Artists inspiring artists

Vermont-artist Jen Violette is inspired by nature, her own children, and glass artist Martin Janecky. All three came together this summer when Violette took Janecky’s two-week Blowing and Sculpting Inside the Bubble class at The Studio.

Martin Janecky demonstrates crafting a glass hand for his students.

Martin Janecky demonstrates crafting a glass hand for
his students.

Violette has been making glass for 25 years and has been working sculpturally since 2003 when she took a class at the Pilchuck Glass School in Washington state. Through her instructors at Pilchuck — William Morris, Karen Willenbrink-Johnsen, and Randy Walker — Violette “learned a lot about working sculpturally with molten glass” and has been working sculpturally ever since.

Almost 10 years ago, Violette discovered Janecky’s work online and has been a big fan of his ever since. So when she saw that Janecky was teaching a glassblowing class at The Studio this summer, she jumped at the opportunity. Having taken a class at The Studio in 1999 with Pino Signoretto, Violette knew that this was bound to be an incredible experience. And Janecky didn’t disappoint: “This class with Martin was fabulous, and I learned a lot of new tricks that I’m looking forward to applying.”

Jen Violette works on crafting a glass hand, inspired by her own children’s hands.

Jen Violette works on crafting a glass hand,
inspired by her own children’s hands.

During the class, Violette made child-sized glass hands that held natural elements such as glass acorns, glass fruits, and glass vegetables. “I wanted to echo the surprise and discovery of nature in young children,” she explained. She is excited about this new direction in her work and to be adding new techniques to her artist toolbox that will keep her inspired for years.

Interested in taking a class at The Studio of The Corning Museum of Glass? Check out the new schedule of fall and winter classes.

Learning all things glass

Today’s post is by Museum docent Rich LaVere.

Right about this time last year, I found myself in a unique position. After closing a video and photography studio in Elmira, N.Y., that I ran for 12 years, I faced life as a freelancer. Having more time on my hands than I was accustomed to, I set out to find new adventures and opportunities.

CMoG docent Rich LaVere.

CMoG docent Rich LaVere.

I read a Facebook post from The Corning Museum of Glass; they were looking for volunteers for their docent program. To be honest, I barely knew what a docent was (it’s a person who serves as a guide and educator for an institution), but I knew the Museum had a stellar reputation, and it seemed like a good opportunity to stretch a bit. Read more →

Telescope Quest: Days 16 & 17

Marvin Bolt, the Museum’s curator of science and technology, traveled to Europe last fall to research some of the world’s oldest telescopes. Read along to hear about his adventures and discoveries.

The Royal Observatory at Greenwich (Courtesy National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London).

The Royal Observatory at Greenwich (Courtesy National
Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London).

In 1675, King Charles II founded the Greenwich Observatory near London, primarily in order to tackle a basic problem that vexed his navigators: the longitude problem. Latitude is quite simple to find: finding the altitude of Polaris (the pole star) at night, or of the sun during the day (and then doing some calculations), will give you your current latitude. But finding longitude is just as important for finding your way around the world, or for mapping it. In order to determine longitude, one has to be able to find the difference in time between local noon and noon at another location, such as London. This was a difficult problem, one vital for navigation, as Dava Sobel eloquently described in her best-seller, Longitude. Read more →

Shedding light on a Blaschka model

Specimen of Blaschka Marine Life: Podocoryne carnea (Nr. 173), Leopold and Rudolf Blaschka, Dresden Germany, 1885. Lent by Cornell University, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. L.17.3.63-267.

Conservators are trained to carefully examine an object before they treat it. Not only to document the object’s condition but also to understand how it was made and what materials were used. In some cases, like Leopold and Rudolf Blaschka’s glass models of marine invertebrates, a conservator’s examination is one of the main sources of information about the object.

Leopold and Rudolf Blaschka wrote very little about how they created their glass models of marine invertebrates. Much of what we know about how they were made has come from observations of the models themselves and from the materials left in their studio after Rudolf’s death. Identifying the different types of materials and how they were used can reveal a lot about how a model was made. Most scientific analysis needed to fully identify the composition of the materials can be very time-consuming and costly. This means it was not possible to fully identify all of the materials used in each of the models on display in the Fragile Legacy exhibition. There are simpler techniques, however, that we can carry out in the conservation lab that allow us to identify materials in a more general way. Read more →

Blaschka Glass Marine Creatures Exhibition Opens May 14, 2016

Specimen of Blaschka Marine Life: Ulactis muscosa (Nr. 116), Leopold and Rudolf Blaschka, Dresden, Germany, 1885. Lent by Cornell University, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. L.17.3.63-54.

This May, The Corning Museum of Glass will present Fragile Legacy: The Marine Invertebrate Glass Models of Leopold and Rudolf Blaschka, an exhibition featuring nearly 70 exquisitely detailed glass models of marine invertebrates made by the legendary father-and-son team. Created as scientific teaching aids in the late 19th century, the models capture the diversity and splendor of aquatic life more than 100 years ago. 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.

Read more →

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 →