Among the Rakow Research Library’s newest acquisitions is a portfolio of 87 design drawings, at least some of which were created by the Parisian firm Établissements Charles Blanc for lighting fixtures at the Palacio del Centro Asturiano in Havana, Cuba. Established in 1885, Établissements Charles Blanc manufactured bronze lighting fixtures with glass embellishments. The firm showcased its wares at numerous French exhibitions throughout the later part of the 19th century, including the 1889 Exposition Universelle in Paris.
The design drawings are mostly in pencil or ink and range in size from 22 x 15 cm to 64 x 42 cm. Included are designs for floor lamps, chandeliers, and various wall and ceiling fixtures. Twenty-three of the designs are specifically labeled “Centro Asturiano Habana,” though it is likely many others were also marked for the Palacio del Centro Asturiano.
Design drawing for lantern. (CMGL 149698)
Design drawing for lighting fixture in library. (CMGL 149698)
Design drawing for lighting fixture in waiting room for Secretary. (CMGL 149698)
The Palacio was built during a period of growth in Havana which included an architectural boom. Designed by architect Manuel del Busto, the building was opened in 1927 as the Asturian Center headquarters. Its lighting fixtures were intended to blend with the style personified by Cuba’s Republican architecture. The Palacio’s stained glass windows and glass-decorated lighting fixtures offer fine examples of how glass was used in architecture and decorating in 1920s Cuba. Read more →
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.
An early train the next morning took me to Luneburg, a town in northern Germany that was once part of the Hanseatic League, a trading confederation in the 14th through 17th centuries. Its saltworks made it a wealthy city, but the collapse of the Hanseatic League decreased its importance and wealth from the 1560s on. Read more →
In 2007, The Corning Museum of Glass received a letter from Tufts University in Boston, asking for the return of 10 Blaschka models from Tufts marine invertebrate collection. This request raised many eyebrows around the museum. What Blaschka models could they possibly be referring to?
Accompanying the request was a copy of the discourse between Tufts curator Russell Carpenter and then CMoG director Paul Perrot, dating back to 1962. It detailed the transition of a ‘permanent loan’ between the two institutions. The idea of a ‘permanent’ loan is an obvious oxymoron that proved, in hindsight, to be an ironic one, as the collection had seemingly never been returned, almost 50 years later. Read more →
In Session Three at The Studio, we find a special process in the work room. Carol Milne teaches the technique of creating glass pieces that appear to have been knitted! This week-long class takes an intensive look at the steps behind creating her amazing works. From knitting wax sprues, to forming plaster molds, to creating the final pieces, this unique process results in some fantastic works.
Nadina Geary forms a wax positive from wax sprues,
which are long wax rods that come in different shapes
Step one: Student and glass artist Nadina Geary forms a wax positive from the sprues. The idea is to form the shape of the final product in wax. These wax sprues will become the negative in the plaster mold. The base of the piece is currently a cup covered in wax and will eventually hold the glass as it is heated to its melting point. This cup is called a reservoir. The molten glass will eventually enter from this reservoir. Read more →