The Process: Public Art 900 Thayer in Silver Spring, MD – “Social Fabric”

Public art can strengthen social bonds, especially for culturally diverse neighborhoods.

Corner installation of "Social Fabric" public art at Fenton Apartments in Silver Spring, MD.

Corner installation of “Social Fabric” public art at Fenton Apartments in Silver Spring, MD.

Washington Glass Studio recently completed a public art project in Silver Spring, MD, for a new mixed use development at 900 Thayer Ave

The original 2005 design concept - cast glass panels helped define the architectural entrance to the development.

The original 2005 design concept – cast glass panels helped define the architectural entrance to the “Adele” development.

Washington Glass Studio began creating artwork options for developments on the site, starting in 2005, when the site first was being developed as a residential development called “The Adele”. After a review and approval by Montgomery County Arts Council, the project languished as the real estate market changed.

In 2013, WGS Studio began working with the developers that purchased that project site, Redbrick LMD. Working with the design team, WGS artists were inspired by the rich mixture of ethnic groups in Silver Spring. Imagery and patterns that were based on the cultural fabric and textiles, as well as indigenous weaving and embroidery patterns for tapestries, wraps, blankets and garments.

Fabrics & textiles of the cultures that make up the Silver Spring neighborhoods was the inspiration of the new artwork design for 900 Thayer.

Fabrics & textiles of the cultures that make up the Silver Spring neighborhoods was the inspiration of the new artwork design for 900 Thayer.

 

Artwork on the corner column made up of backlit glass panels would be a colorful reference to the cultures, and add a bright pop of color on the site.

The corner location of the artwork would also frame out the proposed future planned arts development that would be up the road from 900 Thayer, and the Montgomery County Review committee was keen on having the artwork go further – asking if the artwork could be extended all along the ground level of the new development. Happily, Redbrick Developers agreed, and the scope of the artwork was extended along the entire street level and apartment outdoor spaces.

The corner column at 900 Thayer was to have an 11 foot high tower of backlit panels mounted to the surfaces.

The corner column at 900 Thayer was to have an 11 foot high tower of backlit panels mounted to the surfaces.

The project stalled in 2015. In 2017, Chesapeake Realty Partners joined with Redbrick Developer and the Housing Opportunities Commission of Montgomery County in moving forward with the property  proceeded with groundbreaking and construction of the development in June of 2018.

WGS Studio was contacted and engaged to fully develop the design. WGS revisited the idea of incorporating cultural textile and fabric patterns would encourage viewers to appreciate the colorful patterns enlivening the streetscape, as well as promoting a message of open-mindedness, promote tolerance and curiosity about other cultures.

The brightly colored hand-screened glass features patterns were artistically based on Ethiopian textiles, African mudcoths, Central American weavings, European folkloric fabric prints, intricate and colorful ancestral weaving designs from Asia, Native American blankets, and Colonial American quilt patterns. Using identity and culture as the main theme of the building’s public artwork, WGS sought to inspire self-reflection, human connection, and conversation.

Teri Bailey and Patricia De Poel Wilberg work on silkscreening the enamel patterns on glass, to be fired in the kilns after.

Teri Bailey and Patricia De Poel Wilberg work on silkscreening the enamel patterns on glass, to be fired in the kilns after.

The Washington Glass Studio team worked on the production of the glass artwork starting in early 2019. Large silkscreen panels were made to allow the patterns to be enameled and fired in the WGS kilns. WGS Co-Director Erwin Timmers worked on the LED design and integration of the glass artwork.

The enameled glass was fired to keep the high contrast color selections vibrant.

The enameled glass was fired to keep the high contrast color selections vibrant.

Over 60 18″ x 18″ panels were made – and were to be mounted in a variety of multi-panel arrangements.

The installation on site began in October of 2019, and as the building occupancy needed the artwork to be completed to allow for certification, a focused WGS team made short work of the outdoor artwork installation. 

Detail of one of the LED illuminated glass panels at 900 Thayer Ave.

Detail of one of the LED illuminated glass panels at 900 Thayer Ave.

WGS Co-Director Michael Janis is a vision in orange as he preps the LED mounts for the glass.

WGS Co-Director Michael Janis is a vision in orange as he preps the LED mounts for the glass.

WGS Co-Director Erwin Timmers sets the final glass artwork panels in the corner column at the 900 Thayer site.

WGS Co-Director Erwin Timmers sets the final glass artwork panels in the corner column at the 900 Thayer site.

The Fenton Apartment corner column artwork has a strong presence in the daytime, with the LED illumination.

The Fenton Apartment corner column artwork has a strong presence in the daytime, with the LED illumination.

Project Details
Location: 900 Thayer Avenue, Silver Spring MD, 20910
Washington Glass Studio Public Art Team: Michael Janis, Tim Tate, Erwin Timmers, Teri Bailey and Patricia De Poel Wilberg.

WGS Installs Art At Prince Georges William Beanes Community Center

Installation of Suitland's William Beanes Center new public art sculpture.

Installation of Suitland’s William Beanes Center new public art sculpture.

Washington Glass Studio recently installed the site specific commission for the William Beanes Community Center in Suitland, MD. As mentioned in an earlier post, the 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. If not for Dr. Beanes, Francis Scott Key would not have been on a ship in Baltimore’s Harbor, and he would never have written the poem which became our National Anthem. 

The original design was modified to allow for installation on the center's special exterior cladding.

The original design was modified to allow for installation on the center’s special exterior cladding.

The design by Washington Glass Studio is characterized by abstracted fireworks “Bursting In Air” to connect the National Anthem and to reference imagery inspired by Suitland’s residents and heritage, the community, its history and goals. 

Each circle medallion is internally illuminated with LED lighting.

Each circle medallion is internally illuminated with LED lighting.

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. 

The completed site specific work helps draw visitors to the new community center.

The completed artwork helps draw visitors to the new community center.

On the day, all the preplanning and preparation paid off, as installation went smoothly.
Soon, WGS will take professional photos of the finished project and we will publish them online!

Witness Tim Tate’s Infinite Mirror Sculpture

Artist Tim Tate has been pulling traditional craft into new realms and depths. Tim shared his newest series “Witnesses of Wonders” and the work is incredible. In this series,Tim has been using elements that were 3-D printed at Catholic University’s modeling department combined with infinity mirrors to expand the sensation of unlimited space in the artwork. 

From Tim’s artist statement about his series:

Tim Tate, "21st Century Guernica"; Glass, Cast Images, LED; 36" x 36 x 4". In this piece a ring of translucent refugee boats float in the center, all with no where to turn to. The center ring is shared with red poppies, the symbol for war remembrance in England. The outer edge is made up of individual images from the powerful Picasso painting entitled Guernica.

Tim Tate, “21st Century Guernica”; Glass, Cast Images, LED; 36″ x 36 x 4″. In this piece a ring of translucent refugee boats float in the center, all with no where to turn to. The center ring is shared with red poppies, the symbol for war remembrance in England. The outer edge is made up of individual images from the powerful Picasso painting entitled Guernica.

“I try to entice the viewer to look deeply into and completely experience my windows into alternative dimensions. My works create an optical and bodily illusion of infinity through apparently limitless space. There is an intimacy created by viewing deeply into a circular opening, as if peering through a portal to witness another endlessly repeating reality.

Tim Tate, 21st Century Guernica - detail .  Said Tim about the imagery of the refugee boats, " Refugees right now are trying to escape unspeakable atrocities and protect their families who are turned away at country after country. This is the shame of our decade. "

Tim Tate, 21st Century Guernica – detail . Said Tim about the imagery of the refugee boats, ” Refugees right now are trying to escape unspeakable atrocities and protect their families who are turned away at country after country. This is the shame of our decade. “

 

The constant repetition of imagery also speaks to us of timelines: ones that go endlessly into the future or extend endlessly into the past. These repetitions reference society mired into static social patterns, some good, some bad.

Tim Tate. "21st Century Guernica" detail.    "Picasso made his painting in mostly tones of black white and gray "to drain the life out of them". I drenched them in red and returned color to them because this horror is happening right now in this world....in fact this very second." said Tim Tate.

Tim Tate. “21st Century Guernica” detail. “Picasso made his painting in mostly tones of black white and gray “to drain the life out of them”. I drenched them in red and returned color to them because this horror is happening right now in this world….in fact this very second.” said Tim Tate.

We look inside these portals as if seeing into a dream, fully realizing that this is but an illusion. But even though we know it is a illusion that should not stop us from freely examining it, and hopefully seeing another world at the same time.

Tim Tate, "The Endless Cycle"; 36 x 36 x 4"; Glass, Aluminum, Poly-Vitro, electronics

Tim Tate, “The Endless Cycle”; 36 x 36 x 4″; Glass, Aluminum, Poly-Vitro, electronics

Uncomfortable with any single defining time, I prefer sliding through the centuries; from 19th century Victorian techno-fetishism, to mid and late 20th century references to endless mirrors and studio glass to 21st century electronics and political focus. Perhaps all my work can be defined by how uncomfortable I am with definitions.” Tim Tate.

For more images of Tim Tate’s newest works – click HERE to have a look at his website

Tim Tate, "The Endless Cycle". Said Tim about this work: "For every man shown here, 1000 people died last year because of gun violence. For every gun shown here, a child dies every day. A hard lesson we have to learn from Orlando.....only by joining together can we hope to curtail gun violence."

Tim Tate, “The Endless Cycle”. Said Tim about this work: “For every man shown here, 1000 people died last year because of gun violence. For every gun shown here, a child dies every day. A hard lesson we have to learn from Orlando…..only by joining together can we hope to curtail gun violence.”

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.

Sean Hennessey Constructing Art

>

Sean Hennessey often incorporates electronics into his cast glass works. Here he is testing new el-wire (electroluminescent) sheet for his panels.

Artist Sean Hennessey is in da house! (Or at least da Studio!) working on a new series of cast glass/mixed media panels. Fresh from his successful show at Blue Spiral Gallery in Asheville and Artomatic, Sean continues to move forward in his artwork. Sean is kilncasting slabs of glass for his upcoming shows, including “Constructing Content” with fellow Washington Glass artists Erwin Timmers and Erin Antognoli that opens Dec 1 at the Kline Gallery in Frederick, MD’s Delaplaine Arts Center.

Opening the kiln, Sean removes the plaster from cast glass.

Sean’s glass is formed using dry-plaster casting technique captures the detail of his fingerprints.

Constructing Content

An exhibit featuring Washington Glass School sculptors Erwin Timmers, Sean Hennessey, and Erin Antognoli. The mixed media sculptors combine photography, steel and glass. More will be published online soon!

Sean appraises the composition of panel after annealing.

December 1–30, 2012

Kline Gallery

Delaplaine Arts Center

40 South Carroll Street

Frederick, Maryland 21701