GAS 2016

[Susan Longini]

Corning, NY is synonymous with glass, but during the Glass Art Society conference June 9-11, the term was in overdrive. Over 1700 artists, students, gallery owners, curators, and collectors descended on this picture-perfect little town and literally breathed all things glass.


GLANC member & GAS Board member Ed Kirshner



At the opening ceremonies, Lifetime Achievement Award winner James Carpenter delivered an inspiring speech “Light in the Public Realm”. His reimagining of public spaces, both architectural and landscape, highlight the force light has in our lives, and the power of glass as the vehicle to direct light and transform these spaces. His statement “Glass has no boundaries” sums up its properties of transparency, translucency and reflectivity, which he uses to spectacular effect.

James’ website: www.jcdainc.com

Keynote speaker Wendell Weeks, CEO of Corning, Inc. expanded on the infinite possibilities of glass as a problem solving material. He believes we are in the Glass Age. Corning is primarily a scientific company, developing fiber optics, gorilla glass, flexible glass, infotainment walls, digital fitting rooms, wound-healing bioactive glass, and lighter, safer windshield glass. All this is to advance the human condition. Glass’s unique combination of properties: strength, stability, transparency, impermeability, infinite recyclability, malleability, in fact highlight its boundless potential.


While we had way too may choices to make regarding lectures, demos, etc., several hundred of us started our day with loud music and a virtuoso performance in the hot shop, as Glass Diva Laura Donefer partnered with classically trained glassmaster Jeff Mack to create a huge Classico Moderno work, an amphora encrusted with glass texturing as if this piece was lifted from a sunken ship and encrusted with barnacles. Of course, its hot pink color and winged handles were all 21st century. 4 large video screens and a camera at the back of the glory hole caught every aspect of this project, which we knew from the start would be amazing due to the huge gather of glass that began the work.


Laura Donefer and Jeff Mack light up our morning


A lecture/slide show by 5 Japanese artists highlighted the boundlessness of glass. Going from Laura’s spontaneous work to the incredible precision and detailing required by each Japanese artist’s long and laborious kilnworking and coldworking process, we understood that the property they all share is capturing light.

William Gudenrath, resident adviser of The Studio of The Corning Museum of Glass, is a glassblower, scholar, lecturer and teacher, who majored in piano and harpsichord in college, and is fascinated by Renaissance glass working. His research into the techniques of glassblowing of this era has resulted in a recently posted E Publication, The Techniques of Renaissance Venetian Glassworking, accessible on the CMOG website. Giving us a taste of the publication’s content, he explains how a certain Renaissance glass object in the Corning Museum would have been created, and then via video recreates the piece.

E publication: renvenetian.cmog.org

The afternoon concluded with a presentation by Seattle-based conceptual artist Buster Simpson. His challenging, mixed-media public art focuses on process, context and site. Spending time at Pilchuck in the ‘70s, his hand-built tree house is one of the iconic structures still standing.

Buster’s website: www.bustersimpson.net


GAS sponsors a TAG grant – Technology in Glass, which actually awarded 4 technology research grants in 2015. The only requirement is to share results of the inquiry in 1 to 3 years. The 2016 TAG Grant lecture was given by Michael Stern, who has been working with a team of researchers at MIT into developing a 3D Molten Glass printer. Using both 20th and 21st century technology, the prototype printer can create varying columnar style forms. The 20th century aspect is the initial heating of the glass, either with a Bullseye vitrograph kiln or a gather of glass pulled from the MIT furnace and inserted into the vitrograph crucible. A vitrograph crucible has a hole in the bottom for the molten glass to flow out, and the vitrograph kiln has a corresponding hole in its bottom, so the glass continues to flow to whatever is underneath the kiln. The 21st century aspect is the computer program that moves the bed of the shelf underneath the kiln, where the molten glass is deposited. Speed and direction created varying patterns with amazing light-bending properties. The process is in its early stages, but holds great promise.

Saturday night - The Glass Fashion Show
Over 100 wild and crazy artists from around the world paraded their creativity and style in a high-energy glass fashion show, directed by the inimitable Laura Donefer. From Rik Allen’s lost-in-space astronaut, Nancy Weisser’s flowing lampworked robe, to GLANC members’ Carolyn Wang’s elegant chain-mail dress, Kathleen Elliot’s botanical gown, and Lea de Wit’s fall leaves, everyone created original, engaging, and beautiful artwork that celebrated all that is glass.


Muni Barash, Amy Morgan, Kendra Kasten, Susan Longini,
Tom Kasten, & Dorothy Saxe enjoy dinner before the fashion show


Fashion Show Finale


The Corning Museum of Glass. This is the crown jewel of Corning to anyone visiting the city. From examples of the earliest known manmade glass to vitreous objects formed in nature, through to a dazzling new wing displaying contemporary work, the museum displays, documents, and details the evolution of art made from glass. It also houses a science component, including the initial lens for the Hubbell telescope, which annealed for 2 years. When the kiln was finally opened, they found cracks in the glass. After much research, a second one was designed and successfully created. Gathering work from all corners of the earth in all eras, the Corning Museum is the ultimate source for understanding the history of this special medium. Hours and hours can be spent (and were spent) immersed in the collections. The artwork is the consummate example of each style, epoch, and technique. We are proud to have GLANC members Jay Musler and the late, great Marvin Lipofsky represented.

Corning Museum website: www.cmog.org

It was a fabulous 3 days of seeing old friends, making new ones, and celebrating each other and the medium that brings us together.


GLANC members Joan Kruckewitt and Jay Musler admire a sculpture by Seattle artist Ann Gardner