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

Washington Glass Studio sculpture at the new Laurel Library.

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 

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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.

Bringing Light To The Dark Side

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Novie Trump is a world renown ceramic artist, working from Flux Studios, located right next door to the Washington Glass School. Her poetic sculptural work often involves depictions of nature – presented in unexpected and captivating ways. 

Novie Trump Escape Installation of porcelain butterflies and ceramic book
Ceramic, Acrylic Rods, Steel 
60” x 60” x 24”(variable)

Novie is working on a commissioned artwork piece that came to her via Project 4 Gallery: to create large scale installation that will be located in the new Farmers & Fishers restaurant now being built at the Georgetown waterfront.

Her artwork design calls for many porcelain bees to be clustered around illuminated hives are various locations. The design of the beehive has brought her to the glass studio – and it is a chance for the glass artists to bring Novie over to the dark – or rather – the glassy side.

Erwin Timmers offers some adventurous suggestions to Novie, but from the expressions on both her and Tim Tate’s face, they seem unlikely to be incorporated. 
A sample of Novie Trump’s porcelain bees

Novie chose to work with illuminated glass – creating a pattern of cellular hive divisions with frit powder fused to glass, and slumped over a tapered form. The WGS fritmaster – Michael Janis – offered Novie some pointers on how to manipulate the powder.

Novie Trump and Michael Janis share a laugh as they work
Novie sifts glass powder onto a sheet of glass
Manipulating frit powder is a delicate operation
Novie Trump and Michael Janis evaluate the glass’ progress prior to loading the layer in a kiln for firing

After fusing, the samples are compared by Novie Trump for her preferred selection of color and texture combination 

Novie made many studies of the color and textures and tested the samples with light source alternates.
The glass will later be slumped and a housing for the lighting made in the glass school’s welding shop. Novie will be making the rest of her porcelain swarms and fusing the glass in the next few months, and she promises to send us photos of the finished work.

A Bit of A Tease

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Next month, the LongView Gallery will present : “Artists of the Washington Glass School – The First Ten Years“. In bringing The First Ten Years to Washington, DC, LongView Gallery asks artists and audience alike to cast aside traditional notions of glass art and participate in a new form of dialogue; one that looks to the future and not the past. This exhibition is still in the process of being curated by the gallery, but one of the works submitted is so amazing, below is a sneak peak of the show.

Elizabeth Ryland Mears and William “Tex” Forrest have created a collaborative sculpture piece. The illuminated work is over 6′ tall, made of flameworked glass, steel wire & fabric.


Liz Mears & Tex Forrest’ design sketch

Full-size sample

Liz & Tex at the glass school for a photo shoot of the finished sculpture

Elizabeth Mears shows the tactile detail of the glass….”embellishments”

The finished work – photography by Anything Photographic.
Detail of the lampworked glass

The First Ten Years is intended to celebrate – and instigate– the new directions contemporary glass is exploring through various artistic metaphors. Featured artists include: Tim Tate, Michael Janis, Erwin Timmers, Elizabeth Mears, Syl Mathis, Lea Topping, Robert Kincheloe and others.

Washington Glass School: The First 10 Years

LongView Gallery

1234 9th Street, NW, Washington, DC
May 19 – June 19,2011

Artist Reception, May 19th, 6:30-8:30 PM