Issue 172 | Fall

Editor's Letter

by Andrew Page

Much of the vast metaphoric potential of glass is intrinsic to the material—from its well-known fragility to its surprising structural strength; from its talent for disappearing to its weighty yet pellucid presence in massive castings. Just consider the technical name for the material’s unstable molecular state—“amorphous solid”—and how it speaks to the intersectionality of glass, as well as its potency as a symbol of transformation. The multiple and sometimes contradictory natures of the material are the subject of much of the artwork covered in this magazine, but in this issue we give special attention to the ways glass dances with light and color.

What we are actually talking about when we discuss hue and illumination is the reflection (or emission) of electromagnetic energy, which our brains perceive as fire-engine red or cool indigo depending on the frequency and wavelength picked up by our retinas. Our brains make sense of the signals traveling to it via the optic nerve, and that’s how we “see” color. But in fact, this is not a material property itself, but rather a product of our brain’s processing of information, hence the condition of color-blindness in some people. 

In this issue, contributing editor William Ganis engages the masterful manipulation of diffuse colored light in Jiyong Lee’s cast and laminated segmented sculptures, which are meditations on the structure of cells, and ethereal with multiple levels of meaning.

Contributing editor Emma Park discusses the outsize influence Václav Cigler has had on Slovakian glass, which he helped to established when he moved to Bratislava to teach outside of his hometown Prague, where the influence of Stanislav Libenský and Jaroslava Brychtová would have been an obstacle to his pure geometric studies of optical crystal, an approach that has informed  generations of Slovak artists who would follow his unique approach. 

Our Montreal correspondent Christian Lewis examines Quebecois artist Zou Desbiens’s infatuation with glass as a mediator of light, and charts her practice blending antiquated photographic techniques with her innovative hand-poured lenses in chromatically muted works rich in pattern and optical intensity. 

And finally, in this issue’s cover article, we celebrate a lifetime of discovery in the lengthy career of Paul Stankard, who has single-handedly moved the American paperweight from an imitation of the classic French paperweights of the mid-19th century, to groundbreaking work that sets the standard for botanical fidelity around the world. Stankard shared that he had been contacted by a French glassworker for a legendary crystal company, and heard how it’s now the Europeans who are studying the American paperweight for inspiration and ideas, the turnabout a testament to Stankard’s achievement, which we celebrate on the occasion of his 80th birthday.


Leo Tecosky discusses his recent $100,000 award and a new era of equity for glass; virtual glassblowing becomes a reality (sort of) at Pittsburgh Glass Center through a partnership with Carnegie Mellon University; artist and educator Alli Hoag on being named the Toledo Museum of Art GAPP artist for Fall 2023; recycled glass plays a leading role in miraculous repair of major highway, introducing many to the potential of "foamed glass.”


Kelly Akashi at Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York; Granite Calimpong at Traver Gallery, Seattle; Laura Kramer at Heller Gallery, New York; Ireland Glass Biennale at Coach House Gallery, Dublin

UrbanGlass News

Studio Futures, the UrbanGlass Scholarship Fund. aims to foster diverse voices in the field of glass art.

UrbanGlass Catalogue

““Cruising Glass: An MFA Exhibition” at the UrbanGlass’s Robert Lehman Gallery at the Agnes Varis Artt Center, Brooklyn, New York.


The enduring power of glass in myth holds endless opportunities for artists.


What Paul Stankard Sees

by Andrew Page

As he turns 80, the American paperweight pioneer is making some of his most ravishing botanical compositions yet – products of a lifetime of observing the majesty and mystery of the natural world.

The Tao of Glass

by William V. Ganis

Based on cellular biology and the product of hours of painstaking work, Jiyong Lee’s intricate interplays of color and light could be rigid and stiff, but their execution and balance make them seem effortless, balanced, and unburdened.

For the Love of LIght

by By Christian Lewis

Zou Desbiens’s fascination with the interplay of glass and light has sent this Quebec City artist on a journey both backward into photographic history and forward iinto her experimental purpose-built refractive lenses, all in pursuit of luminous magic.

Clarity of Purpose

by Emma Park

To escape the long shadows of Stanislav Libenský and Jaroslava Brychtová in Prague, fellow Czech Václav Cigler led a glass art program in Bratislava in neighboring Slovakia, fathering an aesthetic of optical purity that would come to distinguish Slovak glass art.

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.