high x 14′ wide sculpture lit internally with LED lighting was one of the largest outdoor artworks installed to date for the Washington Glass Studio, and much went into the design, engineering and the fabrication of the steel framework. 

DCCAH invitation to Ward 7 to make glass at WGS

DCCAH invitation to Ward 7 to make glass at WGS

In early 2014, with the structural foundation for the artwork finished and the steel framework underway, the call went out to the community to come make glass. By directly involving the public in the creation of the new landmark, the space would resonate because the artwork would have meaning to all – as everyone had the chance to tell their story.  The glass workshops were packed. Many of the people that came to work in glass returned to each of the scheduled dates – they loved working in glass and wanted to see how the artwork changed once fired. 

DC ANC Commissioner Willie H. Woods, Jr and DCCAH Exec Director Lionell Thomas were among the community enlisted to interact with the glass artwork.

DC ANC Ward 7 Commissioner Willie H. Woods, Jr and DCCAH Exec Director Lionell Thomas were among the community enlisted to interact with the glass artwork.

By having many area residents making the glass art insets, the sculpture has an increased sense of local identity. The artwork arch stimulates curiosity, inspired some of the budding artists to consider new artistic avenues and on occasion, create a smile.

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Many voices told many stories in the inset panels that made up the glass quilt archway.

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Opposite view of Washington, DC’s Green Community Arch.

The formal opening ceremony of the Anacostia Arch with DC Mayor Gray is now being scheduled. We will update on the school’s FB page and on the blog!

Project Details

  • Location: Corner Hayes Street & Kenilworth Terrace, NE; Washington, DC 20019
  • Washington Glass Studio Public Art Team: Michael Janis, Tim Tate, Erwin Timmers, Audrey Wilson, Derek Thomas, Miles Lark, Cris Chaney and Robyn Townsend
  • Structural Engineers: Holbert Apple Associates, Inc and Wolfman and Associates
  • Structural Steel: Iron Kingdom
  • Number of Glass Tile Insets: Over 300
  • Weight of Sculpture: 2000 lbs

DC’s SEED Charter School: Come to Washington Glass School & Learn About Sins

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The SEED School of Washington, DC


The SEED school of Washington DC is a public charter boarding school
whose mission is “to provide an outstanding intensive educational program that prepares children … for success in college.” This past week, students from the school came to the Washington Glass School for a one-day hands-on class that mixed art, history, chemistry, mathematics and physics.


The students worked at creating bas-relief cast glass artwork that related to “The Seven Deadly Sins” – which, here at the Washington Glass School, is one subject we know all about. The dry plaster casting – that is. Tim Tate and Marc Petrovic did do a collaborative mixed media glass sculpture on the Seven Deadly Sins, and, as we all know, Tim is the devil
– so who better to seek advice?


Not quite sure where a mermaid fits into the 7 Deadly Sins…perhaps its not a mermaid but a Siren (Lust)? or is it “check out my awesome tail” (Pride)?


Erwin Timmers points out the obvious.

The class had a great time creating imagery in plaster that glass would be formed into as bas-relief.
The SEED school arts instructor, Kamala Subramanian said later:
It is not easy to maintain the attention, much less excite teenager students today, where the most exciting things, to me, appear boring to them. You all have earned an A+ in my book of field trips and art experiences!

So there! The Washington Glass School got its first A+!

ReadysetDC on Washington Glass School

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The hip and trendy culture blog – ReadysetDC just covered the Washington Glass School 10th anniversary exhibition at Long View Gallery with an in-depth review of the show with insights about the Washington Glass School directors and DC GlassWorks’ Dave D’Orio.

Writer Natalie Stemp has some thoughtful takes on the changing status of glass as a sculptural medium:
“Let’s play a game. If I say “canvas”, what do you picture? You probably imagine art – Vermeer, Seurat, Picasso, Mondrian, maybe even DC’s Chris Martin. What if I say “glass”? Do the words “sink, wine, stained” instantly light up like neon signs? If so, you are not alone, but the Washington Glass School (WGS) wishes you were.

The Studio Glass Movement was founded just 50 years ago, so it is not surprising that most of us still perceive glass art strictly as decorative. In fact, the WGS – the face of the Movement in DC along with DC GlassWorks – celebrated its 10 year anniversary last weekend with a reception at Longview Gallery that concluded a month-long retrospective exhibition. After touring the exhibition with Michael Janis, co-director of WGS, I find it difficult to understand why the art establishment struggles to include consistent representation of expressive glass art at preeminent shows and museums. Think about the museums you visited in the past year: did any of them include contemporary glass art in its curation?…”

Natalie’s article contains many photos taken from the exhibition and comments about the featured artist’s work.

ReadysetDC is an online zine dedicated to the creative revolution and movement that is happening in Washington, DC.

Click HERE to jump to ReadysetDC’s article.

The Process: National Geographic’s Environment Award

>This posting is the first of a new feature for the Washington Glass School blog: The Process’.
The occasional series will present a photo documentation of a project from start (or at least when we remembered to get a camera going) to finish, highlighting the steps, process and techniques involved. Mistakes, dramas, and screw-ups will be magically deleted from the documentation postings, naturally.

Our first of the series is a focus on the making of National Geographic’s newest award – the ‘National Geographic Arts Ambassador for the Environment Award’ . The recipient for the inaugural award is musician Jack Johnson.

Uber-mellow singer-songwriter-surfer-filmmaker Jack Johnson has dedicated himself to environmental causes, including educational initiatives and promoting eco-friendly touring in the music industry.

Musician and environmental activist Jack Johnson was to receive the newly created “Arts Ambassador for the Environment Award,” presented to an individual in the entertainment field who has demonstrated leadership in environmental and cultural conservation by elevating issues of sustainability and inspiring audiences to care about the planet. Jack Johnson grew up surfing and playing guitar in Hawaii. He released his first album in 2001 and, in the last ten years, has released 5 more albums that have sold over 20 million copies worldwide. In 2003, Jack and his wife Kim founded the Kokua Hawaii Foundation and Kokua Festival to support environmental education in Hawaii’s schools and communities. In 2008, Jack donated 100% of his tour profits to establish the Johnson Ohana Charitable Foundation, an endowment founded by Jack and Kim Johnson to support environmental, art and music education worldwide. These tour profits, along with Johnson’s personal charitable activities, have resulted in millions donated to charity since 2001.

In keeping with the environmental conscious theme, the National Geographic Society asked for an award that was made from recycled glass, and a number of designs were studied.


As the award was to be yearly, the concepts had to allow for art ambassadors that worked in areas of interest such as “oceans” or “forests” or “wildlife” and be able to relate equally to those themes. Early on, a globe shape was favored by the National Geographic award committee. Recycled float (window) glass was to be cast using the lost wax process. The National Geographic committee stipulates that the cast glass globe be removable, and options for the support base are explored.

The Process:

Spraying the clay original with a mold release agent.


Pouring the rubber mold compound around the original clay form.


After setting up – preparing to cut open the rubber mold and remove the clay form. After removal of the clay, melted wax is poured into the rubber mold, and a wax copy of that form is removed.


The wax original.


The wax original is coated with with layers of a plaster/silica mix, building up the form until a solid covering is achieved.


The plaster/silica form is allowed to set up. Once hardened, the wax is melted out – the essence of the ‘lost wax’ process.


Checking the mold for any wax residue.


Recycled float glass is cleaned and made ready for casting.


The molds are loaded into the electric kilns and glass placed into ceramic pot reservoirs. The glass globes go through a six day annealing cycle.


After the glass is cooled, the forms are removed from the kilns.


The molds are broken open, being mindful of the glass contained within.


Chipping away at the plaster mold.


The glass is cleaned and coldworked. Rough spots are ground and polished to a shine.


Robert Kincheloe evaluates the level of shine on the glass globe continents.


While the cast glass globe is being coldworked, the base for the globe and the award nameplate is being created. A custom ceramic mold is shaped and fired. A flat blank made from recycled glass is fused and made ready to slump into the ceramic mold.


The glass base is fired in the kiln and coldworked to receive the glass globe.

The base is fitted with a clear gasket to prevent chipping of glass.


Studio photos of the award and of the evening were promised by National Geographic – we will post once we get the shots!

About the National Geographic award night:

The theme of the National Geographic’s inaugural “Evening of Exploration” celebration was “Oceans,” and the event was attended by an all-star cast of explorers and other luminaries, including newly appointed National Geographic Explorers-in-Residence filmmaker James Cameron and marine ecologist Enric Sala, as well as other Explorers-in-Residence who presented the evening’s awards: oceanographer Robert Ballard, marine biologist Sylvia Earle, wildlife filmmakers Dereck and Beverly Joubert and population geneticist Spencer Wells.

In keeping with the environmental theme – the appetizers were made from “invasive species” – like snakehead fish sushi.

Besides Jack Johnson, the other honorees included: Environmental anthropologist Kenny Broad and the late underwater photographer Wes Skiles were named “Explorers of the Year,” a new award presented in recognition of their extraordinary achievements in exploring and documenting the Blue Holes of the Bahamas in 2010. The National Geographic “Chairman’s Award” was presented to IBM for significantly advancing knowledge of the world through its research partnership with National Geographic on the Genographic Project, which is mapping the migratory history of humans.

The master of ceremonies was Wolf Blitzer, CNN’s lead political anchor. Following the awards presentation, Johnson performed songs for the crowd.

Jack Johnson performing at the National Geographics award gala.

Proceeds from the evening will benefit National Geographic’s Explorer programs, comprising the Explorers-in-Residence, Fellows and Emerging Explorers. The “Evening of Exploration” was the culmination of the two-day National Geographic 2011 Explorers Symposium, an annual event at which National Geographic Explorers-in-Residence, Fellows, Emerging Explorers, grantees and others affiliated with National Geographic gather to share findings of their research and fieldwork and take part in panel discussions.

Happy Birthday to US!

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oh boy oh boy oh boy!

Join the artists of the Washington Glass School as they celebrate their 10th Anniversary with a birthday bash at Long View Gallery. The exhibit “Artists of the Washington Glass School: The First 10 Years” will close that night, and a party to celebrate is in order!

If you haven’t seen the show that is a Washington Post Newspaper “Editor’s Pick” – here is your chance! (If you have, come see it again!)

Washington Glass School
10th Anniversary Party
Long View Gallery
1234 9th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20001
Sunday, June 19th, 2011
2-5 pm

Click here to jump to the Post’s art critic Michael O’Sullivan’s review of the exhibit.