Ginny Ruffner: A Movie & A Show

>Multimedia artist Ginny Ruffner‘s artwork is an exuberant, mind-blowing party. No matter whether her medium is glass, paint, metal, or paper, the result is a kaleidoscopic explosion of color and form that blurs the lines between indoors and out, natural and mechanical, dream and waking.

Ginny lives and works in Seattle, WA. Despite a life interrupted by a near-fatal auto accident in 1991, Ginny’s years of painstaking recovery have been richly productive.

On Wednesday, February 29, 2012 at 12:00 noon the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum will screen “Ginny Ruffner: A Not So Still Life ”, a movie that peers into the kaleidoscopic mind of American glass artist Ginny Ruffner. The documentary explores Ruffner’s journey from her childhood in South Carolina to her emergence as a world-renowned artist. The film also highlights her influences, including Dale Chihuly, Graham Nash, and Tom Robbins. The film is 80 minutes in length and was directed by Karen Stanton.

The event will take place at the Grand Salon of the Renwick Gallery and admission is free. After the screening, Ginny will participate in a discussion about the film and sign copies of the DVD that will be available for purchase on site.

Ginny Ruffner: Works On Paper

Following screening of the film, Maurine Littleton will feature an exhibition of Ginny’s new work, including Ginny’s new works-on-paper at the gallery.

The gallery event will begin at 2:00 PM and Ginny will be present. The Maurine Littleton Gallery is located at 1667 Wisconsin Ave NW, Washington DC.

Also on exhibit are Jeff Zimmer‘s new layered glass works in the upper level gallery space.

Ginny Ruffner: A Not So Still Life

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Save The Date!
February 29, 2012 at noon, the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum will screen “Ginny Ruffner: A Not So Still Life.” “A Not So Still Life” peers into the kaleidoscopic mind of American glass artist Ginny Ruffner. The documentary explores Ruffner’s journey from her childhood in South Carolina to her emergence as a world-renowned artist. The film also highlights her influences, including Dale Chihuly, Graham Nash, and Tom Robbins. The film is 80 minutes in length and was directed by Karen Stanton; produced by Shadowcatcher Entertainment/Tom Gorai. The event will take place at the Grand Salon of the Renwick Gallery and admission is free. After the screening, Ginny will participate in a discussion about the film and sign copies of the DVD that will be available for purchase on site.

Glass artist Ginny Ruffner can’t be summed up in one word, but the most commonly used term is “inspiring”. Adding to Ginny’s extraordinary story is her astounding recovery from a near-fatal car accident in 1991 which left her in a coma for five weeks and confined to a hospital for five months. Doctors were convinced that she would never walk or talk again, but true to her indomitable spirit, Ginny Ruffner transformed a potentially tragic accident into a career of even more imaginative creations. From pop-up books, to room-sized installation pieces, to public works, Ginny’s art has blossomed and continues to expand. Ginny Ruffner: A Not So Still Life marks ShadowCatcher Entertainment’s first feature-length documentary, and one sure to challenge you to see the world from a new and unexpected perspective.

Following screening of the film, Maurine Littleton will feature an exhibition of Ginny’s work at the gallery. The gallery event will begin approximately at 2:00 PM and Ginny will be present.

The Maurine Littleton Gallery is located at 1667 Wisconsin Ave NW, Washington DC.

Historical Glass Fun Facts : Invention of Pyrex & the Studio Glass Movement

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From this. . . . . . .. . . . . . . .to this.

“It was all her idea”

The History of Pyrex
Back in the early 1900′s, Corning Glass Works was working on a request from the railroads to produce lantern glass that would not break when the hot glass was struck by rain or snow. In response to this request, Corning developed globes made from low-expansion glass that could withstand the abuses of weathering and handling which readily broke the flint glass globes. Ironically, the shatterproof lantern globes generated were so good that Corning‘s managers witnessed a decline in sales of replacement globes. This super-tough “fire glass”, as it was called, was resistant to temperature fluctuations, chemical corrosion and even breakage.
Eugene Sullivan, Director of Research at Corning Glass Works, developed Nonex, a borosilicate low-expansion glass, to reduce breakage in shock-resistant lantern globes and battery jars. (Borosilicate glass was originally developed at the Jena Glass works by Otto Schott, which Sullivan had learned about as a doctoral student in Leipzig, Germany.)

In July 1913, a series of events involving Bessie Littleton, the wife of the company’s newest scientist – Dr Jessie Littleton, forced Corning managers to focus their attention on the consumer venture. Apparently, Mrs. Littleton had used a Guernsey brand casserole only twice when it fractured in the oven. Knowing the strength of the glass her husband worked with on a daily basis, she implored him to bring home a substitute from the Corning Glass Works plant. He returned the next evening with the bottoms of two sawed-off battery jars made from low-expansion glasses. Mrs. Littleton cooked a sponge cake in one of the surrogate baking dishes. She noted several remarkable findings:
• The cooking time was shorter
• The cake did not stick to the glass; it was easy to remove with little adhesion
• The cake was unusually uniform
• The flavor of the cake did not remain in the dish after washing
• She could watch the cake bake and know it was done by looking at the underside.

Mr. Littleton brought his wife’s creation to work the following day. Laboratory researchers inspected the cake, which was a “remarkable uniform shade of brown all over.” The men deemed it delicious and very well baked. (A favorite of any lab conclusion, Ed.) Thus began a two-year process to perfect this new invention. The notion of baking in glass was a whole new concept to the public. In 1915, a wondrous new line of “glass dishes for baking” appeared in the nation’s hardware, department and china stores. On May 18, 1915, Boston department store Jordan Marsh placed the first PYREX bakeware order.

The Littleton’s had a son – Harvey K Littleton. Harvey was born in 1922 and was briefly employed by the Corning Glass Works in the 1940s, where he developed his glassmaking skills and began to pursue the idea of glass as a medium for artistic expression. The earliest objects in the exhibition are two experimental cast female torsos, dating to 1942 and 1946, which are the first works in glass made by Littleton while working at Corning Glass Works. Also featured are glass vessels from the early 1960s, dating to the years just after the seminal Toledo Workshops, as well as a bottle made at the 1962 Workshops.

Click HERE to jump to the story of Harvey Littleton and his historic workshops that brought glass from the factory to the artists.

Other Glass Fun Facts to know and tell:

Glass Fun Facts: Gaffer/Composer

More Glass Fun Facts: Bullseye Glass

Float Glass Fun Facts

Glass Fun Facts – Shattered Glass Predicts Weather

Why is Glass Transparent?

Harvey K. Littleton and the Studio Glass Movement

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In 1962, two groundbreaking workshops led by artist Harvey K. Littleton and glass scientist Dominick Labino introduced artists to the material of glass as a medium for artistic expression. Littleton and Labino presented their development of a small, portable furnace and low temperature melting-point glass, providing artists access to glass and glassblowing techniques for the first time. These workshops kickstarted the Studio Glass movement, which emphasized the artist as designer and maker, with a focus on making one-of-a-kind objects.

In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the American Studio Glass movement, in 2012, a number of museums will be mounting exhibitions on the history and origins of the movement.

The Corning Museum of Glass has two exhibitions that opened November 17, 2011 and will run through January 6, 2013.

In the Spring 2012: Chazen Museum of Art (University of Wisconsin, Madison) has an exhibition planned, and there is an exhibition planned for November 2, 2012 thru December 21, 2012 at the: Visual Arts Center of Richmond (Richmond, Virginia)


The man called the father of the Studio Glass Movement was not at first a glass artist. Littleton was born in 1922 and raised in Corning, New York. Throughout his childhood, he had many opportunities to observe glassworking processes and to learn about the properties of glass at the Corning Glass Works. His father, Dr. Jesse T. Littleton, known as J.T., was an expert in the infrared properties of silicon and the first physicist to join the newly established research team at Corning Glass Works headed by Dr. Eugene C. Sullivan.

J.T. Littleton often discussed the properties of glass as dinnertime conversation, and Saturday morning visits to the glassworks were routine for Littleton when he was young. In 1936, he and his brothers witnessed, with his father and many others, the dramatic failure of the first casting of the 200-inch mirror for the Hale Telescope at Mount Palomar in California.

Littleton’s mother, Bessie Cook Littleton, was instrumental in developing Corning’s Pyrex cookware. J. T. Littleton had the idea that Corning’s low-expansion borosilicate glass, which had been developed for use in battery jars (used in rural areas before widespread electrification), could be used for cooking. He took home a battery jar that had been cut into a round, shallow pan, and he convinced his wife to bake a cake in it. Her success led to the development of Corning’s Pyrex housewares.


After receiving a master of Fine Arts from Cranbrook Academy of Arts Harvey Littleton embarked on the career of potter. Littleton received recognition for his work as a ceramicist in a national exhibition sponsored by the American Crafts Council at the First International Exposition of Ceramics in Cannes, France.

In 1959 he began to investigate the possibility of glass as a medium, and in 1960 had melted glass and cold-worked lumps of cullet. In the summer of 1962 the Toledo Museum of Art invited Littleton to lead a glassblowing workshop. It was in that seminar that Littleton introduced the idea that glass could be mixed and melted, blown and worked in the studio by the artist. Up to that time it was widely believed that glass objects could only be made in the highly structured, mass-produced world of the glass industry where the labor of making glass is divided between designers and skilled craftsmen.


With Littleton’s active encouragement and promotion, glass programs sprang up at universities, art schools, and summer programs across the country during the late 1960s and early 1970s; and the Studio Glass movement became an international phenomenon. What began fifty years ago as a small group of artists who shared an interest in glass as an artistic material has grown into an international community of thousands.”

In 1984, his daughter, Maurine Littleton opened an art gallery committed to artists working in glass and ceramics in Washington DC’s historic Georgetown neighborhood.


Rizzoli Publications

Maurine advised on Joan Falconer Byrd‘s new book : Harvey K Littleton: A Life in Glass” – This new book has many previously unpublished archival photographs and a detailed chronology. Images and the history of Littleton’s early ceramic and glass vessels and his richly colorful glass sculptures, among them the late “Lyrical Movement” series are detailed in this beautifully designed book. The book includes work by his close friend and European counterpart Erwin Eisch and his former student and much-celebrated glass artist Dale Chihuly.


Below is “Pioneers of Studio Glass” – a video that was produced by WGTE Public Media for the Art Alliance for Contemporary Glass. It is a fascinating look at the 1962 Toledo Workshops where Harvey Littleton and Dominick Labino first experimented with making glass outside of the factory setting.


Pioneers of Studio Glass from corecubed on Vimeo.

Report From SOFA Chicago

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Finally had a chance to catch my breath from a rushed viewing of the 18th Annual Sculpture Objects and Functional Art Fair (SOFA) held at Chicago’s Navy Pier!.
This year’s SOFA Chicago
featured more than 60 international art galleries and dealers presenting museum-quality artworks and design, as well as lecture and tour series.
SOFA CHICAGO 2011 highlights included:

Maurine Littleton Gallery
The Washington, DC gallery showcased the newest works by WGS artists Michael Janis and Allegra Marquart alongside some of the “glass superstar legends” like Harvey Littleton, Therman Statom and Ginny Ruffner.


Works shown include Colin Reed, John Littleton, Kate Vogel, Harvey Littleton, Michael Janis, Therman Staom, Allegra Marquart, Ginny Ruffner and Drew Storm Graham.


Allegra Marquart’s new narrative sandcarved glass panels (L) and Drew Storm Graham’s wood assemblages (R).


John Littleton and Kate Vogel’s cast glass artwork.

Michael Janis’ painterly fused glass artwork

Jane Sauer Gallery
The Santa Fe gallery had a strong mix of artists in a variety of media.

Tim Tate’s delicious new works – cast glass sweets! Tim also featured framed hand-colored prints of his imagery.


Tim Tate’s video reliquaries are always a show favorite.

Hawk Gallery
The Cincinnati gallery had a stunning solo show of cast glass work by Bertil Vallien.


A stunning cross-section of Bertil’s works.

Bertil’s ladle cast glass encases beautiful imagery.

Bullseye Gallery
The Portland, OR based gallery featured the new directions kilnformed glass is heading.


April Surgent’s cameo-etched work.

Silvia Levensen’s fun sculpture and fused glass panels.

Catherine Newell’s new fused glass panels.

Heller Gallery
Always a must-see, the New York gallery had some instant favorites.


Susan Taylor Glasgow’s “Communal Nest” -a large-scale assemblage consisting of glass twigs, real branches, a chair and a glass pillow. The work was built with help from the community and from artists around the world, all of whom contributed glass twigs to this “collective” nest. But despite these and other it-takes-a-village aspects — Susan’s work ultimately suggests a rather ironic view of home.

Susan Taylor Glasgow’s visions of domestic bliss.
Steffan Dam’s glass recalls scientific analysis.

Marc Petrovic’s roll-up process and stunning technique and aesthetic continues to amaze and impress.

Beth Lipman’s table of fish.

Duane Reed Gallery
The St Louis gallery featured some glass beauties.


Kari Russell Pool’s beautiful flameworked sculptures.


Cassandra Blackmore’s abstract glass panels.

Some works that also caught our eye:


Janis Miltenberger’s flamework sculpture at Thomas Riley Galleries.

Australia’s Beaver Gallery showed Jeremy Lepisto’s crate series.

Wexler Gallery showed how the simplicity of Sydney Cash’s work plays with the light.

Blue Rain showed the fun and beautiful work by Rik Allen. Here a glass spaceman floats amongst the glass.


The annual show was a great time to see the best of media-based artwork and meet some of the artists I’ve only read about.
Many thanks to Betty Py for the photos – for more of her images of glass art shown at SOFA – CLICK HERE to jump to the Flickr site she set up for Washington Glass School.

SOFA Chicago Opens Nov 3

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SOFA Chicago @ Navy Pier

The 18th Annual Sculpture Objects and Functional Art Fair, SOFA CHICAGO 2011, enjoys the prestigious position of being the largest and longest continually running international gallery-based art fair in Chicago. SOFA CHICAGO 2011 runs at Navy Pier Nov. 4 – Nov. 6. The SOFA CHICAGO and Intuit Show’s joint Opening Night Preview on Thursday, Nov. 3.

SOFA features more than 60 international art galleries and dealers presenting museum-quality art and design. SOFA galleries bridge a wide range of cultures, art movements and historical periods.

Our Tim Tate, Allegra Marquart and Michael Janis are representing in the Windy City.

Allegra Marquart and Michael Janis will be shown at Maurine Littleton Gallery – space #720


Maurine Littleton Gallery at SOFA Chicago 2010

Tim Tate will be featured at Jane Sauer Gallery – space # 307.
Tim’s new work features a new video & glass and a non-video series.


Tim Tate
The Silent Ode

blown & cast glass, original video, electronics

Below is the video that is incorporated into the artwork – where the singer is silently performing Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” – which is how Beethoven would have experienced the song – as he became deaf. The cast glass hands are the words to the song in sign language.

Untitled from Tim Tate on Vimeo.

GlassWeekend 2011 Biennial Features WGS Artists

>GlassWeekend is a major contemporary glass event that runs from June 10 to 12 at WheatonArts in Millville, New Jersey. The three-day biennial weekend, first organized in 1985, brings together an international community of leading collectors, museum curators, gallery dealers, and artists for lectures, demonstrations and exhibitions. The event is organized by The Creative Glass Center of America at WheatonArts (CGCA) and the Art Alliance for Contemporary Glass (AACG). Over the course of three days, Millville, New Jersey, will be ground-zero for glass art auctions, workshops, and lectures.

Glass art legend Dan Dailey will speak Saturday. Other highlights of Saturday’s lectures include a round-table of museum curators discussing their approach to exhibition planning moderated by Newark Museum decorative arts curator Ulysses Dietz and including Elizabeth Agro, Philadelphia Museum of Art associate curator of American modern and contemporary crafts and decorative arts; Renwick curator Nicholas Bell; and the fast-rising Ron Labaco, recently appointed curator of decorative arts and design at the Museum of Arts and Design.

Washington Glass School will be represented at the Biennial by Tim Tate, Allegra Marquart and Michael Janis – Michael will also be named “Rising Star”
by The Creative Glass Center of America at WheatonArts and the Art Alliance for Contemporary Glass.

Millville, New Jersey has long been associated with glass. In 1739 when Casper Wistar founded America’s first successful glass factory near Alloway Creek, glassmaking and South Jersey became inextricably fused. From humble entrepreneurial beginnings, glass manufacturing ultimately became the region’s major innovative industry by the late 19th century.

In 1904, the celebrated poet, Carl Sandburg, proclaimed:

“Down in southern New Jersey, they make glass. By day and by night, the fires burn on in Millville . . . Big, black flames shooting out smoke and sparks; bottles, bottles, bottles, of every tint and hue . . . that marks the death of sand and the birth of glass.”

Although the production of window and bottle glass may have left Cumberland, Salem and Gloucester counties, the studio glass movement has been flourishing. WheatonArts and the Creative Glass Center of America (CGCA) in Millville have nurtured a growing number of talented individuals to use glass as their primary medium by offering its facilities to artists from around the world.

Click HERE to jump to GlassWeekend’s program.

GlassWeekend 2011

June 10th – 12th, 2011

WheatonArts

1501 Glasstown Road
Millville, New Jersey 08332
Tel: 800 998 4552
Website: http://www.glassweekend.com/

for some photos of GlassWeekend 2009 – click HERE.

Allegra Marquart’s Narrative Glass

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Allegra Marquart
The Deer, Mouse, Crow & Turtle
kilncast and sand carved glass 18.5″ x18.5″

Since 1976 Allegra Marquart has been a professor at Maryland Institute College of Art teaching printmaking. Allegra’s imagery continues to gain in visual complexity. Her narrative glass panels started using fables that were familiar to those who know Aesop, La Fontaine and old English rhymes, but now her stories include ones written by Kipling, Edward Lear and ones handed down through generations of American Indians. If you ask Allegra what she does she might say that she makes people stand still, think and smile. Each of these stories are enhanced with a personal drawing style and processes Allegra loves for both making etchings on paper and in the fabrication of glass panels. Allegra’s work is full of invention, humor and pain.


Allegra Marquart
The Blue Jackal
kilncast and sand carved glass 18.5″ x18.5″


From Allegra’s artist statement:

“For the over a decade my etchings have grown from my observations of city life, human foibles and old fables. About 6 years ago I experienced a kind of epiphany. My images needed to be made of glass! The glass would act as a metaphor for the transparency, fragility, strength, permanence and reflective power in all the moments I was describing. I imagined these pictures in low relief made of glass that would refer to stone carvings on columns and friezes that people in ancient times used to describe their daily life.

Allegra Marquart
The Elephant’s Trunk
kilncast and sand carved glass 18.5″ x18.5″


So sure was I of this revelation that I went to work immediately. I began with sand blasting deeply into the glass to create my first body of work in this medium that was so new to me. A class at Pilchuck with Paul Marioni taught me how sand casting could give my images even greater physicality and drama. Work at The Corning Studio and The Washington Glass School (in DC) expanded my casting experience.

Allegra is part of the faculty at the Washington Glass School, and she creates the multi-colored glass panels in the studio’s large kilns. Firing color atop color, Allegra creates a basis on which to deep sand carve her visual narratives.

Below is a glimpse into the steps she uses in the creation of the fantastic panels:

Allegra spreads out crushed colored glass (coarse frit) on top of a glass panel that has already been fired with a different color.

Prepping the kiln for another long panel to be loaded for fusing.


After the panel is fired, annealed and cooled, Allegra covers the glass with a thick vinyl resist.

Allegra transfers and draws her imagery onto the resist, later cutting away the elements to be exposed to a deep sand blast session.


The panel is then carved with a force fed media (deep sand blasted) that cuts through the various color layers of glass.
Allegra will repeat the process on both the front and back of a panel, allowing the mix of light and color to work with her imagery.


The SOFA Chicago Art Expo will feature Allegra’s work at Maurine Littleton Gallery‘ space (#720).

Click HERE to jump to Allegra Marquart’s website.

Washington Glass School Goes to SOFA Chicago

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SOFA Chicago at Navy Pier

S.O.F.A. Chicago 2010
Chicago’s historic Navy Pier is THE place to be for art from Nov. 5 – Sunday, Nov. 7, 2010. Chicago’s much-anticipated art fair, the 17th Annual International Sculpture Objects & Functional Art Fair: SOFA CHICAGO 2010 will feature 80 art galleries and dealers from 10 countries. It promises to be an exciting weekend of discovery and collecting for Chicago’s impassioned art audience and for the crowd of national and international attendees. WGS’ Michael Janis and Allegra Marquart will be featured at Maurine Littleton Gallery’s booth (#720), and Tim Tate will be have a major showcase with Marc Petrovic at Habatat Galleries’ space (#1200).

SOFA Chicago Navy Pier Festival Hall 600 E. Grand Ave., Chicago, IL 60611


Allegra Marquart The Fox and The Crow


Tim Tate The Seven Waking Dreams Of Man



Michael Janis Somewhere I Have Never Traveled (detail)

Ginny Ruffner Glass Artist: The Movie

>Ginny Ruffner has long since been recognized worldwide as one of the major artists of the modern glass movement. Ginny’s menagerie of glass sculptures are imbued with a combination of technical mastery and startling whimsical shapes and figures. Possessing extraordinary fine art skills, her uniquely narrative and sculptural pieces combine elements of painting, sculpture and art history. While many artists shy away from beauty and decoration, Ginny embraces it, “I feel like my purpose in life is to make beautiful things.”

A car accident in 1991 that almost ended her life at age thirty-nine. Ginny was a well established artist long before the crash and can now walk and talk again, however haltingly, and her art, once resumed, never signaled a break in either her vision or spirit. This art was and is exuberant, inclusive, fearless, and thought-provoking. It is an art unhindered by the supposed limitations of a difficult medium, glass, the traumatic event of the crash, or the frustrations of physical handicap.
“I’m big on turning lemons into lemonade,” Ginny remarks rather lightly.

A movie about Ginny’s life – titled Ginny Ruffner:A Not So Still Life just had its premier in Seattle’s international film festival, and won the audience award.

Click HERE to jump to the movie’s website.

Ginny received both her M.F.A and B.F.A. in drawing and painting from the University of Georgia. A recipient of an N.E.A. Fellowship, her earlier work uniquely merged the mediums of glassblowing and painting, culminating in her intricate, sculptural constructions. Public collections include the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY; Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC and Musee des Arts Decoratifs, Lausanne, Switzerland. Maurine Littleton Gallery in the Georgetown section of Washington, DC is her gallery, and the gallery shows her work at SOFA Chicago.

National Public Radio had just covered Ginny and had links to her work and to the movie -

click HERE to jump to the NPR article online.