Archive for June, 2009

Art Glass Society meets in Corning, N.Y.

June 15, 2009

The Glass Art Society met in Corning, N.Y. June 10-13, for its 39th Conference.

In the afternoon on Opening Day we heard three inspirational presentations.

The first two presentations each mentioned Harvey Littleton and Dominic Labino, who are considered the founding fathers of the studio glass movement. It was in the 1960s that artists began to explore the possibility of creating works in glass, and today, glass art and glass artists receive the greatest public attention and media coverage of any area of glass production.

John Leighton, who received the 2009 Honorary Lifetime Membership Award, talked about his life working in glass, a presentation called “Thoughts of Another Object Maker.” He has maintained a studio since 1972, and was head of the glass program at San Francisco State University for 24 years, and then head of the glass program at California State University, Fullerton. He has been a guest instructor at numerous schools including C.C.A.C., the Pilchuck School, and the Tokyo Glass Art Institute in Japan. His presentation wove the history of the studio glass movement into an account of the students and artists he has worked with in the past 40 years.

Marvin Lipofsky, who received the 2009 GAS Lifetime Achievement Award, used the theme “Thank You Harvey… It’s Been 47 Great Years” to discuss his introduction to glass through Harvey Littleton and the work he has made all over the world, creating glass sculptural series in nearly 70 factories and glass studios. He began to teach at the University of California, Berkeley in 1964 and the California College of Arts and Crafts (CCA) in 1968, and has also been a teacher in many workshops, summer programs, and conferences.

The last presentation in the Opening Ceremony was by Tim McFarlane, of Dewhurst Macfarlane and Partners, who talked about the engineering involved in glass architectural projects around the world. The company designed the glass staircases for Apple stores, the glass Alpine House in Kew Gardens, U.K., and the structural glazing for the Corning Museum of Glass, where many of the Glass Art Conference programs were held, as well as many other glass structures as part of buildings around the world. He concluded his talk by showing models and some pictures of a restoration project in Menokin, Va. which uses glass to replace the missing pieces of a building.

I am not a glass artist, so you will not see me in the picture of 1000 Gaffers (gaffer – a traditional name for glassblowers) that was taken in the “Gaffer District,” the name given to Corning’s historical downtown on Thursday night, but I did enjoy the glass art exhibits at Corning Museum, and being around so many people who love glass objects.

The 40th Glass Art Society Annual Conference will be held in Louisville, Kentucky, June 10-12, 2010.