courtesy: sadie housberg. 

Thursday August 16, 2018 | by Chelsea Liu

IN CONVERSATION: Paul Housberg discusses his recent installation for Charlotte’s City Center and how glass is his ideal material

Overlooking the lively City Center of Charlotte in North Carolina, artist Paul Housberg’s abstract glass installation on the exterior of 101 North Tryon provides a colorful distillation of memory and contemporary life. At 25-feet high and 14-feet across, the large-scale piece further animates an area rich in historical significance. The famed intersection of Trade and Tryon at which it is located is known as Independence Square after the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence, often believed to be the first declaration of independence made during the American Revolution, and today it is host to a district teeming with commerce, art, and restaurants. Housberg’s work, created in collaboration with Wagner Murray Architects, “honors the historic significance of its location while celebrating the city’s robust commitment to contemporary art and culture,” to quote from its press release.

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Thursday August 16, 2018 | by Justin Ginsberg

OPINION: A new glassblowing reality show asks artists to give up control of their image, and might present a warped perspective on the field

It was really only a matter of time before the first competitive reality-TV glassblowing show would make it into production. Given the onslaught of competitive, skills-based, and drowned-in-drama reality TV shows to provide cheap content for the proliferating online streaming platforms, it's no surprise that aspiring glassblowers would be seen as fodder for the same type of treatment given to the worlds of fashion, food, and tattooing. Let’s face it. Glassblowing is dramatic, and eye-candy for the crowds at museums which exhibit contemporary glass, offering chances to watch process from the comfort of bleachers with video monitors and high-volume PA systems making every technical step abundantly clear. Who doesn’t love a good camera shot through the idling fluffy torch, and pipe tips heated up in the pipe warmer, a good floppy bowl spinning out: steam, fire, burns, sweat, and muscles? It has all the tasty visual nuances that are guaranteed to fill seats. The call for applicants for Blown Away, coming soon to Netflix (theoretically), was announced in late summer. Casting will begin in September after the parade of auditions by U.S. and Canadian artists, craftspeople, and designers interested in being crowned the “best glassblower” is complete.

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A still from a promotional video that succinctly documents the craftsmanship behind a new line of wineglasses.

Tuesday August 14, 2018 | by Olivia Ryder

New hand-blown glassware line touts simplicity, provides insight into craftsmanship as selling tool in 2018

One should never underestimate the power of glassblowing to transfix an audience. But beware of overestimating it, either. A tasteful website for a new line of mouth-blown wineglasses keeps the theatrical presentation of the wonders of glassblowing to a bunch of still photographs and a minute-and-a-half video, but the process is still there to establish the craftsmanship behind a new line of glassware. A partnership with perhaps England's most-prominent wine critic, Jancis Robinson, the new Jancis Robinson Glassware Collection by designer Richard Brendon is his latest "heritage craft" undertaking. This spare product seeks to simplify the wine glass choices (see, in contrast, Reidel's highly successful varietal-specific glassware) and not only claims to provide the best single wine glass shape for all wines from champagne to port, but it also touts the refined craftsmanship behind the mouth-blown crystal glass from the skilled artisans of Bohemia. This collection offers one wine glass, two beautiful decanters (one for young and one for old wine) and a water glass that could double as a stemless wine glass, meticulously designed, and expertly crafted to look and feel refined, elegant and timeless. With recent high-profile coverage in the New York Times, this is an instructive look at the marketing and presentation of hand-blown glassware that could serve a snapshot of best practices in 2018.

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Karen LaMonte, Kabuki (detail), 2012. H 53, W 28, D 31 1/2 in.

Tuesday August 7, 2018 | by Chelsea Liu

Karen LaMonte’s "Embodied Beauty" exhibition at Tennessee's Hunter Museum is her largest to date

Karen LaMonte’s ethereal female figures are absent save for an intimate record of their corporeal presence evoked by the exquisitely detailed drape of clothing. The models who sat for the artist as she created these suggestive forms have left, and what remains is a sculptural rendering of the uncanny, of lingering loss, paradoxes, and strange dualities. LaMonte's dresses thus occupy an intentionally undefined space between presence and absence, tradition and innovation, emptiness and overflowing with meaning. Through September 2nd, 2018, the exhibition "Embodied Beauty" offers 32 of LaMonte's figures to viewers at the Hunter Museum of American Art in Chattanooga, Tennessee. It unites two distinct series of works from her oeuvre, "Nocturnes" and "Floating World," and represents the largest museum exhibition to date of LaMonte’s work in the United States, bringing together her figures in cast glass, clay, bronze, and iron.

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Lino Tagliapietra, Aretino. Blown glass, H 25 1/4, W 11 1/4, D 7 in. courtesy: the gallery.

Wednesday August 1, 2018 | by Olivia Ryder

OPENING: Traver Gallery has three new exhibits this month, showcasing the breadth of possibility in glass work by artists Lino Taglipietra, John Kiley, and Preston Singletary

Traver Gallery has three upcoming exhibits that showcase the incredible breadth of glass work. The gallery offers a compelling array for the month of August of breathtakingly intricate, more traditional work from the maestro Lino Tagliapietra in "La Poesia Della Forma" ("The Poetry of Forms, in English). Then there's the bold, shattered and reconstructed glass work in John Kiley’s "Radiant" series. And finally, Traver Gallery will be showing figurative blown-glass sculpture from Preston Singletary's "Beyond the Horizon" series at the Seattle Art Fair from August 2nd - 5th at the CenturyLink Field Event Center.

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Mary Hong now operates four galleries and three ShardWorx educational and event locations.

Tuesday July 31, 2018 | by Olivia Ryder

Mixing glass mosaic with painting, and her personal art practice with public participation, ShardWorx founder Mary Hong discovers a recipe for success

Mary Hong wears many hats - mother, wife, glass artist, painter, entrepreneur, businesswoman - and she seems to switch them effortlessly throughout each action-packed day. A 1980s graduate of the University of Wisconsin, Madison, with an undergraduate degree in interior design, Hong has always been involved in creative pursuits, which she has maintained with an extraordinary energy. She first started working in glass in 1999 in Hawaii with glass-bead and lamp maker Calvin Orr, where she says she learned everything she knows about glass. In a telephone interview with the GLASS Quarterly Hot Sheet, Hong said, "during that time I was entirely content, thinking I’ve found my happy medium" but, she explains, it was not to last. “Major life occurrences always change what you think is going to be forever - and being pregnant with twins will do that. So I put away my glass materials and took care of two babies.” As soon as her twin boys entered preschool, however, she dove back into art, turning from glass to painting, which she saw as a more parent-friendly practice she could do from home: “Nothing broke!” As her painting developed, she began to incorporate other materials to create collages. Eventually, she took out her stored glass beads and shards. “As a glass artist you are inherently expert when it comes to adhesives - I went crazy gluing things. When I pulled out this epoxy resin that had sat in my drawer, I poured it [over some glass elements on a canvas] and went to sleep, and when I woke up I saw my future in front of me.”

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Thursday July 26, 2018 | by Chelsea Liu

CALL FOR APPLICANTS: Prospective Netflix reality show "Blown Away" seeks competitive glassblowers

Glassblowing can result in serious art -- but it can also be intensely performative, a fact that has helped to fuel its expansion as an art material over the past five decades. Just ask the demo team at The Corning Museum of Glass in New York State or, on the opposite coast, at the Museum of Glass in Tacoma, Washington, where the amphitheater is regularly filled with museum visitors who want to witness the process of making. Few other art forms are as regularly paraded to the public as their final result is taking shape -- unfinished and hotly imperfect. The same theatricality that reliably fills the seats in Corning and Tacoma is being banked on to attract television viewers. A glass-blowing reality television show tentatively titled Blown Away is set to premiere in Spring 2019, and is seeking highly skilled glassblowers to audition for the first season.

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Jutta Cuny in her studio around 1982. photo: enrico cattaneo.

Wednesday July 25, 2018 | by Valerie Hughes

CALL FOR ENTRIES: Jutta Cuny-Franz Memorial Award 2019

The Jutta Cuny-Franz Foundation, centered at Museum Kunstpalast in Germany, is calling for submissions to the Jutta Cuny-Franz Memorial Award for 2019. Participants cannot be older than 40 years of age by 2019 and their chosen artwork must be from either 2017 or 2018. Each artist can submit three artworks in the form of images, with no more than three images per work, and the artist must own all rights of the images. The biennial award, which is endowed with 10,000 Euro (roughly 12,300 US dollars) is granted to artists whose works feature glass in a significant display of skill and creativity. In addition, two Talent Prizes are awarded, each consisting of 1,500 Euro (roughly 1,845 US dollars) and there are Honorary Diplomas granted as well. The deadline is October 14, 2018 and those who are interested may apply here. Applications may be submitted in English, French, German, Italian, or Spanish but any further correspondence will be in English. A choice of entries will be published in the Journal Neues Glas/New Glass. Winners are selected by a jury and the awards will be announced in the Spring of 2019.

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Lino Tagliapietra with Medusa at Schantz Galleries opening on July 13th. photo: kim saul. courtesy: schantz galleries

Tuesday July 24, 2018 | by Olivia Ryder

With exhibitions at two of the top East Coast galleries, Lino Tagliapietra reveals his experimental energy is undimmed

Never mind that he's well into his eighth decade, Lino Tagliapietra is constantly testing the boundaries of his own skills and imagination, taking color, pattern, and form to new levels of complexity. In a field where many successful glass artists become trapped making one type of work, Lino is constantly reinventing -- from exploration of ever-more-intricate patterning, to unusual vessel shapes on the pipe, to leaving the pipe behind to innovate large-scale glass panels that take shape in a kiln. His startling range is testament to his versatility as a Muranese maestro, a title he earned at the age of 21, when he had already spent a decade learning the centuries-old techniques. His last 65 years have been spent pushing glass-working techniques into new directions, and this spirit seem to be only intensifying as he advances in years. This summer, two leading glass galleries on the East Coast -- Heller Gallery in New York City and Schantz Galleries in Stockbridge, Massachusetts -- featured solo exhibitions of the master artist with openings one week apart. Though some overlap couldn't be avoided, both dealers feature exclusive works, so any serious collector or artist has no choice but to visit both Heller and Schantz to see what glass can do in the expert hands of an inveterate innovator.

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Tuesday July 17, 2018 | by Chelsea Liu

PROFILE: Military veteran and Ohio glassblower Doug Frates created a monumental installation in North Carolina

Stepping into Vidrio, a Mediterranean restaurant in Raleigh, North Carolina, visitors are met at once by kaleidoscopic discs and whorls of color that recall shells and aquatic flora, and combine to create an immersive atmosphere. Through this 30-by-50-foot wall mounted assemblage by Doug Frates Glass, which consists of 700 hand-blown glass pieces hung by the artist and his two assistants, the seascape is evoked in a rich display that is offset by the restaurant interior's otherwise minimalist decor.

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GLASS: The UrbanGlass Quarterly, a glossy art magazine published four times a year by UrbanGlass has provided a critical context to the most important artwork being done in the medium of glass for 35 years.