Celebrating The Studio: Michael Rogers

Michael Rogers

Michael Rogers

Born in 1955, Michael Rogers grew up in the small Illinois town of Wyoming. His grandparents and parents survived the Great Depression, and money was scarce, but there were large gardens. Produce was put up in jars for the winter. His family kept bees and made wine. Rogers was taught to hunt and fish as a skill to survive, not as a sport. See Rogers’ The Murmur of Bees in the new Contemporary Art + Design Wing.

As the youngest in his family, he spent a lot of time with his grandfather listening to stories that were half true and half fiction. “The very young and the very old seemed to have time for each other while everyone else was working,” Rogers says.

Rogers’s art is similar to his grandfather’s stories in the way they connect the real to the imaginary. He mixes sculpture and print using fragments of imagery to create a larger whole the way some poets use text.

After earning a master of fine arts degree at the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana, he taught for 11 years in Japan at Aichi University’s glass department, adding cultural variety to his visual language. He is a professor in the glass program at The Rochester Institute of Technology.

The Murmur of Bees, Michael Rogers, Rochester, NY, 2006. 2009.4.81.

The Murmur of Bees, Michael Rogers, Rochester, NY, 2006. 2009.4.81.

What has your involvement been with The Studio over the years? I have been fortunate to teach at The Studio in Corning two times in the past. Each time I’ve gained as much as I’ve given. I have also visited The Studio on several occasions to say hello to the excellent artists and educators that The Studio attracts as well as to check in with the staff, all of whom are great colleagues and friends. The Studio has over the years generously offered a scholarship for one of our students at The Rochester Institute of Technology’s Glass Program and it is an annual competition our students look forward to.

What do you like about working at The Studio? As an instructor, it is an honor to be placed within the international context of the artists The Studio invites to teach workshops from all over the world. They always have an amazing program in a broad variety of techniques and processes appealing to students with various skill levels and experience. Students learn there in a relaxed yet serious environment with a strong sense of community. The staff is an amazing team, totally on point and the facilities are first rate. The extended resources of the Rakow Research Library and the Museum’s extensive collections, both historical and contemporary, make it an exemplary place to teach and learn about all things glass related.

The Writer's Instruments by Michael Rogers

The Writer’s Instruments by Michael Rogers

As The Studio celebrates its 20th birthday, what would you say about its effects on the glass community? The Studio’s impact on the glass community is profound. It has provided an invaluable service to the field that is international in its scope and influence. To a large extent, it has been responsible for the continued growth and maturation of the glass community through its consistently innovative programming and the rich environment in which it exists. The Studio is a leader in education in regard to glass, and has been continually associated with quality and excellence. I heartily congratulate The Studio on its 20 year anniversary. The Studio has a vision for the future and it will be fascinating to see how it grows and evolves in the next 20 years!

Thanks, Michael!

May 2016 marks the 20th anniversary of the opening of The Studio of The Corning Museum of Glass, one of the foremost teaching schools for glass in the world. To celebrate, we are featuring 20 artists in the 20 weeks leading up to the birthday. These artists have studied, taught, and created at The Studio. Each Saturday, we’ll share words and work from the artists who have formed a connection with our Studio and our staff.

Behind the Microscopes

Chances are that microscopes have played an important role in promoting your health. Since their invention about 400 years ago, microscopes have helped us to learn about the tiny germs all around and inside us, and have helped to deal with them when they make us sick.

Façade of the Museum Boerhaave, Leiden, the Netherlands

Façade of the Museum Boerhaave, Leiden, the Netherlands

Revealing the Invisible: A History of Glass and the Microscope tells some of those stories with the help of 14 microscopes on loan from Museum Boerhaave, the Dutch National Museum for the History of Science and Medicine. Named after Herman Boerhaave, a physician 300 years ago, the museum is located just south of Amsterdam in Leiden, home to the oldest university in the Netherlands and to a renowned medical school. Not surprisingly, Museum Boerhaave has impressive medical collections, including dozens of historic microscopes. Read more →

Celebrating The Studio: Livvy Fink

Livvy Fink

Livvy Fink

For Livvy Fink, glass is about what lies beneath the surface. She is inspired by the material’s depth, volume, and “frozen moments” existing somewhere between its liquid and solid states. “This sense of suspension, I hope, will spark the viewers’ imagination,” she says, “and a sense of discovery, triggering a loss of a sense of scale, with some people perceiving the inside of my glass works as cellular structures and others as galaxies.”

A sculptor living and working in East London, Fink studied at The Royal College of Art and the University of Brighton. Recently, she has been working with astrophysicists from the University of Cambridge Institute of Astronomy and oncologists from Cancer Research on a collaborative project funded by an award from the Welcome Trust Foundation. She is working alongside philosopher Ezra Rubenstein. The project involves “producing a series of new works exploring how the imaginary space within a glass object can illustrate how both the hidden worlds of outer space and of the cells within our bodies are linked through a shared sense of wonder,” she says.

Through this work, Fink has become interested in the similarities between the process of scientific experimentation and the creative and technological aspects of glassmaking. During her 2015 residency at The Studio, Fink carried out a series of controlled experiments, looking at the effect of time, temperature, and density within predefined experimental boundaries. For example, she experimented with the movement of bubbles within primary shapes, watching how they can be moved and controlled during the casting process.

Read more →

The Science Behind Pyrex Glass

This post comes from Dr. Glen Cook, chief scientist at The Corning Museum of Glass.

The term “specialty glass” today refers to glass made from recipes that allow for new breakthroughs in products and services. Corning Glass Works introduced Pyrex as a specialty glass to the world with advertisements promoting how breakthroughs in the laboratory improved life in the kitchen.

3,500 years ago in ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt, long before Pyrex, glass was a new thing. It was a substance that could be made to look like a precious stone (like blue lapis lazuli), but it didn’t need to be mined or deeply carved. It could be gathered up and shaped, pressed, spooled, or molded to make things that looked expensive and exotic but required less effort.

That recipe for the first glass was the beginning of what we call “sodalime.” The name comes from two of its primary ingredients: soda (sodium carbonate aka soda ash or washing soda) and lime (calcium carbonate or limestone).

When it was first discovered, sodalime, like Pyrex, was a specialty glass: it did something that no other material of the day could do, and the makers of that glass experimented with recipes and processes to improve and adapt it further.

Over the millennia, up until the 19th Century, glassmakers discovered new kinds of “specialty glass.” Transparent glass suitable for mass production; a clear, colorless glass that would look like rock crystal; a brilliant glass that could be faceted to play spectacularly with light; a deep; ruby-like clear glass fit for royalty; all of these were specialty glasses of their day.

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Revealing the Invisible: The History of Glass and the Microscope On View April 23

Compound microscope, Carl Zeiss, Jena c. 1890 – 1910. Museum Boerhaave, Leiden, the Netherlands.

Opening this Saturday, April 23, The Corning Museum of Glass will present Revealing the Invisible: The History of Glass and the Microscope, tracing the invention and evolution of the microscope from the 17th century through the early 20th century, revealing scientists’ and artists’ explorations of the microscopic world. On view in the Museum’s Rakow Research Library until March 18, 2017, the exhibition will feature rare books and materials from the Rakow Library, interactive elements designed especially for the show, and historically significant microscopes—including a rare original Antoni van Leeuwenhoek microscope, lent by the Museum Boerhaave in the Netherlands, that has never before been exhibited in the United States. Read more →

Revealing the Mysteries of Venetian Glassmaking Techniques through new Online Resource

This morning, The Corning Museum of Glass released its first-ever scholarly electronic resource, The Techniques of Renaissance Venetian Glassworking by artist and scholar, William Gudenrath. A culmination of a lifetime of research, this digital resource details the techniques used to make glass on Murano, Venice’s historic glassmaking island, between about 1500 and 1700, a period known as “the golden age of Venetian glass.” Through 360˚ photography and high-definition video, complete reconstructions of Venetian glassmaking techniques unknown for centuries are now revealed.

Dragon-Stem Goblet, Venice, Italy, 1630-1670. 51.3.118.

Detail of Dragon-Stem Goblet, Venice, Italy, 1630-1670. 51.3.118.

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The Batchshed Project: Exploring Indigenous Glass

This post comes from Dr. Glen Cook, chief scientist at The Corning Museum of Glass.

Professor Fred Herbst stokes wood into the firebox of one of Corning Community College’s wood-fired kilns. These well-drafted kilns can achieve temperatures in excess of 2200°F.

Professor Fred Herbst stokes wood into the firebox of one of Corning Community College’s wood-fired kilns. These well-drafted kilns can achieve temperatures in excess of 2200°F.

You may be familiar with words that have been created to designate the area from which a specific raw material is derived, such as watershed—the runoff land that feeds into a river system or lake. Other terms recently coined refer to other fundamental resources that are local to an area, like foodshed, and fibershed. I’ve coined the term “Batchshed” to describe the raw glass-making ingredients that come from a specific locale, that come together in the fire of locally harvested wood, to make “indigenous glass.” Read more →

What to Look For: A Guide to the Contemporary Art + Design Galleries

To Die Upon a Kiss, Fred Wilson, Murano, Italy, 2011. Image courtesy of Pace Gallery. 2014.3.10.

The Contemporary Art + Design Wing is the largest space dedicated to contemporary glass anywhere in the world. The galleries will feature more than 70 works from the Museum’s permanent collection, including recent acquisitions and large-scale works that have never before been on view due to space restriction in the current contemporary glass gallery.

Rendering of Body and Narrative Gallery.

Rendering of Body and Narrative Gallery.

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