Washington Glass School Goes All SOFA Chicago

SOFA_CHICAGO_500x500Every fall Chicago, IL hosts the critically acclaimed Sculpture Objects & Functional Art Expo, more commonly known as SOFA. SOFA Chicago 2015 will be held November 6 – 8, 2015 at Navy Pier’s Festival Hall, where masterworks from top international galleries and dealers from numerous countries will exhibit. An opening night preview will be held Thursday, November 5. On par with Art Basel and TEFAF Maastricht, the critically acclaimed art fair has been continuously run every year since 1994. What distinguishes SOFA from other top art events is its focus on three-dimensional artworks that cross the boundaries of fine art, decorative art and design. SOFA is noted for its exceptional presentation of artwork by international galleries and it is enhanced by the many talks to attend in the Lecture Series given by award-wining designers and artists. 

This year, a number of Washington Glass School artists will be featured at the art fair, and the artists are bringing new works that have taken them in new directions. Tim Tate will be giving a “Booth Talk” at Habatat Galleries (space #1400) on Saturday, Nov 7 @ 1:00 pm. Just after that talk, at 2:00 pm, Sean Hennessey and Michael Janis will be featured at the Art Alliance for Contemporary Glass (AACG) Ice Cream Social on the terrace at Navy Pier.

Allegra Marquart, "The Princess and the Pea", 2015, Cast glass shapes wall mounted over a sewn panel, 14"x 28"

Allegra Marquart, “The Princess and the Pea”, Cast glass shapes wall mounted over a sewn panel, 14″x 28″ photo: Pete Duvall

Allegra Marquart (Maurine Littleton Gallery, Space #821) has mixed her cast glass with textile, exploring the new possibilities for color, texture and especially line. Allegra has been stitching connections that create open, delicate looking backgrounds that complements and comments on the bolder glass shapes which are mounted slightly in front.  The glass and the threads compliment concepts of fragility and ambiguity. 

Sean Hennessey

Sean Hennessey, clockwise from top left: “The Doors that May Open”, “The Relentless Path Upward”, “The Gift of Time”, “From Mud and Soap”, cast glass, imagery, steel, LED; 24″ x 36







Sean Hennessey (Habatat Galleries, Space #1400) will be presenting works that take him in a new direction, both in terms of the brightness of the colors and in the use of a separate panel that incorporates photographed and drawn imagery, telling a slightly different side of the story from the larger panel. 

Audrey Wilson (Alida Anderson Art Projects, Space #402) makes her debut at the art fair. Her new mixed media works explore alternate and extraordinary realms.

Audrey Wilson, " Luminiferous Aether Electrode"

Audrey Wilson, ” Luminiferous Aether Electrode”, Cast glass, electronics, found objects, photo Pete Duvall

Michael Janis (Maurine Littleton Gallery, Space #821) explores concepts of identity with his frit powder (sgraffito) drawings with cast glass elements. New this year are his ceramic and glass sculptures.

Michael Janis, "Regeneration", cast glass, ceramic, 14” x 16” x 12” photo: Pete Duvall

Michael Janis, “Regeneration”, cast glass, ceramic, 14” x 16” x 12” photo: Pete Duvall




Tim Tate (Habatat Galleries, Space #1400) is showing his new illuminated pieces, his infinity series. Tim entices the viewer to look deeply into his created environments, create an optical and physical illusion of infinity through apparent limitless space.  There is an intimacy created by viewing deeply into a circular opening, as if peering through a portal to another reality.

Tim Tate, "Violet Tattoo Infinity", Cast Poly-Vitro, Glass, Lighting; photo: Pete Duvall

Tim Tate, “Violet Tattoo Infinity”, Cast Poly-Vitro, Glass, Lighting; photo: Pete Duvall






SOFA Chicago November 5-8, 2015

600 East Grand Avenue
Chicago, IL 60611


Chicago SOFA Floor Plan 2015

Janis & Tate @ Catholic University Architecture Department? Fab!

Washington Glass School’s Professor Michael Janis and Professor Tim Tate will present a lecture on glass art and architecture to students and faculty of Catholic University’s School for Architecture and Planning (CUArch) at the Crough Center for Architectural Studies as part of the Fall 2015 Fab Lab Lecture series.

Catholic University Architecture Department presents Michael Janis and Tim Tate

Catholic University Architecture Department presents Michael Janis and Tim Tate

We have just 3 things to say about this:




The Uncomfortable Balance

blue eye

The Uncomfortable Balance

Words and artwork by Tim Tate; photos by Anything Photographic

I am a child of studio glass. I was, and can continue to be, in love with the sheer beauty of glass and art in general. As a lifelong student of Penland School of Crafts I developed a love of all things natural and extremely well made. Regardless of the medium, the more beautiful and skillfully constructed , the more intriguing the work.She Goes Walking after Midnight

I also have another side to my brain. I love all things thought provoking. I love edgier art, I love time based work…..I love video, electronics and technology in mixed media sculpture.

So I always have a choice when I create a piece.  Do I make it achingly gorgeous or do I embrace the edgier technology? Certainly if I choose one way or the other, my life will be made easier.  There are many more opportunities for makers of beautiful objects…..and many more institutions that love time based media.

As much as I want to though, I do neither.  Neither Ultra-Baroque or Techno-fetish, but a bit of both.  Whichever side of my brain calls to me, I always still hear the other whispering.  I live uncomfortably in the middle, always trying to find that balance between these 2 worlds.  The beauty of one side’s sweetness is always tempered with the saltiness of the other.Azelea Infinity

I have lived in this limbo of discomfort for so many years that it has begun to feel like the natural order of things.  The tension caused between the two sides always viscerally present, like a ghost photo at the turn of the last century.  Always hovering there, but just beyond reach, just out of direct sight and never fully resolving which side will gain dominance.  

So here I stand on the rope, feeling very balanced after so many years of not falling. 

4 seasons

Tim Tate

August, 2015

What Tim Tate Meant to Say….

Washington Glass School Director/Mixed Media Sculptor Tim Tate never seems to be at a loss for words – yet he does have his moments where important things were left unsaid. Tim sent this letter looking for a second chance to say what he wants all to know about how Penland School of Crafts changed his art, his work and his life :

What I Meant To Say At Penland by Tim Tate

This last week I gave a very short presentation of my current work during the board meeting at Penland.  It was among my worst presentations ever. Here’s why.

For one thing, I have been making an effort to speak more seriously about my work. I did not take into account how overwhelmingly emotional this place was for me. I started to choke up before I even began, then could barely choke out 20 disjointed sentences during my short slides lest I completely lose it.  I garbled out something about wanting to tell stories. (dear god).

Throw in my complete intimidation by being surrounded by such accomplished artists and board members…all of who seemed to have amazing academic training. It was a hot mess…

Here’s what I meant to say:

I am an artist who did not come to art through academics. While I yearned to go to Cranbrook as a young man, my parents had neither the resources or interest in sending me there.  I sought another profession. Only years later did I see the path of artists retreats like Penland.  Finally a path within my control.  Thus began my educational journey which took me to Penland 20 times, also Corning, Haystack and Penland….always searching for a kiln forming or non-vessel related class.

Even though I did not come out of the studio glass system, I still loved glass with all my heart.  For 10 years I took every free moment, every vacation day to attend these artist retreats. In effect, I created my own curriculum for an unsupervised MFA. After that I thought I had enough of a voice to step out as a full time artist, and haven’t looked back since.

I meant to say that my overall work has meaning. I meant to say that I see my pieces as self-contained video installations.

Blending a traditional craft with new media technology gives me the framework in which I fit my artistic narrative. Contemporary, yet with the aesthetic of Victorian techno-fetishism.  Revelation —, and in some cases self-revelation,   — is the underlying theme of my electronic reliquaries and baroque cast frames.

My interactive pieces can be seen as disturbing because the images that stare back from the video screen prompts a variety of responses: amusement, discomfort, embarrassment, something akin to the feeling you have when someone catches you looking at your own reflection in a store window as you walk by.

But the important revelations here are in the viewer’s response to my hybrid art form and its conceptual nature.  I try to bare everything — the guts of my materials and my inner thoughts — in deceptively simple narrative videos set into specimen jars or ultra-Victorian cast glass picture frames. Nothing is random, all elements are thought out.

I meant to say that to me, these works are phylacteries of sorts, the transparent reliquaries in which bits of saints’ bones or hair — relics — are displayed. In many cultures and religions, relics are believed to have healing powers. My relics are temporal, sounds and moving images formally enshrined, encapsulating experiences like cultural specimens. And perhaps, to the contemporary soul, they are no less reliquaries than those containing the bones of a saint.

With technology rapidly changing the way we perceive art, the current day contemporary landscape closely mirrors Victorian times in the arts. We marvel at and invent bridges between past and present in an effort to define our time and make sense of this highly transitory moment in artistic history.

I meant to say that an artist can make it without going through the academic system. That a strong voice and hard work can count just as much.  This has been taken so frequently as disrespect towards MFA programs and studio glass.  They tend to shout down those that are not vetted with their peers.  I had great respect for them, I just chose my own path. The path of using the artist retreats as my personal MFA program.

I had a bias. My bias was towards extremely narrative work. Not nearly as plentiful then as now. I sought out those classes which would help me in that effort. I wonder if I would have stayed on this path if I had been accepted into an academic program. We’ll never know.

I wanted to say to all the new core and resident artists that I was blown away by their mature work. I wanted to say…..just keep making work. No matter what, just keep making. You are only 1000 pieces away from your goal…..get started! My premise is that an artist who makes a living from his art work will continually evaluate his work, will grow quickly with each new piece. That the working artist approach produces very good work if you put the time and energy into it.

I meant to say that I lived half my life feeling invisible. I had always had to leave DC because there was little glass for me to work on here.  My life happened away from where I lived. Then I realized something. When no one saw me….Penland always did. When my own family didn’t see me, Penland did. When other local artists couldn’t see my work, Penland did. When my friends and even my partners could not see me…Penland did. Penland saw a young man who was completely dedicated to moving his art forward. Penland will also give respect to any artist who is dedicated to his craft and vision. They will always see you. That is the environment that everyone sitting in that room was surrounded by. Not just a place, but the best support system that any artist may ever know.

That’s what I meant to say. That is what I will say now.

Tim Tate

Washington Glass School At S.O.F.A. Chicago 2014


Every fall – for the past 20 years – Chicago, IL hosts the internationally acclaimed Sculpture Objects & Functional Art Fair (aka SOFA Chicago).  

The 21st SOFA Chicago will be held November 7 – 9, 2014 at Navy Pier’s Festival Hall where masterworks from top international galleries and dealers from numerous countries will exhibit. Opening night gala preview will be held Thursday, November 6.

Washington Glass School is represented by artists Michael Janis and Allegra Marquart at Maurine Littleton Gallery and Sean Hennessey and Tim Tate are exhibiting at Habatat Galleries Space.

Allegra Marquart, "On The Bus", 2014,  cast glass, enamel OA dimensions 48" L x  24" H.

Allegra Marquart, “On The Bus” (detail), 2014, cast glass, enamel; OA dimensions 48″ L x 24″ H. Photo by Anything Photographic

Allegra Marquart will present a number of her new wall installations. Her new works are not strictly narrative but relate to etchings the artist made years ago when she first moved to the city and began interpreting what she saw on the streets with humor and an eye for juxtaposing disparate situations and individuals.

Sean Hennessey, "The Fur-Suit of Happiness" Cast Glass, Paint, Video (Photo by Anything Photographic)

Sean Hennessey, “The Fur-Suit of Happiness” Cast Glass, Paint, Video
(Photo by Anything Photographic)

Sean Hennessey will be showing his cast glass/ mixed media panels at Habatat Galleries. His new works integrate electronics and videos into the panels.


Tim Tate, “The Healing Polyopticon”, Poly-Vitro, Glass, Video

Tim Tate will be showing his installation “The Healing Polyopticon” – a 5 ft wide installation consisting of 16 video pieces in varying sizes of cast black frames. Each video is in the form of an eye blinking; each eye different. Surrounding this cluster of 16 video frames are cast black flowers that fills out the 5 ft wide circle . The work is based on a terminal diagnosis he received 30 years ago – and he imagined that he was being kept safe by those who passed before him – all keeping an eye on him thru portals. In this sculpture he portrays people who had effected his life in a positive way…keeping him from passing over, making him safe; imbuing him with self healing energy. This powerful sculpture will at Habatat Galleries space.


Michael Janis, “Breathing In The Quiet” and “Waiting For The Lover’s Words”, fused glass powder imagery, glass, steel. (Photo by Anything Photographic)

Michael Janis will be showing a number of new works at Maurine Littleton Gallery space. The American Institute of Interior Designers (ASID) chose his work as part of their picks for SOFA Selectswhere highlighted pieces chosen by noted curators, designers, and critics give viewers of the fair way to navigate the huge show.

If you are going to the show – be sure to stop by and visit with the artists – all will be at the Chicago Fair!

SOFA Chicago In Sight!

The world-renowned art fair dedicated to Sculpture, Objects, Functional Art & Design (SOFA) returns to Navy Pier’s Festival Hall. Many artists are working on the last bits of work to be shown at the exhibit that runs from November 7-9 2014, with a preview on the evening of November 6, 2014. 

Celebrating its 21st year, SOFA CHICAGO is the longest continuously running, gallery-presented art fair in the city of Chicago, and one of the most successful in the country. Last year’s fair attracted 34,000 attendees from around the globe.

A number of Washington Glass School artists and alum will be shown at the art fair – Tim Tate will be at Habatat Galleries space, Allegra Marquart and Michael Janis will be showing at Maurine Littleton Gallery‘s space, and alum Jeff Zimmer will be one of Craft Scotland‘s collection that was designed to give audiences in Chicago the opportunity to see and buy some of the finest examples of ceramics, glass, wood, textiles, silver and jewelry being produced in Scotland today. Click on image below to see Craft Scotland’s video about their artists and works being showcased at this year’s fair.


Glass artist Jeff Zimmer describes his work being featured at Craft Scotland exhibit during SOFA Chicago 2014

Habatat Galleries 2014 Brilliance Award Winner

tim tate monet garden series

Tim Tate’s Monet’s Garden series comes in a variety of colors.

Michigan’s Habatat Galleries has named Washington Glass School’s Tim Tate as their 2014 Brilliance Award winner, celebrating his new direction with Monet’s Garden Series.

The annual Brilliance Award is given to a featured artist at Habatat Galleries that is working on the highest level of innovation, intensity, and imagination within the contemporary glass community.


Tim Tate Monet’s Garden Series, Wall Sconces, 22” x 10” x 10″, Cast glass and LED


Monet’s Garden illuminated artwork installed. photo by Anything Photographic

 Congratulations Tim on the honor and the beautiful artwork! 

Michigan’s Habatat Galleries’ 42 International Glass Invitational Features WGS Artists


Michigan’s Habatat Galleries presents a grand opening of the oldest and largest glass exhibition in the United States. Over 400 works of contemporary glass art will be on display opening April 26th at 8:00 pm.


Tim Tate

Located in Royal Oak, Michigan at Habatat Galleries, 2014 marks the 42nd year of this monumental event. The 100 Artists who participate are from over 23 different countries. This exhibition inspired April as Michigan Glass Month which for over 25 years offers 30 or more glass events held throughout the State.


Sean Hennessey

Three artists from the Washington Glass School – Sean Hennessey, Michael Janis and Tim Tate – are featured in this year’s exhibit.

HABATAT GALLERIES 4400 Fernlee Ave., Royal Oak, Michigan 4807 Click here to jump to pdf of gallery invite. Email: info@habatat.com www.habatat.com


Michael Janis

Tim Tate Lecture Series:: Critical Contacts: Significant Encounters and their Impact

Tim Tate, founder and co-director of the Washington Glass School, is a world renowned glass sculptor and video artist, will speak on the theme “Critical Contacts: Significant Encounters and their Impact” this Thursday, at 4 PM, in the auditorium (CF 101) on the ground floor of the MC Cafritz Foundation Arts Center in Silver Spring (930 King Street, off Georgia Avenue). 

The lecture, sponsored by the MC Arts Institute, will explore Mr. Tate’s remarkable career and the various intersections that have pushed it forward.  His work is in museum collections, and has been widely reviewed and published.  Earlier this year he had a solo exhibition of video pieces at the Katzen Museum at American University.   He has carried out major commissions in the DC metro area, such as the recently completed glass doors for the Library of Congress, as well as elsewhere in the world.  A congenial and engaging speaker, the lecture is sure to be of interest to anyone working in the arts area.

 Claudia Rousseau, Ph. D. 

Professor, Art History, School of Art + Design at Montgomery College

Main:      240.567.5821 

Direct:    240.567.5804 

Fax:         240.567.5820


What: Lecture Critical Contacts: Significant Encounters and their Impact

Where: MC Cafritz Foundation Arts Center 930 King Street Silver Spring Maryland

When: Thursday November 7th, 2013 4:00 PM

Off To SOFA Chicago!

The works are all finished and packed – and on their way to Chicago’s Navy Pier for the huge arts fair: S.O.F.A. (Sculptural Objects and Functional Art)!

Michael Janis “When She Was There” detail, kilnformed glass, frit powder imagery

WGS’ Tim Tate will have his new glass/video works on exhibit at Habatat Galleries (space # 1100); Michael Janis and Allegra Marquart will both be featured at Maurine Littleton Gallery (space #403).

Allegra Marquart “Cow Over The Moon”, kilncast glass

Tim will also be part of a series of lectures and booth events. He will be part of the Saturday Nov 2 talk about developing new audiences, titled: “Through A Glass, Brightly 
He also will be giving a booth lecture at Habatat’s space titled “Video as the Next Craft Medium” on Saturday at 1:30 pm.

Tim Tate “Guardians of Nature”, Cast Glass, Video

Glass Secessionism will have a talk hosted by William Warmus and Tim Tate in Room 323, from 3-4pm on Saturday. Titled ‘The Gathering: Glass Landscape in the 21st Century’, it will be a round table discussion centered on Post-Studio Glass and Glass Secessionism. For more info – check out the Facebook event posting online HERE.

SOFA CHICAGO opens Thursday, October 31 and runs through Sunday, November 3, 2013 at Chicago’s historic Navy Pier.