2017 WGS Year in Review


A look back at some of our biggest moments of the year and what we’re looking forward to in 2018. This year brought us the first year of Trump’s presidency, a historic solar eclipse and some huge exhibits. Now, as the year draws to a close, WGS blog reflects on some of the happenings that rocked – and to some degree reshaped our place in the glass art world.


The Women’s march held in Washington D.C. on Jan. 21, 2017 was organized after the election of Donald Trump as president of the U.S. to demonstrate solidarity among women, minorities, LGBT and other disenfranchised communities. Glass Art Magazine editor Shawn Waggoner visited the Washington Glass School while in town for the event.

Glass Art Magazine editor Shawn Waggoner was one of the participants in the Womens March in January.

Glass Art Magazine editor Shawn Waggoner (second from left) was one of the participants in the Women’s March in January.

WGS Instructor Debra Ruzinsky was named the new director of the Appalachian Center for Craft. The Appalachian Center for Craft is located in scenic Middle Tennessee near the town of Smithville. The facility was built in 1979 and has spacious studios, gallery, exhibitions, administrative offices, library, student housing and meeting/audio visual rooms.

The Appalachian Center for Craft in Tennessee.

The Appalachian Center for Craft in Tennessee.

Glass Art Magazine featured our Michael Janis in a profiled in their magazine and as part of their podcast series “Talking Out Your Glass“.

Glass Art Magazine featured Michael Janis in the Jan/Feb issue.

Glass Art Magazine featured Michael Janis in the Jan/Feb issue.


Washington Glass Studio completed installation of a two-part public art project in Florida. Palm Beach County‘s Art in Public Places awarded 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). The works were installed starting in January and completed in February 2017.

Public art at Florida's West Palm Beach International Airport

Public art at Florida’s West Palm Beach International Airport

March featured the opening of “Embracing Narrative” – the joint exhibition of glass works by artists from the Washington Glass School and the Virginia Glass Guild opened this weekend at Virginia’s Portsmouth Art & Cultural Center (PACC). Juried by Diane Wright, Curator of Glass, Chrysler Museum of Art and Sheila Giolitti, Mayer Fine Art Gallery, the exhibit kicked off the Glass Art Society’s (GAS) 46th annual conference that was held at the Chrysler Museum and the Perry Glass Studio in June, 2017. embracing_narrative.GAS_conference_norfolk.washington_new_post.studio.glass_.secession.art_.exploring.invite


Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) invited WGS’ Michael Janis in April to the museum to talk about his artwork that was featured in the exhibit “Mindful: Exploring Mental Health Through Art”. He talked about his glass process and the themes that run thru his work. MOCA_meet_the_artist_Janis_michael.museum.glass_.mental_health.mindful

In April, Habatat Galleries featured works by Washington Glass School artists Erwin Timmers, Tim Tate, Michael Janis and Sean Hennessey at the gallery’s 45th Glass International Award Exhibition.

Erwin Timmers' new cast glass and LED panels were featured at the 45th International.

Erwin Timmers’ new cast glass and LED panels were featured at the 45th International.


Washington Glass School co-founder Tim Tate was invited by Glenn Adamson, senior scholar at Yale, to speak at a symposium at Yale University. Tim talked about his work, as well as artists Roberto Lugo and Stephanie Syjuco. Tim Tate talked about how objects differ from other types of evidence, when it comes to histories of ideology and belief.

Tim Tate at Yale conference.

Tim Tate at Yale conference.



WheatonArts hot shop during Glass Weekend 2017

New Jersey’s WheatonArts opened GlassWeekend 2017– an International Symposium and Exhibition of Contemporary Glass. For 32 years, GlassWeekend brought together the world’s leading glass artists, collectors, galleries, and museum curators at Wheaton Arts and Cultural Center for a three-day weekend in June. This year’s demonstrating artists were Matthew Szosz, Rik Allen, and Shelley Muzylowski Allen. The keynote speaker featured Susie Silbert, the new Curator of Modern and Contemporary Glass at the Corning Museum of Glass.

Tim Tate was one of the featured LBGTQ artists in the Liberty Museum show.

Tim Tate was one of the featured LBGTQ artists in the Liberty Museum show.

The National Liberty Museum hosted the nation’s first museum exhibit of studio glass works produced exclusively by artists of the LGBTQ+ community. Each artist explored diverse subjects, methods, and styles using the artistic medium of glass making.


Teary-eyed farewell to Our Miss Wilson - artist Trish Kent baked a farewell cake in the shape of Audrey's favorite artistic element - a feather.

Teary-eyed farewell to our Ms Wilson – artist Trish Kent baked a farewell cake in the shape of Audrey’s favorite artistic element – a feather.

The Table-making class was great fun!

The glass table-making class was great fun!

Washington Glass School’s table making class ended with some happy artist/students! Erwin Timmers class made the glass for the tabletops and welded the steel for the table bases.

Audrey Wilson was recognized unstoppable force of nature! The Art Alliance for Contemporary Glass (AACG) awarded her with their Visionary Scholarship - with it, she was off to Penland for intensive workshops. Glass Art Magazine also featured Audrey with a great profile in the July/August issue! Ms Wilson had to say goodbye to WGS, as she began MFA classes at Ohio’s Kent State.

Glass Art Magazine featured Audrey Wilson in their July/August issue.

Glass Art Magazine featured Audrey Wilson in their July/August issue.


Tim Tate outlines the history of the American Studio Glass Movement to the class.

Tim Tate outlines the history of the American Studio Glass Movement to the class.

Baltimore’s Contemporary Glass Art class held at the CCBC visited the Washington Glass School as part of their studies. The group got to meet with many of the artists working from the studio, and were able to see how a school & studio functions.


LBK gets to work making changes in the Glass School.

Laura Beth Konopinski joined the WGS crew as the new Studio Coordinator coming from the Pittsburgh Glass Center. LBK quickly updated our procedures and has taken over the workings of the busy studio. Ms Konopinski’s artwork has also been noticed, with her work being sought out for exhibition at the Miami Art Week.

“The Great American Eclipse” was the name given to the solar eclipse visible within a band across the entire contiguous United States, passing from the Pacific to the Atlantic coasts. WGS celebrated by having the community over to watch the event using the studio’s protective welding eyewear.

Said WGS Co-Director Michael Janis of the eclipse: "whoa".

Said WGS Co-Director Michael Janis of the eclipse: “whoa”.


sean.Hennessey.art.sculptureArtist Sean Hennessey became a proud papa, introducing his best work yet: Atlas Leif. Mazel tov!

The James Renwick Alliance’s (JRA) annual Distinguished Artist Series (DAS) brings notable craft artists from around the country – and in September, the season started off great with Alex Bernstein as the distinguished artist in Glass. Alex took the JRA workshop attendees along a journey from billet to awesome in about 3 hours! The  JRA Distinguished Artist walked the audience thru his signature process of “Bernstein-ing” his work, and everyone loved it!

DAS Alex Bernstein begins his workshop demo at the Washington Glass School. photo by Diane Charnov

DAS Alex Bernstein begins his workshop demo at the Washington Glass School. photo by Diane Charnov


Washington Glass School said farewell to Studio Artist Veta Carney as she retired from her law practice and headed out west with her husband to join her son Daniel Carney’s glass studio in Arizona.

Changes at the Glass Studio are best addressed with food.

Changes at the Glass Studio are best addressed with food.


The Sculpture Objects Functional Art and Design (SOFA) Fair in Chicago this past November was focused on three-dimensional art and design. Artists Tim Tate and Michael Janis were shown at Habatat Galleries space at Chicago’s Navy Pier.

Seen in Chicago SOFA 2017 at Navy Pier

Also in November, the Washington Glass Studio installed the site specific commission for the William Beanes Community Center in Suitland, MD. The internally illuminated artwork was commissioned by Prince Georges County for the new community center named for William Beanes, MD, who played a pivotal role in the history of The Star-Spangled Banner.

The William Beanes Community Center in Suitland, MD.

The William Beanes Community Center in Suitland, MD.

The images were designed and selected by the community after a series of interactive meetings and finalized with the help of local council members. The LED illuminated discs were mounted to a powder coated structure that was mounted to the building structure.



Tim Tate’s definitive profile by William Warmus in American Craft Magazine.

The December/January 2018 American Craft magazine issue features a story by author/critic William Warmus explores WGS co-founder Tim Tate’s history in the glass world. Titled “The Spaces Between“,  William writes about what drives Tim’s work, and about the development (and controversy) of the Facebook “Glass Secessionism” page.


Miami Art Week 2017 featured works by WGS crew Michael Janis, Laura Beth Konopinsk, Tim Tate, Erwin Timmers & Alum Audrey Wilson.

December 2017 finished up with an amazing feat – ALL the principal staff of the Washington Glass School were featured as part of the worlds largest and most prestigious art fair – Art Basel/ Miami Art Week. The enormous art fair envelopes Miami and one cannot help but be inspired and encouraged.

Looking Ahead

2018 promises many new opportunities – looking ahead on the calendar:

New classes at the glass school! Michigan’s Habatat Galleries will again feature WGS artists in this year’s 46th International Glass Invitational in April. Michael Janis will be teaching an intensive session at Pittsburgh Glass Center in May. Tim Tate’s artwork  will be part of the LA activist art show “Into Action!curated by John Legend, Shepard Fairy, Rosario Dawson, Harry Belafonte and other notable activists, artists and museum curators. Never a dull moment!

Washington Glass School and Studio Wishes All the Best for the Holidays! May the New Year give wings to all of our dreams and let them come true in 2018!

Laurel Library’s Grand Opening Features Public Art Sculpture by Washington Glass Studio


Washington Glass Studio sculpture at the new Laurel Library. Photo by Pete Duvall.

The Washington Glass Studio (WGS) has recently completed installation of a community based site specific public art commission for Prince George’s County Laurel Library. The new building was designed by Grimm + Parker Architects, with the grand opening of the new library scheduled for November 28, 2016. Features of the spectacular new library include an inset floor area in the children’s section where kids will get to peer at a replica velociraptor skeleton through the glass floor. Just a few miles away from the library site is Dinosaur Park, where scientists work to excavate fossils from the early Cretaceous period. Dinosaur imagery was also included as a theme running through the glass artwork panels.

WGS design proposal sketch

WGS design proposal sketch.

WGS was awarded the commission to make the outdoor sculpture at the front of the new library by Maryland’s Prince George’s Arts and Humanities Council (PGAHC). The Art in Public Places Program RFQ sought out artwork that would provide world class artwork for Prince George’’s County residents and visitors. 

WGS proposal for the project was a 17′H internally illuminated glass and steel sculpture that incorporates glass panels made by the community,residents and stakeholders of the Laurel, MD community. The engineering of the steel framework involved detailed analysis of the structure and its components. WGS worked with structural engineer Holbert Apple to ensure the integrity of the design.

Detailed analysis of sculpture was part of the design development process.

Detailed analysis of sculpture was part of the design development process.

Over 100 glass inset panels were made during the series of workshops held at the Washington Glass School. The Baltimore Sun newspaper featured a story by reporter Lisa Philip about the process. 

A series of community glass quilting bees were held at the Washington Glass School for the library during the summer.

A series of community glass quilting bees were held at the Washington Glass School for the library during the summer. Photo by Lisa Philip/Baltimore Sun



The artwork’s title “Involve Me and I Learn”  is based on a phrase attributed to US Founding Father Benjamin Franklin (who also opened the first US public library). The name references the engagement of the community. The neighborhood and the Laurel Library supporters had joined in making the individual glass panels in workshops at the Washington Glass School.Laurel_Library.artists.washington_glass_school.studio.sculpture.public_art.project.american.great.commission.site_specific.fused.jpg

The resulting variations in each tile’s imagery and technique embody the artist’s concept in bringing the people from the diverse community together to create a cohesive and vibrant sculpture. 



The artwork inset kiln-formed glass panels express the personality and the  individuality of everyone involved in the project.

The artwork’s internally illuminated kiln-formed glass panels express the personality and the individuality of everyone involved in the project. Photo by Pete Duvall

Project  Information

Artist: Washington Glass Studio 

Design Team: Laurie Brown, Michael Janis, Tim Tate, Erwin Timmers, Audrey Wilson. With Josh Hershman and Pierre Browning.

Structural Engineer : Holbert Apple Assoc Inc 

玻璃艺术雕塑 WGS_Laurel Library.MD.aipp.washington_glass_studio.public_art.sculpture.site.specific.sustainable.design.usa.jpg

Photo by Pete Duvall

Laurel Library
507 7th Street, Laurel, MD 20707

Grand Opening / Dedication – 10:30 AM, Monday, November 28, 2016 – All are invited!

No Dim Bulbs in Lighting Class!

Erwin Timmers instructs one of the lighting class students.

Erwin Timmers instructs one of the lighting class students.

Erwin Timmer’s artistic lighting class these past few weeks brought some serious color to the studio – really brightening up the studio!

Over the three week class, students completed a number of lighting designs, ranging from pendant to wall sconces and table lamps. Great to see how each created functional art that reflected the tastes and aesthetics of each of the artists. This was certainly a class that put forth the effort in the design!

Vibha's glass design was dazzling!

Vibha’s glass design was dazzling!

Students designed and made the glass as well as assembled the mounting hardware.

Students designed and made the glass as well as assembled the mounting hardware.

Louis Comfort Tiffany would have been jealous of the glass created for the light fixture.

Louis Comfort Tiffany would have been jealous of the glass created for the light fixture.

Jerrelee loves her light fixture that relates to her artwork.

Jerrelee loves her light fixture that relates to her artwork.

WGS Glass Lecture “Kiln Casters – A Close Look At The Methods Behind the Madness”

With the success of Debra Ruzinsky’s lecture this past October on the Untold History of Studio Glass – This Saturday, May 31st, is the next installment of glass knowledge!


Free Lecture – Kiln Casters: A Close Look at the Methods Behind the Madness! (Class 1701)

An exploration of the symbiotic relationship between technique and conceptual thinking as seen through the work of contemporary glass casters.  Slide discussion of artists who focus on cast glass, with an inside look into the techniques they’ve developed to produce their work. The talk will be presented with lots of images and there will be time for discussions.

Speaker: Debra Ruzinsky. Deb received her BA in Design from the University of California at Los Angeles, and her MFA in Glass Sculpture from RIT. She has been working in glass since 1982. She serves on the publications committee of the Glass Art Society, and was Visiting Asst. Professor of Glass at RIT for the 2008-2009 academic calendar year, and has been a visiting lecturer to the Virginia Commonwealth University’s Glass Program. Her work is part of the collection of the Seto City Museum in Seto, Japan, and the Glasmuseet Ebeltoft in Denmark, as well as the RIT Wallace Library Collection.

Saturday, May 31st, from 11am to 12 noon

Email RSVP to washglassschool@aol.com

Smithsonian American Art Museum Features Michael Janis

Smithsonian Distinguished Artist Michael Janis

Michael Janis at the Smithsonian Museum. Photo by Miriam Rosenthal.


Washington Glass School sgraffito workshop. Photo by Miriam Rosenthal.

The James Renwick Alliance (JRA) is an independent national non-profit organization that celebrates the achievements of America’s craft artists and fosters scholarship, education and public appreciation of craft art. The JRA is the exclusive support group of the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the U.S. national showcase of contemporary American craft. Washington Glass School Co-Director Michael Janis was named “Distinguished Artist” by the JRA. The weekend’s events included a sgraffito glass workshop with Michael held at the Washington Glass School and Michael Janis presented at the Smithsonian Museum’s Turner Auditorium outlining his career, process, and artwork. The talk at the museum was broadcast live and the Smithsonian staff promised that it would be available online soon. 3.michael.janis.smithsonian.american.art.museum.artist_glassThe final event was the JRA hosted dinner on Sunday evening – it was a very busy exciting weekend for the Washington Glass School!4.a.distinguished_artist.james.renwick.alliance.shea.trump.janis_glass_cuddle

Congratulations to Michael – well done and well deserved!


American Craft Magazine Features Washington Glass School

American Craft magazine June/July 2013

The American Craft Council(ACC) is a national, nonprofit educational organization founded with a mission to promote understanding and appreciation of contemporary American craft. Their programs include the bimonthly magazine, American Craft, annual juried shows, various workshops, seminars and conferences, and more.

The June/July 2013 issue of American Craft Magazine showcases the cast glass work being made for the U.S. Library of Congress Adams Building. Julie K. Hanus – American Craft’s senior editor and Perry A. Price  -  the ACC’s director of education had come to the school in April and made a report on the process and the artists involved. 

From the magazine: The original doors were designed in 1939 by Lee Lawrie, the sculptor whose Atlas graces Rockefeller Center. They’re massive bronze works, depicting 13 mythological and historical figures of language and learning. Over time, they had begun to fail, straining at the hinges, and didn’t meet modern building codes. Rather than altering the historic doors to address these issues, the Architect of the Capitol made a bold decision; in addition to conserving the Lawrie doors, they would reinterpret these unique Adams Building features in glass.

Jeff Wallin and Ray Ahlgren of Fireart Glass in Portland, OR casting the glass panels. Photo by Charlie Lieberman

Review of each of the LOC cast glass panels with the Architect of the Capitol. L-R Paul Zimmerman/HITT Contracting, William Warmus/Art critic, Tim Tate, Michael Janis, Kevin Hildebrand/AOC, Erwin Timmers.

The doors began installation in the spring of 2013 and the entry areas began to transform.

From the interior of East facing building lobby.
The exterior of the first set of six pairs of doors.

The magazine will be on the stands soon – and is online right now! – Click HERE to jump to the American Craft Council website.

Washington Glass Studio team L-R Tim Tate, Sean Hennessey, Michael Janis, Audrey Wilson, Erwin Timmers

John Henderson at Georgetown’s Parish Gallery


Parish Gallery Georgetown: “Through the Years” Group of Gallery Artists 

Over the past 21 years, The Parish Gallery have shown so many exciting and talented artist. This exhibition the gallery will be showing both mid-career and masters.
Washington Glass Studio artist John Henderson is one of the artists featured in show.

John began his artistic studies at the Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts, at Harvard University, where he studied visual design and composition under the artist Albert Alcalay. His artistic journey has taken him through printmaking, water colors, stained glass, metal sculpture, and finally kilnformed glass. 

Through the Years
Feb 1 – 26, 2013
Parish Gallery, 1054 31st Street, NW
Washington, DC 2007

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!