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. 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!


Happy Birthday Mies!

Famed Bauhaus Modern architect Mies van der Rohe was born 127 years ago today.  Along with other post-World War I architects, such as Walter Gropius and Le Corbusier, Miesaesthetic came to define what “modern” looked like in the 20th century.

Seventy-five years ago, Mies van der Rohe arrived in the United States to lead the College of Architecture at Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) in Chicago and profoundly influence the world’s taste and built environment.

As an architecture student at IIT, the Bauhaus-derived philosophy that was based on a deep understanding of materials before the design process could begin had a profound impact on my work. The rigorous discipline instilled a focus on craftsmanship, of which I still rely.

Often the design studies had students learning how to get the maximum from the minimum – above is a 1928 collage by Albrecht Heubner, that was titled Minimal Dwelling – I find that my appreciation of Dadaist imagery and humor must have come from this background. 

Have a slice of Mies –

Leandro Erlich’s “Chocolate Mies van der Rohe Barcelona couch” Cake