Friday June 17, 2011 | by Jason Gutierrez

A conversation with the head of the Chrysler Museum’s new glass studio opening in November


Charlotte Potter has been chosen to manage Chrysler Museum's new glass studio

The Chrysler Museum of Art‘s new glass studio isn’t slated to open until November, but the GLASS Quarterly Hot Sheet got some advance details about what’s in store from the artist Charlotte Potter (MFA, RISD, 2010) who was recently chosen to helm this important new venue for glass art. Potter, who also works as a conceptual artist and designer, will oversee the new, 7,000 square foot facility that includes a large furnace capable of melting 500 pounds of glass, three glory holes, five annealing ovens, and a flameworking table.

In an e-mail exchange, Potter tells the Hot Sheet that one of her personal objectives is to incorporate an experimental approach to engaging with glass. “We will couple traditional glassblowing techniques with new explorations and high-touch activities to provide a hybrid of historical and contemporary glass practices,” she says. Potter also hopes the studio can become an additional tool to help the museum’s 10,000-strong collection of glass pieces educate a wider audience about glass art. Aiding in this mission will be an Artist-in-Residence program, as well as partnerships with local organizations. “Our new Glass Studio will provide advanced scholastic investigations in glass and new media,” Potter says. “The Glass Studio demonstrations emphasize glass as an experience.”

The concept of glass as an experience is something that Potter knows plenty about. She was a co-founder of Cirque de Verre, a glass troupe, “that used the idea of ‘the circus’ and superimpose(d) it on the space of the ‘glass demonstration’ as a nontraditional venue for performance art.” Cirque de Verre performed at museums like the Toledo Museum of Art and the Corning Museum of Glass (Disclosure: GLASS managing editor Kim Harty was also a member of Cirque de Verre). Potter says that aspirations for the facility’s programming are very ambitious, and their approach to achieving those goals, “is to begin small and build upon this strong foundation in the years to come. I believe that establishing this groundwork is one of the most crucial objectives for the Studio’s first year.”

Charlotte Potter, When the Deer Turn to Elk, 2008. Mixed media.

The $7.5 million studio project is currently in the finishing stages and ahead of schedule, according to Potter. “Wet Dog Glass has manufactured and delivered the equipment, which is in place, piped, and wired. We are turning on the furnace this summer for a month to do preliminary testing of our mechanical systems, start programming research, and begin Museum staff training,” she says. The Glass Studio will open their doors November 2nd.

—Jason Gutierrez

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 more than 40 years.