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Learn to See: Ruah by Judy Tuwaletstiwa

ruah. to spit. by Judy Tuwaletsiwa
ruah. to spit. by Judy Tuwaletstiwa(American, b.1941), fused glass, pigment, kaolin, canvas, adhesive. Corning Museum of Glass. Photo by Wayne Stratz.

On the latest 2015 pilgrimage to the Corning Museum of Glass, this piece by Judy Tuwaletstiwa was new.  I read the tag with interest:

Judy Tuwaletstiwa began her career as a weaver and a painter and first worked with glass in 1998. In her painting ruah. to spit, small fused-glass elements were used like brushstrokes. To create them, she mixed her own specially colored glass powders and spooned them onto the shelves of a kiln, fusing them into long, oval shapes that she glued onto a painted canvas. The granular texture of the glass elements gives her painting a three-dimensional quality.

The way Tuwaletstiwa moves among mediums, from weaving to painting, to clay to glass and yet her vision unifies them, and finds the commonalities.  Textiles, especially quilts, are what excite my own glass art, and when I look at this piece, I see the influence of fabric, and yet, not a rote copying of another medium, but being informed by it.

In an article on the National Geographic site, she describes thinking like an artist:

Learn to see. Really see. Notice the smallest blade ofgrass. How the light reflects off of it, how it grows.  Notice what is around you. Turn off the television. Sit in silence. Listen. Each day notice something new. Educate yourself. Do not let a day pass by without noticing something you didn’t see the day before. When you look at a photograph, study it. Learn about this large world in which we live.

Also check out her exercise in thinking with your hands by modeling clay:

Judy Tuwaletstiwa: Think About It

Collage Meets Glass: Les Gemmaux de France

Pont de Grenelle (Grenelle Bridge) Les Gemmaux de France
Pont de Grenelle (Grenelle Bridge)(1959). Design by Louis Gilis; technique invented by artist Jean Crotti (1870-1958); panel assembled by “gemmists” in the Paris studio of Roger Malherbe-Navarre called Les Gemmaux de France. Corning Museum of Glass, Corning, NY. Photo by Wayne Stratz.

This piece caught my eye at the Corning Museum of Glass.  It was mounted in front of a lightbox and the colors of glass emerged in glowing layers.  Before I started making mosaics, I made collages with magazine paper and the Gemmail technique is like having those scraps of paper turn to glass.  Artist Jean Crotti wanted to incorporate light into his paintings in a new way and began working with thin glass glued and then fused, and called it Gemmail from combining the French words for gem and enamel(Gemmaux in the plural).

Crotti sought advice on the logistics of his technique with his neighbors, the Malherbe-Navarre family, physicists studying light and fluorescence.  Eventually Roger Malherbe-Navarre became the primary maker of Gemmail, and artists like Braque and Picasso were enchanted, and wanted to translate their paintings into glass and light.

A reviewer of a set of Gemmail windows, Winefride Wilson from a 1964 issue of Tablet, was ambivalent, torn between the wonder of the effect and concern that it reminded her of childhood kaleidoscopes, and hard to take seriously.  I have no such reservations ~ I am on the side of wonder.


Jean Crotti and Georges Braque, ca. 1956 / Guy Suignard, photographer. Jean Crotti papers, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.


Pablo Picasso: Le Gemmail

A Brief History of Gemmaux, Corning Museum of Glass

Jean Crotti Papers, Archives of American Art




Lalique Perfume Bottle: Bouchon Mures at the Corning Museum of Glass

Perfume Bottle Bouchon mures (Berry Stopper) 1920 Rene Lalique
Perfume Bottle Bouchon Mures (Berry Stopper), 1920, Rene Lalique. Corning Museum of Glass. Photo by Wayne Stratz.

Lalique takes the form of a bottle stopper and lets it unfurl into branches heavy with fruit.  I imagine the rounded topography of the berries, the bead-like drupelets.  I wondered if there was an ombre berry like the ones in Lalique’s imagination, and found salmonberries.  Sometimes when I eat raw berries my lips swell like drupelets, but in cooked in a pie I am ready to take them on.

More Lalique goodness:

Lalique Squirrel

Lalique Goldfish

Ionic Structure of Glass by Dominick Labino

Beauty in the Ionic Structure of Glass by Dominick Labino

Ionic Structure of Glass by Dominick Labino
Ionic Structure of Glass by Dominick Labino(1979), cast and fused glass, 60 inches across, Corning Museum of Glass. Photo by Wayne Stratz(2014).

Our 2014 pilgrimage to Corning Museum of Glass brought us in front of Dominick Labino’s Ionic Structure of Glass, 5 feet across, set into a wall, backlit and glowing like a rose window.  It hasn’t been on display for 15 years, since the first renovation of the Corning Museum.

Labino was an industrial engineer who held 60 patents and loved glass.  Harvey Littleton invited him to the original workshops at the Toledo Museum of Art in 1962, where American Studio Glassmaking began.  Littleton’s furnace wouldn’t melt the glass, and Labino used his scientific and research knowledge to overcome this, as well as learning glass blowing in the process.  The idea of making glass in a craft studio rather than a factory was exciting stuff.  In fabulous fluidity between art and science, Labino retired early from his Vice Presidency of the Johns-Manville Fiber Glass Corporation, and started creating art glass.  He had the chemistry skills to develop his own colors rather than remelting commercially made glass, as he described in his book Visual Art in Glass, and a love of the unlimited possibilities of color in art.



goldfish in Orange: Rene Lalique Vase, Formose (Formosa), 1924

Rene Lalique Vase: Formose (Formosa), 1924

The Lalique exhibit at The Corning Museum of Glass (until January, 4, 2015)is a treasure trove of orange.  Stratoz took this photo of the Formose goldfish vase for me.  The fins flow gracefully together enveloping the surface.  It was made by blowing a gather of hot glass into a mold ~ mold-blown glass.






Cityscape by Jay Musler

Pilgrimage to Corning: Jay Musler’s Cityscape

Cityscape by Jay Musler
Cityscape, Jay Musler, 1981. Blown, cut, sandblasting, airbrushing. H: 23.2 cm, Diam (max): 45.6 cm. (82.4.8), Corning Museum of Glass, Corning, NY. Photo by Wayne Stratz, 2014.


Stratoz and I made our Summer 2014 Pilgrimage to Corning Museum of Glass, and one of my favorite pieces was on display: Jay Musler’s Cityscape.  The first time we went to Corning in the early 1990s, I was smitten with this big orange bowl with the jagged edges.  The postcard has been with me ever since, and is now in my studio.

I discovered in reading more about this piece that Musler started with a sphere of blown industrial Pyrex glass, which he cut in half, and then sculpted the cityscape, sandblasted the surface and airbrushed with orange paint.  The diffused glow is one of the qualities that drew my eye, both intense and soft.  Photographing glass is a challenge that Stratoz and I know well with our own art.  A straight ahead photo may not capture the beauty of a piece, but there is beauty spilling out into reflections and shadows.  I love the way the Cityscape is reflected in the display case, like a sunset reflected in the sea.

More Corning goodness.