US/UK International Glass + Clay

>Opening March 1, 2013, Washington, DC will host to an international exhibit of glass and clay artwork – the third collaborative exhibitions between Washington, DC artists and artists from the Sister City, of Sunderland, England. A number of the UK artists will come to the opening and will be holding demonstrations – more to come in later posts as the dates are finalized.

The Brits are sure to be posh, shown here in front of the Sunderland glass studios.

The UK will be represented by artists Stephen Beardsell, Cris Chaney, Andrew Livingstone, James Maskrey, Inge Panneels, Megan Randall, Colin Rennie, Jeffrey Sarmiento, Midori Shinmura, Brian Thompson, Robyn Townsend, Margareth Troli, Roger Tye, Cate Watkinson, Philippa Whiteside, and Phil Vickery.

For the Americans, expect plenty of action and Tribbles.

The USA will be represented by artists Margaret Boozer, Nancy Donnelly, David D’Orio, Sean Hennessey, Jeff Herrity, Joe Hicks, Michael Janis, Ani Kasten, Tamara Laird, Laurel Lukaszewski, Syl Mathis, Allegra Marquart, Tim Tate, Erwin Timmers, Novie Trump, Elizabeth Vorlicek and Audrey Wilson. 

It will be an interesting exercise to see if there are cultural differences visible in the works as they are exhibited side by side in Pepco’s Edison Gallery. I’ve noticed that a number of the UK Studio Glass artists works involve components that were created with the waterjet cutter that is at National Glass Centre at the University of Sunderland. Expat Jeffrey Sarmiento, one of the UK artists, gave a quick demo of their waterjet during our Fulbright Fellowship assignment in Sunderland this past March. Click HERE to jump to that post. The integration of digital technologies is transforming glassworking methodology as well the visual language of the artworks by overlapping the realms of applied art, design and craft. We will begin posting some “teaser” images of artwork – from both sides of the pond – in upcoming blogposts. The crates of artwork from the UK have been shipped and are on the way to Washington. Below is an image of the Sunderland artists as they packed. Customs has been notified.

Robyn Townsend will be one of the exhibiting UK glass artists that will be here in DC for the show opening. Hopefully, for Robin’s sake, airholes were in the crate cover.

“International Glass and Clay 2013.” Artomatic presents this international glass and clay exhibition, featuring work from DC area artists, as well as artists from Sunderland, England. At Pepco Edison Place Gallery, 702 Eighth Street (between G and H Street), March 1 through March 22, 2013.

International Exhibit of Glass + Clay : Shared History


Queen Victoria strolls thru the grounds of the Washington Glass School and Flux Studios.

The British Are Coming!

US/UK exhibit of glass and ceramics, March 1 – 23, in Washington, DC.

Using an art exhibition as a bridge between two countries, the Sister City  program will be bringing together Sunderland, England and Washington, DC in a show that celebrates the medias of glass and clay, as well as celebrating the relationships between the two cities.

USA / Syl Mathis / Glass 

Opening March 1, 2013, at Washington, DC’s Edison Place Gallery will be an exhibit of expressive glass and ceramic artwork, as well as narrative sculptures that blend craft materials with digital technologies and, in turn remove the boundaries between the traditional categories of craft, art, and design.

USA / Novie Trump / Ceramic

Artists and artwork will soon be arriving from the UK’s Creative Cohesion and University of Sunderland, and DC – based artists represented by the Washington Glass School and Flux Studios will be acting as “cultural ambassadors” facilitating the exchange of ideas and images. In addition to a spectacular exhibit, a number of demos and workshops are planned during the month at the gallery and the DC area studios.

UK / Roger Tye / Glass

This will be the third collaboration with DC’s Sister City of Sunderland – in 2008 “Glass 3” was held in Georgetown; in 2009, 38 artists from Sunderland participated in the 10th Artomatic, held near the Navy Yard.  
Washington Glass School’s Fulbright Scholars Michael Janis and Tim Tate taught at both the University of Sunderland and at Creative Cohesion studios during their Fulbright assignment in 2012, and look forward to renewing the close relationship created by these collaborations.

US Fulbrighters Janis & Tate 2012 workshop at Creative Cohesion studios in Sunderland, England

The International Glass + Clay show opens March 1st and will run through Friday, March 23, The exhibit is free and open to the public.  The Gallery Place Metro station is within walking distance of the Gallery

The Downtown Business Improvement District (Downtown BID), in partnership with Artomatic, Inc., the Office of the Secretary for the District of Columbia, and Sunderland City Council, have together organized the international exhibit, hosted at Pepco’s Edison Gallery. 

International Glass and Clay 2013
Edison Place Gallery
702 Eighth Street (between G & H Streets)
Washington, DC 

Sunderland, England Visits Washington, DC


clockwise from left: Novie Trump, Tim Tate, George Koch, Oliver “Skip” Dulle, Tom Hurst, Catherine Auld and Erwin Timmers talk about the prospects for an international exhibition of glass and clay. 

Based on the aftermath of Tim Tate & Michael Janis’ successful Fulbright Scholarship assignment to the University of Sunderland, representatives from DC’s sister city (which is Sunderland, England) popped in for proverbial “spot of tea and a bit of a chat” – re: the possibility of another international glass exhibition to be held in DC in Spring 2013. (One may remember the fabulous Glass 3 exhibit hosted by Artomatic in 2008.)  

George Koch, founder and board member of DC’s Cultural Development Corporation, chats with WGS’ Tim Tate 

This time the arts organization is proposing to expand the format to include ceramics and possibly another international partner; all together exhibiting at a downtown DC gallery space. Discussions included international workshops, marketplace events and how cultural tourism could be integrated. The representatives from the UK met at the Washington Glass School and at Flux Studios.

Artist Novie Trump explains the process of a commissioned ceramic installation to the Sunderland delegation.
Dr David Smith, Chief Executive, Sunderland City Council and DC Mayor Vincent Gray sign the Sunderland, UK / Washington, DC Sister City Agreement, February 22, 2012, 

We don’t want to jinx the procedures and process at this early stage, but we are excited at the prospect of such an event! 

Fulbright Scholars Janis & Tate Final Report

>Final Report by Michael Janis and Tim Tate regarding their Fulbright Specialist Program at the University Of Sunderland and the National Glass Center.

The bonds that were forged years ago when The City of Washington & Washington Glass School hosted the UK artists from Cohesion Glass Network art Artomatic’s Glass 3 event in Georgetown have been strengthened. Our connection with Washington, DC’s UK Sister City, Sunderland, the National Glass Center and the University of Sunderland; will continue throughout our careers. While our mission as Fulbright Scholars was to impart information, we leave having learned many lessons.

Our time in England began with presentations of our artwork and discussions of on new directions the glass world was embracing, such as Glass Secessionism, where artists are looking to move from the aesthetic of pure technique, materials and process and are advancing glass as a medium of sculptural expression in the narrative realm. The participants in the audiences came from the student body of the University as well as working artists from Sunderland, Newcastle, even as far away as Edinburgh, Scotland. The audience stayed long after the talk, and topics from the discussion continued to come up during our entire Fulbright program stay (and indeed, afterwards via the internet) showing the strong relevance of the concepts.

We created workshops for both the National Glass Center and Sunderland’s Creative Cohesion studio; the city’s artist incubator (that, in fact, used the Washington Glass School as its educational and business model). The City of Sunderland invited us to speak with students at a local secondary school during our stay, where we talked about careers in art. We also worked with the Leaders of the University’s Glass and Ceramics program and outlined methods we could extend the cooperative agreement that exists between Sunderland and Washington, DC.

The British tertiary arts education system is different from the US university model. Their MA program blends an MFA and BFA into a very concentrated program. The amount of expertise, materials and techniques they make available to students seems staggering. Sunderland’s may be the finest glass program in the world. With the National Glass Center, the physical space alone dwarfs any facility in the US (or even if one combined the arts centers of Pilchuck, Penland, Corning into one place). The University of Sunderland also offer a doctorate in glass, which is similar to an MFA, though the focus is research, as this is one of the primary methods for the University to receive funds. At the end of a student’s time at Sunderland University, they have a much broader base of knowledge regarding glass and its parameters. In many ways the educational system in the UK is ahead of the US, especially in how they treat glass sculpturally.

Our talks with the students included observations on the differences between the art practices of the two countries. The gallery/collector focus on technique driven vessels that drove the US Studio Glass Movement for over 40 years did not occur to the same extent in England. Instead of being gallery driven, the UK arts education sector seems to be more exhibition and grant driven. University and museum -sponsored art shows are more common as the way an artist would establish themselves. With this as their foundation, artists do not find it as necessary to focus on a single form. They are able operate with the freedom of each installation being potentially a different medium, voice, direction (though many times I would have liked to see the directions pushed much further.) In the US, with the galleries / collector based system, there exists the perception that an artist’s work be recognized for a particular form and for the work be within a series format.

The courses we held at the University included a mix of graduate and undergraduate students, and the workshops allowed and encouraged students working in different modules to interact. We found the students of the University to be some of the most engaged and accomplished students we have ever worked with. They wanted to absorb as much information as possible. Their energy was refreshing, and we added another workshop and added one talk more into the schedule.

Our final discussion was on Artist Covenant’s and how artists can create a network using social media as a way to support each other as a group. This informal talk was packed, standing room only. The artists were voracious in seeking advice on how to get their work seen and recognized. We hope we have helped energize them and perhaps rally them to work together towards their common good. The interest and respect we received from the students was over-whelming. Many of the artists have connected to us online.

We would like to thank all those who made this academic interaction possible: The Fulbright Commission, the Council for International Exchange of Scholars (CIES), The University of Sunderland and the National Glass Center, The City of Sunderland and Creative Cohesion. Each in their own way has made our visit into a life changing experience.

Our mission is to now to reflect and contemplate on not only what we have achieved, but to think of ways on how best to extend our hand and continue our symbiotic and synergistic relationship so that it will not only survive but thrive.

Lets all bridge the Atlantic for many more decades.

Tim Tate & Michael Janis , Co-Directors, Washington Glass School