Recent Acquisition: Charles Blanc designs

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.

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 →

Telescope Quest: Day 10

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 →

A flood, a fire, and the case of the missing Blaschka models


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 →

Behind Carol Milne’s Secret ‘Knitted Glass’ Techniques

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 and thicknesses

Nadina Geary forms a wax positive from wax sprues,
which are long wax rods that come in different shapes
and thicknesses

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 →

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 →