To the Pretenders’ tune, Brass in Pocket (I’m Special), Laura Donefer, in a sequined outfit accented by glass CDs, strutted her stuff to open the 2012 Glass Fashion show in Toledo, Ohio. photo: stephen rekstad
Laura Donefer, the indefatigable coordinator, muse, designer, and emcee of the infamous Glass Art Society fashion show, served up something unique for 2012. The lights slowly came up on the catwalk set up in the Huntington Center in Toledo, Ohio, to the sounds of a string quartet as the
Corning Museum of Glass Hot Glass Show Supervisor Eric Meek in a supporting role with his fiance and professionally-trained dancer Monica Witt in a breathtaking dance duet that opened the 2012 Glass Fashion Show. photo: stephen rekstad
Corning Museum of Glass‘s Eric Meek sat at a bench with a blowpipe. He stood, walked over to a small furnace where the orange glow of the glass inside was suddenly animated. Attaching herself to the blowpipe, a dancer (his fiance Monica Witt) leaped up, giving the molten glass human form. And the next three minutes were filled with a tender duet as the engaged couple shared their passion for glass, dance, and one another with the audience that filled the large facility. As the lights came down, an outpouring of applause greeted the dancers who bowed to the appreciative audience before scurrying offstage, as the mood was about to change — dramatically.
Her red hair aflame in the stage lights, Laura Donefer, her sequined dress festooned with multi-colored glass CDs, sashayed from stage left and took the catwalk. The sound system blasted the distinctive throaty growl of Chrissy Hynde singing her first big hit and classic anthem of self-expression Brass in Pocket (I’m Special) as Donefer danced out over the crowd that pushed close to both sides of the catwalk. It was a fitting entrance for the queen of the glass fashion phenomenon, which she has championed, even getting professional fashion designers involved for the Glass Artists Association of Canada conference in Montreal in 2010. This fashion show marked the return of the event to the Glass Art Society. The Toledo Glass Fashion Show had been two years in the planning, with countless of hours spent sewing, casting and blowing glass, as well as practicing the presentation with Donefer coaching how to strut, dance, and otherwise celebrate glass, the body, and the unique gathering of the community.
The definitive record of the conference will be a photo book curated by Donefer herself and shot by the extraordinary photographic team of Stephen Wild and Suzy Lamont. Look here on the Hot Sheet for updates on its planned August 2012 release through the company www.blurb.com. In the meantime, for your viewing pleasure, we present 10 photographs by Wild and Lamont, as well as another few dozen by glassblower and photographer Stephen Rekstad who was kind enough to share his personal photographs of an event to remember.