Opeyemi "Ope" Omojola was an artist-in-residence at the UrbanGlass Bead Project in the Fall of 2019 (Disclosure: The Hot Sheet is a program of the nonprofit art center UrbanGlass.) and she is looking forward to returning to the studios as borosilicate glass is figuring more and more into her work. Omojola owns Octave Jewelry, a company that is inspired by the balance between sharp geometry and soft organic form, showcasing kinetic pieces are inspired by both the infinite malleability of metal and the permanence of stone.
A chance meeting between a chef apprentice and a leading American glassblower became a unique creative partnership that's evolved over decades from apprentice to assistant to full artistic collaborator. Both John Kiley and Dante Marioni are among the most-skilled American practitioners of traditional Italian glassblowing and acolytes of legendary Italian maestro Lino Tagliapietra. But each is advancing his uniquely contemporary approach to the time-honored process — Kiley in cutting away and exploding form, Marioni in taking vessels to new levels of scale and complexity of surface patterning. An opportunity to join forces in an aesthetic adventure came when they won a week-long residency at the Museum of Glass in Tacoma, which went ahead even as the Covid-19 pandemic first took root in Washington state last March. They were the last residency to be completed before a state-wide shutdown that remains in effect.
With the uncertainty around containing the Covid-19 pandemic in the United States in general, and Washington state in particular, Pilchuck Glass School has announced it is cancelling all of its summer and fall programs and residencies for 2020. Included in the announcement was the positive news that an anonymous donor has gifted Pilchuck with sufficient funds to pay all artists who had been scheduled to teach the cancelled classes.
UPDATED 6/28/20 7 PM In the first weeks of June, as Black Lives Matter protests swept the U.S. and the world, the Glass Art Society received a letter from artist, executive director, and educator Nate Watson, who provided a sharp critique of the glass-art community as a place with a lot of work to do to diversify. The letter was deemed so urgent, GAS published it online in advance of the release of its regularly scheduled newsletter.
Brooklyn-based glass architectural and interior designer Allison Eden, who has been designing handmade glass and tile mosaics in New York City, has started a new artistic venture: fashionable mask-making. Graduating in 1995 with a degree in fashion from FIT, Eden originally parlayed her clothing design skills to elaborately patterned glass tile mosaics, which have attracted a celebrity clientele. With the downturn in the home design business during the pandemic, Eden has refocused her design studio on a fashion-forward mask line, which started as her personal effort to stay safe at a museum opening as the pandemic started to arrive in NYC in March 2020.
The 2021 Glass Art Society conference in Tacoma, Washington, was announced at the close of its successful first-ever Virtual Conference last month. Free and open to the public, the 2020 online event included awards ceremonies, demos, panel discussions, lectures, tours, and happy hours via live-stream and recorded video. Next year's event is planned to be an in-person gathering and proposals are now being accepted. The 2021 Conference will mark the organizations 50th year, and the landmark event is set to take place from May 19th through May 22nd. In a reflection of greater awareness of the work the glass-art field needs to do, the artist organization is encouraging presentations from diverse voices.
The Summer 2020 edition of Glass: The UrbanGlass Art Quarterly (#159) is on newsstands and has arrived in subscriber mailboxes. In recognition of economic challenges facing artists at this moment, UrbanGlass is making it available at a Pay What You Can rate. The typographic cover design consists of a jumble of weather-beaten red letters spelling out "survival" with the rips repaired with clear tape. It's an issue about rebuilding after adversity, and it's told through the words of glass artists.
As stay-at-home orders were issued across the U.S. in mid-March, we at Glass: The UrbanGlass Art Quarterly made the decision to scrap our plans for the next issue. It wasn't that the artists we'd been planning to feature had become any less important, but the overpowering sense we would be entering a new era facing down a serious threat not only to our health but our livelihoods. The moment demanded something different, and so we decided to produce a special issue.
The 2020 Glass Art Society Conference scheduled to take place in Småland, Sweden became one of the countless events to be scrapped due to the global Covid-19 pandemic. But that won't mean this year will miss the annual gathering of the glass tribe. Kicking off at 10 AM Seattle time on Thursday, May 21st, and running through Saturday the 23rd (the original events scheduled dates) much of the planned program will be in place for the first-ever, totally-online event. The Virtual Conference will be free and open to the public via live-streamed and recorded video. Awards ceremonies, demos, panel discussions, lectures, tours, happy hours, and more will all be available. The goblet grab, portfolio review, and silent auction will all be part of the three-day event. There will even be a virtual version of the prized conference t-shirt, as well as a video experience of the annual collectors' tour.
Judith Schaechter's major career retrospective at the Rochester Memorial Art Gallery may have been forced to "go virtual" a month after its February 2020 opening because of statewide stay-at-home orders due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but the Philadelphia-based artist will engage in a public conversation with the exhibition's curator, Jessica Marten, the museum's curator in charge and curator of American art. The live event, scheduled to take place from 6 PM to 7 PM on Thursday, May 7, will be available for free via Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/events/1081907148844560/), where you can not only listen in on a discussion of the career and artwork of an artist singularly responsible for expanding the realm of expressive possibility in the medium of stained glass, but also submit your questions.
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.