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 

WGS_Laurel Library.MD.aipp.washington_glass_studio.public_art.sculpture.site.specific.sustainable.design.usa.jpg

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!

Michael Janis @ Smithsonian American Art Museum

american.art.museum.smithsonian_michael_janis.glass.contemporary.craft

Smithsonian’s American Art Museum McEvoy Auditorium will feature Michael Janis starting at 2pm Sunday, May 4th.

Michael Janis was recently featured in American Craft Magazine as “one of a select number of artists in the world creating sgraffito glass art.” The Creative Glass Center of America dubbed him a “Rising
Star of the 21st Century.” His mastery of this difficult technique shows itself in the dreamlike images which he creates by “drawing” with frit powders upon glass which is then fused into painterly panels of
subtle depth and luminosity. This architect-turned-glass-art-star will be made a James Renwick Alliance Distinguished Artist on the weekend of May 3-4.  On Sunday, Michael Janis will present a slide lecture on his work and career at the Smithsonian American Art Museum.michael.janis.smithsonian.american.art.museum

Janis is a Fulbright Scholar and has taught at the UK’s National Glass Centre at Sunderland University. His work is included in the collection of the Art Institute of Chicago and numerous private collections. He will be teaching at Penland School of Craft in August.

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.

History of Fused Glass

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Update: Click Here for Part 1 The Pioneers

Click HERE for Part 2 The 60′s, 70′s & 80′s

2012 is the milestone year for the American Studio Art Glass Movement – taking its start the Toledo workshops with Harvey Littleton &  Dominick Labino. I know there are many events planned and stories that will be published this year about how glass moved from the factory into the hands of artists – but for studio glass – usually the focus is on blown glass.
I want to do a blog posting that references the history of warm glass.

Who would you suggest as the fused glass pioneers, superstars & legends? I know of Klaus Moje and Richard La Londe – but who else jumps to mind when mentioning kiln-formed glass?

Klaus Moje

Ray Ahlgren, Dan Schwoerer, Boyce Lundstrom (Bullseye Glass Founders in the groovy 1970′s)


Personally, I’d prefer suggestions of artists that set the foundation for and outlined the language on which we all build our work upon. Pix, links – all is welcome as suggestions.

You can post ideas here or email me at the glass school: (washglassschool@aol.com)

Thanks! B

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.

The Process: Setting Up a Museum Solo Exhibition

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As part of an ongoing series, we focus on the process of an event or artwork as the basis for the blog posting. Today, the blog posting is a two-fer where the photo documentation is both about Michael Janis’ creative process and info about Michael Janis’ solo show at Fuller Craft Museum, opening this Saturday, August 6, 2011.

The Fuller Craft Museum, Brockton, Massachusetts

The lead time for a museum show is very long – the Fuller Craft Museum contacted Michael in 2009 requesting a solo show at the museum in 2011, so Michael has been planning some aspect of the work for well over a year and features twenty five of his glass artworks. This posting will focus on his site specific sculpture in the show – titled “Unpredictable Factors”.

To help visualize the space, images of previous exhibitions and a floor plan of the gallery space within the museum were sent to Michael to help plan out the show.



Floor Plan of Fuller Museum’s Tarlow Gallery



Marc Petrovic’s exhibition in Fuller’s Tarlow Gallery 2007.



Michael said that he wanted to create a large scale work for the museum show, and had focused on using one of the 8′ wide floor-to-ceiling window areas as the location, with the idea that the light and view beyond could be integrated into the work.


Concepts for the sculpture were sketched by Michael, and details of the steel work were outlined.



Sketches were integrated with photos of the gallery as the studies advanced.

Michael focused on the design with a central image sculpture and proceeded forward with creation of the other artwork pieces for the show. Working with noted metalsmith Chris Shea, the architectural metal work for the large sculpture was created.


Firing of separate layers of the components within the sculpture and the fitting to the metal framework took place in late spring of 2011.

In August, all 25 works by Michael Janis were crated and packed for shipping to the Fuller Craft Museum in Brockton – about 20 miles south of Boston, Massachusetts.

Upon arrival at the Fuller Museum, the artwork is opened, inspected and cataloged by the Museum staff.



Fuller Registrar Donna Eleyi inspects the incoming work.



The condition of each piece is noted and the packing is documented. Here Donna Eleyi photographs the unpacking by Preparator Jason Ram.



The works are placed to allow for the arrangement by Fuller Museum curator Perry Price.



Installation of the steel framework for Michael Janis’ large sculpture “Unpredictable Factors” proceeds.



With completion of the wall mounting the artworks, the remaining tasks for the museum show are to install wall text for the show and artwork wall labels.

The exhibition opens Saturday, August 6, and there is a public reception August 7, from 2-5 pm. For more info on Michael’s lecture at the museum- click HERE.

Michael Janis: A Lighter Hand

August 6 – November 6, 2011

Reception Aug 7, 2011, 2-5pm


ReadysetDC on Washington Glass School

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The hip and trendy culture blog – ReadysetDC just covered the Washington Glass School 10th anniversary exhibition at Long View Gallery with an in-depth review of the show with insights about the Washington Glass School directors and DC GlassWorks’ Dave D’Orio.

Writer Natalie Stemp has some thoughtful takes on the changing status of glass as a sculptural medium:
“Let’s play a game. If I say “canvas”, what do you picture? You probably imagine art – Vermeer, Seurat, Picasso, Mondrian, maybe even DC’s Chris Martin. What if I say “glass”? Do the words “sink, wine, stained” instantly light up like neon signs? If so, you are not alone, but the Washington Glass School (WGS) wishes you were.

The Studio Glass Movement was founded just 50 years ago, so it is not surprising that most of us still perceive glass art strictly as decorative. In fact, the WGS – the face of the Movement in DC along with DC GlassWorks – celebrated its 10 year anniversary last weekend with a reception at Longview Gallery that concluded a month-long retrospective exhibition. After touring the exhibition with Michael Janis, co-director of WGS, I find it difficult to understand why the art establishment struggles to include consistent representation of expressive glass art at preeminent shows and museums. Think about the museums you visited in the past year: did any of them include contemporary glass art in its curation?…”

Natalie’s article contains many photos taken from the exhibition and comments about the featured artist’s work.

ReadysetDC is an online zine dedicated to the creative revolution and movement that is happening in Washington, DC.

Click HERE to jump to ReadysetDC’s article.

Glass History Lesson – Harvey Littleton 1962 Workshops

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As well as being an influential and successful glass artist, Harvey Littleton is known as an outspoken advocate of arts education. He organized the first hot glass course within an American University, which in turn promoted the idea of glass as a valid course of study across university art departments in the Midwest and North Eastern United States. He famously stated that ‘Technique is Cheap’, and fueled debate around the role and importance to the artist of material versus technique and the impact of content in the creation of glass art.

Harvey K Littleton

During the 1950s, studio ceramics and other craft media in the U.S. began to gain in popularity and importance, and artists interested in glass looked for new paths outside industry sources. At that time, access to glass was only through industrial production. Students were not taught hands-on techniques with the material; the craft of working with hot glass was still taught at the factories, under the apprenticeship system. The catalyst for the development of studio glass was Harvey Littleton, a teaching ceramist at the University of Wisconsin in Madison.

Informed by his own background in the material (he grew up in the shadow of Corning Glassworks, where his father headed Research and Development during the 1930′s), Harvey started experimenting with hot glass in his studio in 1958. He eventually realized that his desire to develop studio glassblowing could become a reality after experiencing limited success with his own glassblowing experiments.

The 1962 Toledo Workshop program

Harvey joined forces with the Toledo Museum of Art, the site of the “birth” of the American Studio Glass movement during two historic glassblowing workshops in 1962. He worked with glass research scientist Dominick Labino, who successfully devised a small, inexpensive furnace in which glass could be melted and worked, making it affordable and possible for the first time for artists to blow glass in independent studios.

Harvey Littleton subsequently started a glass program at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, and some of his early students were Dale Chihuly, Marvin Lipofsky, and Fritz Dreisbach, all artists who have played seminal roles in raising the awareness of studio glass around the world.Source: CMOG

As GlassWeekend 2011 gets started, The Washington Glass School Blog visited with Harvey’s daughter Maurine Littleton at her art gallery in Washington, DC, as she prepared for the exhibition. Maurine brought out some of the early glass pieces made by Harvey at the workshops.

Maurine Littleton discusses the early Harvey Littleton pieces. In the background are Harvey Littleton works ca 1986.

Two Harvey Littleton vases from the 1962 Toledo workshop. The pieces are engraved on the bottom with Harvey’s name and date.

Harvey’s first pieces in blown glass were, like his earlier works in pottery, functional forms: vases, bowls and paperweights. His breakthrough to non-functional form came in 1963 when, with no purpose in mind, he remelted and finished a glass piece that he had earlier smashed in a fit of anger. The object lay in his studio for several weeks before he decided to grind the bottom. As Harvey recounts in his 1971 book Glassblowing: A Search for Form, he brought the object into the house where “it aroused such antipathy in my wife that I looked at it much more closely, finally deciding to send it to an exhibition. Its refusal there made me even more obstinate, and I took it to New York … I later showed it to the curators of design at the Museum of Modern Art. They, perhaps relating it to some other neo-Dada work in the museum, purchased it for the Design Collection.”

Harvey’s birthday is June 14th – he turns 89 this year. Everyone here at the Washington Glass School sends Harvey Best Wishes for a Happy Birthday!

The Smithsonian Institution has a fascinating oral history interview with Harvey – made in 2001. Click HERE to jump to the SI web-link.

Washington Post asks "Is Glass Only Pretty?"

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Washington Post reviews Washington Glass School 10th Anniversary Show at Long View Gallery

The Washington Post newspaper arts critic Michael O’Sullivan has a lengthy review of the Long View Gallery 10th Anniversary exhibition : Artists of the Washington Glass School – The First 10 Years. Michael finds artworks that move him and question if contemporary art must be ugly – if only to be less superficial.

In his review of the retrospective show, Michael O’Sullivan writes: “On the one hand, glass is pretty. It’s hard not to like the way it looks: the luminous color, the way it plays with light. On the other hand, maybe glass is only pretty. How do we know that the beauty is also capable of brains? The rest of the show is proof that it is”…For the artists of the Washington Glass School, the embrace of glass’s very materiality — in essence, its glassiness — is a tentative one. There are stories to be told, and glass is just one way to tell them.”…

Debra Ruzinsky Sugar Bomb #3

Jeff Zimmer “Fog Of Communication III” photo by anythingphoto.net


And of artist Jeff Zimmer’s work, Michael writes:

One of the quietest, least assuming works in the show is “Fog of Communication III” by Jeff Zimmer. A moody, fog-bound landscape, it’s also mounted on a light box, and features multiple, sandwiched layers of sandblasted and enamelled glass to create something halfway between a vintage black-and-white photo and a 3D shoebox diorama. It isn’t especially pretty, or even eye-catching.
But it catches — and fires up — something else. And that’s the imagination. “

Click HERE to jump to the full Washington Post article.

The Washington Post also goes into the background story of one of the largest works in the show – “The Three” by Elizabeth Ryland Mears and William “Tex” Forrest.

Elizabeth Ryland Mears with William Forrest “The Three” photo by anythingphoto.net

Michael writes “But the vaguely anthropomorphic thing could just as easily be read as an allusion to another example of cinematic horticulture (not to mention a tribute to the strangely powerful influence of Janis, Tate and Timmers on the art-glass scene). To my eye, it looks like one of the pod plants from “Invasion of the Body Snatchers.”

Click HERE to jump to the full Washington Post description of the Liz Mears / Tex Forrest work


Jennifer Lindstrom What is Home?


Click HERE to jump to the Washington Post’s photo gallery of some of the works in the show.

The WGS 10th anniversary show at Long View Gallery will be on exhibit until June 19, 2011.

Featured artists include: Tim Tate, Michael Janis, Erwin Timmers, Elizabeth Mears, Syl Mathis, Lea Topping, Robert Kincheloe, Alison Sigethy, Dave D’Orio, Anne Plant, Jeffery Zimmer, Teddie Hathaway, Jackie Greeves, Kirk Waldroff, Debra Ruzinsky, Tex Forrest, Diane Cabe, Robert Wiener, Nancy Donnelly, Sean Hennessey, Cheryl Derricotte, Jennifer Lindstrom, Michael Mangiafico, Allegra Marquart and m.l.duffy.

There is an artist talk on Sunday, June 05, from 3-4 pm.
There is a 10 Year Anniversary celebration that will be held at the Long View Gallery, Sunday, June 19, from 2-5 pm.

Washington Glass School: The First 10 Years
LongView Gallery
1234 9th Street, NW, Washington, DC