Issue 148 | Fall

Editor's Letter

by Andrew Page

The naiveté that defined the early days of Studio Glass, when the equipment was crude and outcomes uncertain, encouraged unbounded experimentation. In the early 1970s, Toots Zynsky contemplated leaving her fine art studies at the Rhode Island School of Design to pursue a medical degree—until she stumbled upon the glass department. There, her curiosity was engaged, and her passionate nature found an outlet in this material, whose limits were not understood by the artists wrestling to create meaningful form from its unforgiving nature.

Long before she would develop her signature glass-thread fusing process, itself a groundbreaking development that marked a rare update in the millennia-old techniques of vessel forming with glass, Zynsky was already eager to push boundaries. Still a student, she attempted to stretch a mass of hot glass just shy of its breaking point to create a work that would literally capture the tension that animates the material. But the rough glass, ladled out of RISD’s furnace and stretched taut, never survived the annealer, and her ideas would remain unrealized.

That would all change in 2016, when Zynsky became the first female recipient  of a specialty glass residency at Corning’s Sullivan Park Science & Technology Center in Corning, New York. As we learn in Alexander Castro’s revealing cover article, Zynsky was able to use a new formulation of glass to achieve her decades-old vision and is still enthralled  by the experience of working with cutting-edge materials, which has sparked new ideas and energy that echo her formative forays into glass.


A mile of neon tubes illuminates Tate Britain’s sculpture galleries; Penland’s new director, Mia Hall, sees craft as critical to contemporary culture; timed for the Venice Biennale, American Pae White’s project mixes architecture and glass art; Charlotte Potter moves on from the Chrysler Glass Studio; in memoriam: Norman Courtney (1947–2017); new gallery devoted to glass art opens in San Francisco’s Union Square.


Group exhibition of Native American beads at the Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian, Santa Fe; Tania Pérez Córdova at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Alli Hoag and Tinna Thorsteinsdottir at
UrbanGlass; Hannah Kirkpatrick at the Perry Glass Studio at the Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk, Virginia; Sidney Hutter at the Sandwich Glass Museum in Sandwich, Massachusetts.

UrbanGlass News

UrbanGlass celebrates 40 years at its annual gala and auction


by Lindsay Hargrave

Four Decades of Faith: Traver Gallery Turns 40


Thread Count(ess)

by Alexander Castro

Toots Zynsky, who weaves thousands of colored glass strands into undulating sculptural vessels, contemplates new technological possibilities.

Back to the Land

by Nola Anderson

In a major midcareer retrospective exhibition, Kirstie Rea’s evolving relationship with abstraction (and the endless Australian landscape) comes into view.

Reclaiming Design

by William V. Ganis

While Studio Glass sloughed off functional associations in a bid to be accepted as sculpture, it nevertheless has a dialogue
with contemporary design that invites further consideration.

Brooklyn or Bust

by Andrew Page

Facing a skyrocketing Manhattan real estate market, the New York Experimental Glass Workshop made a bold move to a city-owned building in Brooklyn, but with the much-larger facility came daunting fiscal challenges.

Paolo Venini in the Rio dei Vetriai

by Rosa Barovier Mentasti

An excerpt from Paolo Venini and His Furnace (Skira), edited by Marino Barovier and published in conjunction with an exhibition at Le Stanze del Vetro in Venice.

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.