Posts Tagged ‘Corning’

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.

Glass Industry News of Downs and a Possible Up

July 11, 2008

Last October General Electric announced its intention to restructure its lighting division, expecting to close plants, mainly incandescent bulb plants, in the U.S., Brazil and Mexico.  On July 10 GE announced it was considering spinning off the entire Consumer & Industrial business, which includes GE Lighting, as a new company in 2009.

The June, 2008 issue of the American Ceramic Society Bulletin noted that the Asahi Glass Company has announced that it will cease operations at three float glass lines and two architectural coating lines in North America by December, 2008, and has sold its glass fabrication lines. Asahi says that there is an oversupply situation in the market for clear float glass, with little difference in the product available from any manufacturer. They will be concentrating resources on glass for solar cells, glass for automotive uses and value-added building products.

In March the Associated Press news service reported that Corning Inc. planned to sell or shut down Steuben Glass, stating that Steuben has lost money for the last 10 years. Closing Steuben would mean the loss of another of the “hand glass” businesses that used to produce most of the household and decorative glass used in the U.S.

A bit of good news for glass manufacturing: The June issue of the American Ceramic Society Bulletin notes that Pilkington North America, owned by Nippon Sheet Glass, is considering upgrading its Lathrop, Calif. float glass plant with a new energy-efficient furnace and equipment and improved pollution controls. Building a new furnace in California, which has some of the strongest air pollution control standards in the U.S., would be quite an achievement after many years of refurbishing and repairing glass furnaces so as not to trigger U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regulations. The possibility of building one more new glass furnace in the U.S. is a small hopeful sign in the current glass manufacturing universe.