From October 17th through 20th, the glass-art community of artists and institutions throughout the Seattle area are teaming up to host the very first Refract: The Seattle Glass Experience, a four-day festival that has the potential to solidify the Northwest Coast as a center of American glass, and broaden its appeal to the wider public. The festival was spearheaded by Chihuly Gardens and Glass that together with the Glass Art Society, funded a research project exploring the Pacific Northwest region as a major center for glass art. It discovered some 700 artists and over 100 studios working in the material, and identified opportunities to expand awareness and cooperation in the field. Inspired by its research findings , Gardens and Glass joined forces with Visit Seattle, the official tourist partnership, to create Refract.
In the Spring 2019 edition of Glass (#154), I wrote about the impact of Spectrum's decision to stop producing their nuggets (Reflection: "Back to Batch," p. 64). After the last of the backstock of Spectrum nuggets shipped in Summer 2018, the effects were felt across the industry, with one small Midwest studio shutting down and university hotshops retooling to melt batch instead. I briefly discussed Cristalica, an alternative source of cullet from Germany, but the international shipping costs and different chemical composition that affected its compatibility and performance seemed to be keeping it from being a replacement for Spectrum. Now a new product is hitting the market, one that promises Spectrum-like qualities, though the pricing is more on par with its fellow European producer Cristalica. This new cullet is being offered from Bomma, a Czech company that designs a variety of glass products, like Cristalica, so it has the existing infrastructure to produce bulk quantities of cullet. Working with American artist and entreprenur Charlie Parriott, Bomma has developed a recipe for a cullet with a low melting temperature that is compatible with Reichenbach Colors as well as other color manufacturers. We spoke with Bomma marketing director Eva Kozarová to get some more information.
On Saturday, May 11, 2019, the landmark museum survey exhibition "New Glass Now" will kick off at The Corning Museum of Glass with a museum-members' premier, artist talks, and an evening party to celebrate the long awaited launch. Featuring work made over the last three years, the exhibition includes work by 100 artists of 32 nationalities, hailing from more than 25 countries. The show is being framed as the third in a series of era-defining glass-art exhibitions at Corning that began with "Glass 1959," followed 20 years later by "New Glass: A Worldwide Survey" in 1979. The effort to reconnect with these important predecessor exhibitions after a 40-year break is explicit in the introduction by curator of modern glass Susie J. Silbert, who cites both in detail in her introductory essay titled "New Glass is not New," which seeks to place this forward-facing exhibition in historic context.
For her third solo show at Heller Gallery, opening this evening, Amber Cowan will present the latest iterations of her reimagining and reconstruction of vintage pressed glassware, which she remakes through painstaking cutting and fusing at her flameworking torch. Cowan's unique artistic process invovles travel, scavenging, and an ability to map out new landscapes of detail and decoration, elevating industrially produced decorative products into singular works.
Recently wrapping up a successful conference in St. Petersburg, Florida, in March under the leadership of interim executive director Brandi Clark, the Glass Art Society is turning its attention to the future, and has launched a search for a permanent Executive Director who will report to, and act on behalf of the Board of Directors. The incoming Executive Director will support the board, and have a strong and authoritative hand in the management of programs such as scouting and developing yearly conferences, event planning, and marketing. The successful candidate will also act as the chief fundraiser for the organization.
Urban Glass has launched a search for a director of education to lead its successful teaching programs that reach over 3,000 students a year at this leading Brooklyn, New York, nonprofit arts center. The UrbanGlass studios accommodate a wide-range of glassmaking techniques, and feature a dedicated educational hotshop, flame working studio, extensive kilnworking facilities, as well as areas for mosaics and neon.
The glassblowing reality show included (at left) Pilchuck executive director Christopher Taylor as a guest judge, and artist and educator Katherine Gray as the show's "resident glass master." Also pictured is Blown Away host Nick Uhas (at right).
More than most other art-making processes, working in the glass hotshop lends itself to spectacle with the attendant smoke, fire, and heat. It's surprising then that it's taken so long for a reality television show to be themed around the practice. Blown Away, which has wrapped up shooting but is not yet available for streaming on Netflix, is tentatively set to debut in the U.S. in July 2019. (It had its world premier on the newly launched Makeful satellite channel in Canada in February).
The Rakow Commission is a Corning Museum of Glass annual event that began in 1986. Each year since, a selected artist, not yet in the Corning collection, is offered an opportunity to expand his or her work, and create a new piece for the musuem. On March 28th, 2019, Rui Sasaki was announced as this year's winner, and the artist was in Corning to present a lecture to discuss it. Sasaki's Rakow Commission work, Liquid Sunshine/ I am a Pluviophile will be included in the Corning's upcoming major exhibition "New Glass Now," a survey of the latest work in glass from around the world.
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.