Penland School of Craft Auction Features Michael Janis’ “Flying In Place”

Michael Janis, "Flying in Place", fused glass powder imagery, steel, silver

Michael Janis, “Flying in Place”, fused glass powder imagery, steel, silver, 24″ x 7″

With less than one month to go until the 2015 Penland Benefit Auction, Penland, the national center for craft education located in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains featured Washington Glass School co-director Michael Janis and his artwork “Flying in Place”. Below, Michael Rogers, Professor of Imaging Arts and Sciences at Rochester Institute of Technology, describes Michael’s work and his process. “Flying in Place” and many other works of glass will be up for bidding at the 30th anniversary of the Penland Benefit Auction this summer. You can now view all of these works online in the 2015 auction catalog.

“Michael Janis is an exceptional visual artist, an innovator, and a master of the technique of fusing with glass powder-essentially ‘painting with glass on glass.’ It takes years of trial and error for an artist to achieve fluency in an area of artistic endeavor where one must charter unknown territory to make discoveries unique to themselves. Through skill, vision, tenacity, and dedication, Michael has created a strong and clear voice with the material that is truly his own. Certainly painters would envy Michael’s ability to orchestrate translucency, opacity, and transparency in tandem with chromatic diversity to achieve depth in the two-dimensional plane. However, Michael is much more than technically adept.

Michael Janis, "Flying in Place",glass, glass powder imagery, silver, steel, 24"dia x 7"

Michael Janis, “Flying in Place”,glass, glass powder imagery, silver, steel, 24″dia x 7″ The frit powder imagery is presented as distorted in the front-on viewing, and the distorted image is viewed un-distorted in the reflection of the silvered glass cylinder.

“After all, Michael is a storyteller, an artist who draws simultaneously upon the past, present, and future to develop the content of his work. Through memory, awareness, and intuitiveness, one could say Michael evokes meaning in his work. With Flying in Place, we are presented with a stunningly beautiful and fascinating piece of poetic narrative. Metaphorically rich in associations, this work preserves its mystery while engaging the viewer’s curiosity. In the end, Michael’s intense ability with material and technique allows him to transcend these aspects of making to communicate his intention directly. Michael’s genius is in suspending reality and creating an illusion one can get lost in. In this way, he captivates the viewer.

“When I see this work by Michael Janis I think that here is a mature artist, an artist at the top of his game.” – Michael Rogers

Please join the Penland Benefit Auction on August 7 and 8, 2015.

Join Penland’s event page to stay up to date on the latest auction news and stories.

Absentee bidders can register by clicking this link. For reservations, please contact Jackie Head at 828-765-2359 x 112 or auction@penland.org.

For more information about the 2015 Annual Benefit Auction, click here to visit Penland’s auction website or call 828-765-2359 x 112.

Artists To Watch – Jeff Wallin

Jeff Wallin “Improvised Mirror” detail, kilnformed glass. Photo:
Michael Schmitt.

Our second profile in the “Artists To Watch” series is Jeff Wallin.

Jeff has spent his life in the Pacific Northwest. He studied under Professor Keiko Hara at Whitman College, graduating in 1995 with a B.A. in Studio Art. Jeff continued to pursue drawing and painting after moving to Portland, OR. 

Jeff began working directly on glass using live models, eliminating the intermediary step of charcoal/conte drawings which he’d previously used, working directly with glass powders on a glass sheet surface. No preliminary drawings are used, no tests or experiments. Each new work is itself the test, the experiment, the first impression developed and pushed to a final form.

Jeff Wallin’s  introduction to glass came in 1999 at Ray Ahlgren’s FireArt Glass studio, where Jeff continues to work, gaining new understandings in how to apply the challenging medium of glass to his ongoing exploration of the human form. Jeff’s work has been reviewed in the Urban Glass Quarterly, and his work was selected for publication in the Corning New Glass Review. In 2013, he was a teaching assistant for Jessica Loughlin and Kirstie Rea at the Pilchuck School of Glass.

Jeff Wallin and Ray Ahlgren of FireArt Glass create the glass door panels for the US Library of Congress. Photo: Charlie Liebermann. Click HERE to jump to American Craft article on the historic architectural artwork project.

Says Jeff of his work in an architectural glass studio: ” I feel my work [with Ray Ahlgren's Fire Art Glass Studio] impacts my personal art work, and vice versa.  I often say that working with Ray and being constantly exposed to new projects (even though the work may not apparently have a direct bearing on my approach to art) leads to a level of familiarity with the material that allows me to work more intuitively without getting hung up on the highly technical nature of glass. It helps to understand when being precise is critical to success, and when it’s just getting in the way.  Plus, I think it keeps me looking with fresh eyes at both the projects at Fire Art and my own studio artwork.” 

Jeff Wallin, “Lucretia – After Rembrandt”, kilnformed glass. Photo: Michael Schmitt.

Taking inspiration from emotionally and psychologically complex figure painters such as Francis Bacon and Lucien Frued, Jeff’s portraits have the marks of a painter’s perspective and a painter’s intuition, the relaying of an idea by brush– all that expressed in the language of glass. 

Jeff Wallin, “Judgement (Study from Gentileschi)”, kilnformed glass. Photo: Michael Schmitt.

Talking about how he uses glass to create painterly works of art, Jeff said: “For my investigation of the human form, glass offers an incredible medium for exploring my relationship to this subject. My methods of kiln forming purposefully ignore most of the strict adherence to process normally associated with the medium. The work is driven to completion as part of a dialogue, which begins as a response to the model and then develops in unexpected ways as the work matures over multiple firings in the kiln. My intent is to maintain an attitude of spontaneity and preserve the raw moment when the piece first began…There are no conclusions, only possibilities.”

Jeff Wallin, “Classical Study”, kilnformed glass. Photo: Michael Schmidtt

Jeff has a solo show that opens at Stewart Fine Art in Boca Raton, Florida that opens this week. 
Gallery owner Sonny Stewart said of Jeff’s work: ” [Jeff] is a classically trained artist – the compositions of his work show his knowledge and sensitives… His artwork explores many of the concerns of contemporary painting, but does this exploration with glass. Painting exists in a continuum with centuries of tradition while simultaneously embracing aspects of sculpture, installation and collage… [Jeff's art] goes beyond pigment on a surface; it’s an approach to making imagery that encompasses the ways in which a material is used to construct the work, how the subject is approached, and even how the idea of the subject is concieved.”

Stewart Fine Art
608 Banyan Trail, Boca Raton, FL 
Jeff Wallin “Glass in the Classical Sense
November 14 – December 11
Opening Reception November 14, 2013

Maverick Mike Returns From Texas

The students in Michael Janis’ “Visualizations in Glass” circle around the instructor.

Our urban cowboy, Professor Janis, returns to Washington, DC after a teaching stint on the wide open ranges of Hot Glass Houston – looking a bit like he was rode hard and put away wet. (Like he normally does, without benefit of photoshop services.) He had a great time, and sent some photos of his frit powder imagery class, and tales of sitting by the campfire with the class. 

The students learned how to create imagery from frit powder.
The students dove right in, creating a series of samples of different techniques.
The class was very focused.
The students each created great images

A light touch…Michael divulged all his secrets of how to create fused layered images from frit powers and other media.
Besides the sgraffito technique, the students learned how to deconstruct an image into separate layers.
The images were assembled and fused into narrative studies – getting the 3 day class ready for larger works that pulled all the techniques together.
Cynthia Gilkey works on a piece that incorporates a tribute to her mother, Rieko.

  

Cynthia’s artwork as she worked.
The finished work.
Glass artist Kathy Jordan Walsh shows off her imagery skills.
A dam built around the glass stack keeps the glass from flowing out during the firing process.
After firing, the colors mature – what a great piece!
The glass sets up their works inside the kiln – listening intently to Cynthia as she outlines how to minimize air bubbles and “edge needles”.
The finished works as they are removed from the kiln.

Was there cattle rustling? Certainly. 

Houston has no zoning – the view from Michael’s hotel. Cow tipping allowed.

Bowling with armadillos…in the glass studio? Natch.

Honkey-Tonks and wet t-shirt contests? Hell yeah – This is Texas, after all!

Opposite from Hot Glass Houston studio is the Red River Dance Hall & Saloon.

A great time was had at a great place!

Afterwards, the class celebrates a fun session.

American Craft Magazine Features Washington Glass School Artists

Check out American Craft Magazine online.

The April/May issue of American Craft Magazine is now out – within the sheets of the magazine – or at the ACC website, one can see familiar faces names and artworks.
The magazine cover lists the contents: Fossils, Claws, Fur, Chicken Legs, Fangs, Fungi, Spider Eggs and Twigs – so clearly, the magazine is all about WGS.
Marc Petrovic’s beautiful blown sculpture “Not The Brightest Bulb” is featured with an article by Glen Adamson, from London’s V & A Museum, that asks if craft can connect the viewers more to nature.

Great article by Glen Adamson on the rise of technology and the disconnect with nature.

“Mermaids Past Their Prime”photo by Pete Duvall

Tim Tate is also featured in the article by senior editor Julie Hanus, titled “More Than Human“. Julie’s article is a fun look at how artists create human/animal imagery to create compelling insights to who we are. His featured work, one of his pieces from his eries ’21st Century Sideshows’ – a mixed media reliquary titled “Mermaids Past Their Prime”. Daily Art Muse blog author Susan Lomuto was the starring actor for the video portrayal of a chain smoking world weary faded maid.

Other glass artists – Martin Janecky and Anne Wolff‘s works were in an article about Habatat Galleries upcoming 41st International Glass Invitational, which opens April 24. The Michigan gallery will have a concurrent exhibition, titled “eXpose,”at that time that includes works by our Sean Hennessey.

Getting a big spread of 8 pages, Michael Janis is profiled by Rebecca Ritzel.

Forget “Being John Malkovich” – the American Craft Magazine article is about “Becoming Michael Janis”!
sgraffito on glass, scraffito, glass frit powder drawing
photo by Robert Severi

Rebecca talks with Michael and uncovers his past life as an architect in Australia, and how, in a short amount of time, became one of leading ‘sgrafitto’ glass artists in the world.

If you get the subscription for the magazine – it should be delivered in the next few days. If you want it online – you can get the digital subscription to the magazine HERE.
Or – run right out to the newstand and demand your copy – AT ONCE!

Michael Janis Does (Hot Glass) Houston

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Washington Glass School’s own “Magic Mike” was just down in Houston – performing for the ladies out at the Hot Glass Houston (HGH) – a Bullseye glass Resource Center in Texas.

Michael Janis exposed all his secrets during his weekend review at club Hot Glass Houston. He happily line dances and pole dances (where he got the nickname “Magic Mike”), yet remains mum about what happened at the HGH karoke night…

Michael said there were many ‘naturals’ in the class that took to the sgraffito technique instantly, and HGH’s Bob Paterson sent some photos from the class - 

Michael Janis outlines frit powder sgraffito process to the class.

In the three-day workshop, the artists created imagery using frit powder, enamels, image transfer, stencils, high-fire pens and paints, and later worked at creating depth by kiln-forming a stacked image panel.

TA Cynthia Gilkey sifts frit powder to recreate her puppy Bob in glass.
Bob after his time in a kiln.
Michael demonstrates how to manipulate frit powder. Its so easy!
Hot Glass Houston kilns fill with image laden sheets of glass.
Lynda Stoy’s frit powder sketch awaits kiln firing.
Layered panel component sheets by Marilyn Dishman, Lynda Stoy and  Deborah Enderle are fired to fix the frit powder on the glass and allow for further embellishment.
The class dams each layered imagery panel prior to full fuse firing.
Catherine Coffman assembles her layered panel in the kiln and creates a dam surround.
After firing.
Brooke Colvin’s romantic panel after clean up.
Liz Paul’s glass artwork references a walk thru the woods.

Michael said he had a great time in Texas, and he enjoyed hanging out with the owner Bob Paterson and TA Cynthia Gilkey – although he mentioned a karaoke night debacle, he refused to give details. Click here to jump to Hot Glass Houston’s facebook page. Click HERE to jump to Hot Glass Houston’s website.

Sgraffito Glass Technique @ Hot Glass Houston

>Michael Janis gets his glass to Texas.
Hot Glass Houstona glass facility that encourages exploration and good times has a great assortment of classes and supplies to provide the people of the Houston area with everything they need to do everything with glass. And they’re a Bullseye Resource Center. Hot Glass Houston is hosting a 3-day workshop with Michael as he divulges his secrets on getting imagery in glass –  ”Visualizations in Glass” July 13, 14 & 15, 2012 – Friday, Saturday, & Sunday – 10- 4 each day. Erwin Timmers had taught a Recycled Glass class there and really enjoyed the place! 

Famous Texas Icons: Texas Rangers, Oil, Armadillos, Big Hair

Click HERE to jump to Hot Glass Houston’s info on the class.


While in Texas, Michael said he wanted to check out all the Texas-isms he heard about from his Texas-born wife. The “Don’t Mess-With Texas” attitude, Big Country, Big Hats, Big Shoes, Big Mosquitoes. BBQ. Michael also said that he plans on re-enacting key scenes from Pee Wees Big Adventure that was partly set in Texas:


Being cheeky in Texas can end in tears.

Bullseye Gallery Features Painter(ly) Glass Artists

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Michael Janis Observation of Signals
2011 Kilnformed glass


Jeff Wallin Kate
2008 Kilnformed glass

Bullseye Gallery – located near the Bullseye Glass Center in Portland, Oregon – has a special exhibit opening soon that focuses on artists that work.
Titled “FACTURE -Artists at the Forefront of Painterly Glass” the exhibit asks
what advantages do the materials and processes found in glass provide that can’t be found in other painting media.


“FACTURE -Artists at the Forefront of Painterly Glass”

January 4 thru February 25, 2012
Bullseye Gallery, Portland, OR

Works by Michael Janis, Kari Minnick, Martha Pfanschmidt, Ted Sawyer, Abi Spring, and Jeff Wallin
Artist Reception: Wednesday, January 4, 5:30 – 7:30 pm

A panel discussion will be held with the artists moderated by Bullseye’s Michael Endo on Sunday January 8 from 2pm–4pm.

Bullseye Gallery offers contemporary art objects and experiences examining the potential and complexity of kilnformed glass. The gallery also explores glass in the built environment, inviting art into architecture through collaborations with artists, designers, architects and clients.

The gallery hosts artist lectures, panel discussions, and events which encourage dialogue about the concepts and processes driving contemporary art.

Bullseye Gallery
300 NW 13th Ave, Portland, OR 97209
Phone: 503.227.0222

Gallery Hours: Tues – Sat 10:00AM – 5:00PM

Fused Imagery In Glass – The Process

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Michael Janis was setting up a firing the other day of his thick layered glass panels, and the Washington Glass School blog asked how he created his frit powder drawings.


Detailed sketches are created to plan the layout each glass layer. Michael sifts frit powder onto sheet glass and manipulates with an scapel blade tip, scratching the powder until he is happy with the imagery (his version of sgraffito – or ” little scratch” technique.) Each working is fired into the glass, and aligned with the successive panel.
This process can take a number of weeks and requires multiple kiln firings. Once Michael is satisfied with the color depth of the frit powder application, he begins his set-up inside a kiln for the final firing – or full fuse.


The panels are assembled into the kiln, sometimes with clear interlayers.


The top layer is placed in the kiln.

The kiln is then set for a long schedule to allow for proper annealing of 6 layers of bullseye glass.
After the glass cools, Michael then cleans and coldworks the slab, and prepares for mounting into one of his steel frames.
The piece shown here is titled “Somewhere I Have Never Traveled”, and will be shown by
Maurine Littleton Gallery during SOFA Chicago.

Imagery In Glass Class

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Instructor Michael Janis explains how imagery can be fused into glass.

Class 1005 – Imagery in Glass was alot of fun this weekend, a great way to celebrate the end of the blizzard weather the DC metro area has been suffering thru. The class dove right in learning how to use glass frit powder, high temperature enamels, stencils, glass paints and fused glass photo-imagery.


Michael Janis outlines the sgraffito technique


Michael is assisted by artists Chris Shea and Dave Pearcy.


Hands on practice is the best way to learn any new process.

all photos by Tracy Lee