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Wordless Wednesday: Museum Selfie Day with Christopher Ries Embrace Sculpture

Museum Selfie Margaret
Museum Selfie with Christopher Ries Sculpture at Paul Friedman Gallery, Misericordia University. Photo by Wayne Stratz(2009).

 

“Glass is the essential material which gathers, focuses, reflects, refracts, amplifies, filters, and transmits light. 

I use these special light altering abilities to create a kind of optical poetry.”

-Christopher Ries

 

Orange Vase by Tiffany: Creature in Glass

Orange Vase by Tiffany
Orange Vase by Tiffany at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Photo by Wayne Stratz.

Stratoz took a photo of this intense orange glass vase by Tiffany at the Philadelphia Museum of Art on Sunday.  It’s called “Vase” which isn’t very descriptive, but I’m guessing it’s a shrimp?  I love the swirls of the waves.  Have you ever seen a shrimp as a motif in art?

Dream Garden Mosaic by Tiffany

Tiffany Cypriote Plaque

Clara Driscoll and the Tiffany Girls

The American Studio Glass Movement and Harvey K. Littleton’s Gift of a New Material for Artists

Harvey's Conical Intersection, 1984
Harvey K. Littleton, Conical Intersection, 1984. Photo by Wayne Stratz.

On my very first trip to Corning Museum of Glass in 1995, I was smitten with the work of Harvey K. Littleton, and intrigued by the idea that Studio Glass Art had not always existed.  Littleton’s father Jesse was a physicist working at Corning, and his mother Bessie,  turned her kitchen into a test kitchen, baking cakes in sawed off battery jars made of Corning’s Nonex glass, and custards in the ends of lamp chimneys.  Heat resistant glass cookware is now part of our kitchen vocabulary.  I grew up with Pyrex bowls, dishes and pans.  But in 1913, it was all new.  Harvey Littleton worked at Corning the summers, and eventually after getting a degree in Industrial Design proposed setting up a studio for experimenting with glass in different forms.  Corning declined.  As he relates in Harvey K. Littleton and the American Studio Glass Movement,

My idea was that there ought to be continuing, ongoing, aesthetic experimentation in material apart from production.  But [Corning Glass Works] didn’t buy my proposal. They believed that architects made the best designers, where you made your designs on paper and didn’t fool around with the material…I thought form was born in the material and in the hands of the artist, and that a pencil was a…poor substitute…[resulting] in a very obvious and simplistic solution.

Four Square by Harvey K. Littleton 1975
Four Square by Harvey K. Littleton 1975. Photo by Wayne Stratz.

I am struck by the assumption made by Corning in 1947 that you made designs on paper and didn’t fool around with the material. Littleton recognized that glass would be an awesome material for artists to fool around with, and he wanted to find a way to make glass outside of a factory.  Now we are somewhat accustomed to the idea of going to watch glassblowers at work, or even take a class at a local college or art organization, but Littleton was working against the assumption that it just wasn’t possible on a smaller scale, that glass was an industrial material.

Red/Amber Sliced Descending Form by Harvey K. Littleton 1984 view 1
Red/Amber Sliced Descending Form by Harvey K. Littleton 1984 view 1. Photo by Wayne Stratz.

Littleton traveled to France and Italy, visiting artists who were working with glass, on their own.  He stumbled upon Erwin Eisch at a glass school in Germany, and describes his excitement:

I saw [Eisch’s] work and I realized that he was doing what I wanted to do – play with the glass, to make forms that had no other reason for being than that he wanted to make them. Function was something to be used or not used. Totally free. Free with glass. . .

With all he had learned, Littleton, offered an experimental workshop in glass blowing for artists at the Toledo Museum of Art in 1962, and then began a graduate program at University of Wisconsin Madison, which seeded Studio glass programs at many other universities, and had students such as Marvin Lipofsky and  Dale Chihuly.  In celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the founding of the American Studio Glass Movement, The Art Alliance for Studio Glass has a many events planned including one at the Allentown Art Museum,  The Lerner Contemporary Glass Collection, October 7, 2012-January 13, 2013.

Such delight has emerged from Harvey Littleton’s desire to bring glass to artists.

From One Piece of Youghiogheny Glass to Many: The Journey from the Factory to The Studios

Youghiogheny Glass. Photo by Wayne Stratz.
Youghiogheny Glass. Photo by Wayne Stratz.

Stratoz bought this amazing sheet of glass at the Youghiogheny Glass Factory in Western PA, and took this luminous photo before cutting it. Yes, he cut this beautiful thing. Some people just keep the sheets whole, like we discovered at the 401 Diner in Conshohocken.  The hostess seated us in a booth by a sheet of glass that looked remarkably like ours, and which we had put on our business card.

In spite of the twinge, I was delighted to receive the scraps Stratoz created in the process of making his stained glass designs.  The variation in color creates almost infinite possibilities.  A fellow pinner on Pinterest, Christopher McCullough, pastoral leader, architect and stained glass artist, wanted to know what we used this beauty in, and that started me looking.

 

Dove of the Holy Spirit by Wayne Stratz.
Dove of the Holy Spirit by Wayne Stratz.

The Holy Spirit. descending as as dove, for a minister to wear with her robe.

 

Tribute to Mark by Wayne Stratz.
Tribute to Mark by Wayne Stratz.

A tribute to a client’s dear friend and mentor.

For Japan, by Wayne Stratz.
For Japan, by Wayne Stratz.

A gift for a Japanese hermit and artist.

Joy Mosaic by Nutmeg Designs.
Joy Mosaic by Nutmeg Designs.

For client’s who look at this every morning at breakfast and feel joy.

Brooklyn Mosaic by Nutmeg Designs.
Brooklyn Mosaic by Nutmeg Designs.

A door sign representing a significant place in the client’s life.

Welcome Yellow Orange by Nutmeg Designs.
Welcome Yellow Orange by Nutmeg Designs.

A welcome to the home of a lovely family.

Joy Lotus Mandala by Nutmeg Designs.
Joy Lotus Mandala by Nutmeg Designs.

Bought by a woman named Joy, who fell in love with it.

 

Treble Clef by Nutmeg Designs.
Treble Clef by Nutmeg Designs.

Most recently, some scraps turned into a treble clef.

The Lux Gloria Windows of Sarah Hall: Art Glass in Partnership with Solar Panels for a Light From Within

I discovered Sarah Hall Studio‘s solar panel art glass, and found the meshing of color, light, glass and energy thrilling.   Sarah Hall is a Canadian glass artist, and was commissioned by Holy Family Cathedral of Saskatoon to create stained glass windows that take advantage of the city’s average of 2381 hours of sunshine annually,  more hours of sunshine than any other city in Canada.  The Lux Gloria windows are embedded with more than 1000 solar panels.

Sarah Hall, Lux Nova, solar lit glass at Regent College
Sarah Hall, Lux Nova, solar lit glass at Regent College

I also discovered that a book I already own, The Color of Light: Commissioning Stained Glass for  A Church, was written by Sarah Hall. I bought the book because liturgical and sacred art glass are realms I am drawn to with my own glass art, and Hall discusses important questions for churches to pose  in the commissioning process and gives artists an understanding of the process as well.

Sarah Hall is quoted in the article Windows a Striking Feature of New Cathedral,  as being happy for the possibility of strong color on the outside of a building, even at night, because of the internal light source, and the joy of being able to collect energy for the building’s electricity needs is gratifying as well.  Let there be light!

More orange goodness at my Orange Tuesdays Pinterest Board.