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.

Petrovic & Tate Are At It Again

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Marc Petrovic and Tim Tate

Fresh from their collaborative work that is now on exhibit in the Dead or Alive show at the Museum of Arts and Design, artists Tim Tate and Marc Petrovic are working on another set of works.
Marc & Tim’s M.A.D. installation:
Apothecarium Moderne, resembles a 19th century apothecary. Take a closer look though and you’ll see that the contents of these glass sculptures represent cures for modern day ills such as Loss Of Faith, Financial Insecurity, Identity Theft and Erectile Dysfunction, The show has garnered a lot of reviews and attention, including the NY Times inclusion of an image of their work in the Time’s Science section.

Apothecarium Moderne: Glass, mixed media, video.
photography by AnythingPhotographic


This collaboration is one of many such projects that the Connecticut-based Petrovic and DC-based Tate have worked on over the years, since they first met at Penland School of Crafts in 1992.

Word is that the new series is based on the seven deadly sins & they have been busy trying out each and every sin to gain insight.

Marc Petrovic and Tim Tate

CASE STUDY: Glass Sculpture as Public Art

Prince George’s County Circuit Courthouse

Prince Georges's County Upper Marlboro Circuit Courthouse artwork

Prince Georges’s County Upper Marlboro Circuit Courthouse artwork

If you have been following the ongoing story of the Washington Glass Studio’s design and progress of the installation of Prince George County’s Upper Marlboro courthouse glass public art sculpture – the installation is almost complete. As described in the June 2009 blog posting -

The historic 1939 Circuit Court building was devastated by fire in 2004, completely destroying the ornate Duvall Wing. The old bell tower that was atop the portico entry had been reduced to the structural frame and the historic bell within had crashed down to the ground during the fire.

The cupola’s 124-year-old bell fell through the second floor during the fire and was buried in the rubble. (photo: Mark E. Brady — Prince George’s County Fire/emergency Medical)

For a number of years, during the renovation of the courthouse, the bell tower structure continued to deteriorate on what had become a construction site for both the courthouse expansion and the renovation of the damaged courthouse.

The structural remains of the original 1939 bell tower cupola.

In 2008, Prince George’s County asked two of the artists that had made artwork for the interior of the Marbury Wing court expansion to collaborate and come up with some concepts for the front entry courtyard of the refurbished court building as it neared completion. Early on, the decision was made to restore the original bell tower cupola as the center point of the public artwork sculpture, and that informed the many design concepts explored. Infill panels made of cast glass with courthouse/legal imagery, sandcarved glass infill panels, backlighting with computer controlled LED panel lighting effects, neon lighting – were some of the many different ideas that were explored and the design options were narrowed down, documented and presented to the courthouse committee, headed by Circuit Court Judge Sheila Tillerson-Adams.

Different concepts of integration of lighting and cast recycled glass were explored.

Titled “Rebirth and Renewal “, the concept was modified with input from the judges and the committee, and in late 2009, the original steel structure and copper dome top was restored and set into a new paved area outside the courthouse, near the main courthouse entry. Glass began being cast into bas-relief panels with imagery based on the courts, the legal system, Prince George’s County, and the original court building.

Cast bas-relief panels made from recycled glass were made with court and community based imagery. Michael Janis begins coldworking the panels. Nicole Puzan installs the cast textured panels into the steel framework.

Steel frames were made for the glass panel infill support. Neon artist Marty King made a neon representation of the original bell of the bell tower, which, by tradition, was struck at 9.30 am each day court was in session. An engineer certified the original bell tower cupola’s structural integrity for the modifications and reuse. Custom benches for seating around the artwork were started. The chamfered corner panel infills were designed to incorporate detailed county seals representing the counties served by the Circuit Court. These panels were clear, with deep, intricate sandcarved panels. In December of 2009, all the elements were coming together, and installation of the cast glass began.


Erwin Timmers tests the neon. Erwin Timmers and Alonzo Davis bolt the infill panels to the steel structure.

During the installation, the Washington, DC area was hit by two snowstorms that dumped the largest amount of snow ever recorded in the area’s history, and installation had to work around the snow removal efforts.

The Circuit Court for Prince George’s County shares the Seventh Judicial Circuit with the Circuit Courts for Calvert, Charles and St. Mary’s counties. Seals of each of the counties are presented in the artwork.

The Circuit Court for Prince George’s County shares the Seventh Judicial Circuit with the Circuit Courts for Calvert, Charles and St. Mary’s counties. Seals of each of the counties are presented in the artwork.

The names of the Circuit Court refurbishment committee are acknowledged in sandcarved panels mounted in the glass and steel sculpture. The cast recycled glass alternates with clear glass to allow alternating views looking into the neon bell sculpture and allowing diffused lighting from the neon to illuminate the cast glass symbols.The final elements were recently installed, and the neon switched on.

The artwork "Rebirth and Renewal" at night.

The artwork “Rebirth and Renewal” at night.


WPA "Cream" Exhibition Features DC GlassWorks Artists

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Megan Van Wagoner, Comforts of Home: Potatoes, 2010
Blown Glass, White clay | 12″ x 12″ x 8″

Washington Project for the Arts (WPA)’s opening of its newest exhibition, Cream, is this weekend, and the show runs January 30 – March 6, 2010, at the American University Museum at the Katzen Arts Center.

This annual exhibition features works by more than 110 local and national artists selected by an esteemed group of eight top curators including scholars, museum directors, practitioners and collectors.

All works are on view until the WPA Annual Art Auction Gala, which will take place March 6, 2010, during which the exhibited works are available to the highest bidders. An opening reception will be held on Saturday, January 30, 2010 from 6-9pm, along with a talk by the curators on Thursday, February 25, 2010, 6:30-9:30pm, both at the Katzen Arts Center, 4400 Massachusetts Ave. NW, WDC.

The 29th iteration of this exhibition highlights some of the region’s most talented artists, presenting a broad range of media and styles of both new and emerging artists as well as more established career artists.

Cream is a notable survey of contemporary art in the region and beyond, with selected works representing the cream of the crop and the talent of the artists included that rose above thousands of others viewed during the curatorial process.

“We are tremendously pleased with the participating curators and their art selections – the work is fresh and exciting, and there are artists with long-standing ties to WPA as well as new names that the curators are introducing to the public,” said Lisa Gold, WPA’s Executive Director.

Four artists (
David D’Orio, Joseph Corcoran, Steven Jones, and Megan Van Wagoner) of DC GlassWorks created special glass sculptures for the Art Auction Gala. These pieces will be featured in the museum exhibition and on the dining tables during the auction event, and are available for bid. Click HERE to see the WPA link on these works.

Joseph Corcoran, Direction, 2010
Glass and steel | 24″ x 14″

Steven Jones, Dialogues IV, 2009
Bronze, Glass, Steel, Aluminum | 18″ x 8″ x 6″

Dave D’Orio, Organ Model: B12.A6.Y6, 2010
Glass, steel | 30″ x 30″ x 24″

photography by Anything Photographic