The machine that lit up the world

When the power goes out at home, I can manage without a furnace by using my wood stove and can usually find something to eat in the cupboard. It’s the darkness that gives the most trouble, making it inconvenient, slow, and even dangerous to move. My biggest frustration is that even with a flashlight, I can’t read books, at least not good old-fashioned ones, the ones I really like to hold in my hands.

By making artificial lighting a standard, and cheap, feature of our homes and public spaces, the incandescent bulb completely transformed our society. It changed our behaviors, and extended our activities into times often disconnected from natural daily and seasonal cycles. One of my favorite satellite images (below, from NASA) shows how nighttime around the world is impacted by the presence of lighting. And one machine, the ribbon machine, is at the heart of this image and of the light bulbs that shaped the world.

Satellite image of lights around the world.

Satellite image of lights around the world.

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Aditi and the Father of Microbiology, or “The Secret About Lice”

Late in 2016, a second-grade girl named Aditi faced a common pesky challenge in an uncommon way. In a blog entry, “The Secret About Lice,” she wrote:

On December the 6th I got lice on my head. I was curious to see what it was. So me and my Dad took two lice that I had on my head and put it under the Foldscope. I learned lots of new things about lice. I learned that lice are insects because they have six legs. I saw that the antenna had five brick-like things in the adult louse and four brick-like things in the young-ling. I read they are called flagellomeres. I saw that the lice digested my blood in its gut. In the microscope I saw that there are two claws on the legs. One was big and shaped like a hook and the other one was small and shaped like a baby hook.

With a flashlight for additional light, Aditi was able to project and magnify her specimen’s image so that she could draw it in detail and understand lice even better. Image courtesy of Foldscope.

Image courtesy of Foldscope.

Aditi is a member of the DC Micronauts, a group of school-aged children who meet regularly to explore the tiny worlds around them. They use Foldscope, an origami-based, single lens paper microscope invented by Manu Prakash and James Cybulski. Read more →

Q&A with Rakow Research Grant recipient Charlotte Holzer

Charlotte HolzerTextile conservator and Ph.D. candidate Charlotte Holzer recently conducted research at The Corning Museum of Glass on the history and conservation of handmade glass fibers. Holzer is a 2016 recipient of the Museum’s Rakow Grant for Glass Research, established in 1986 to foster scholarly research in the history of glass and glassmaking from antiquity until the mid-20th century, from anywhere in the world. I checked in with her to find out a little bit about what she was working on during her time in Corning. Read more →

The Studio Announces 2017 Artists-in-Residence

Martin Janecky
February 13-March 20; Public lecture on March 9

Study of the Dia De Los Muertos, at Corning Museum of Glass 2016. By Martin Janecky.

Study of the Día De Los Muertos, at Corning
Museum of Glass 2016. By Martin Janecky.

Martin Janecky began his career with glass at the age of 13 and later explored sculpting methods in the Czech Republic. Janecky teaches and demonstrates around the world, including at The Studio. In March 2016, he was an Artist-in-Residence, during which time he experimented with opaline glass made at The Studio to further his sculptural work. The following week he was a Guest Artist in the Amphitheater Hot Shop, and created a body of work inspired by the Mexican holiday Día de Los Muertos (the Day of the Dead). Read more →

The Studio Announces 2017 Artists-in-Residence

Martin Janecky
February 13-March 20; Public lecture on March 9

Study of the Dia De Los Muertos, at Corning Museum of Glass 2016. By Martin Janecky.

Study of the Día De Los Muertos, at Corning
Museum of Glass 2016. By Martin Janecky.

Martin Janecky began his career with glass at the age of 13 and later explored sculpting methods in the Czech Republic. Janecky teaches and demonstrates around the world, including at The Studio. In March 2016, he was an Artist-in-Residence, during which time he experimented with opaline glass made at The Studio to further his sculptural work. The following week he was a Guest Artist in the Amphitheater Hot Shop, and created a body of work inspired by the Mexican holiday Día de Los Muertos (the Day of the Dead). Read more →

CMoG to make waves with GlassBarge

Here at The Corning Museum of Glass, our mission is to tell the world about an incredible material that captivates and excites us all—namely, glass! In order to fulfill that mission, we don’t wait for the world to come to us—although 460,000 visitors made their way to Corning last year—we take our story out into the world.

The Corning Museum of Glass Road Show in Seattle, Wash.

The Corning Museum of Glass Road Show in Seattle, Wash.

In 2002, we launched the Hot Glass Roadshow, a project that converted a semi-trailer into a fully-functioning glassmaking studio on wheels. We also transformed a standard shipping container into a studio space. This unique equipment and its small footprint make it possible for CMoG to deploy glassmaking to nearly any environment. Our first deployment was the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City and, since then, our mobile hot shops have traveled the world stopping in places like Paris, Seattle, South Australia, and New York City. We’ve even circumnavigated the globe aboard Celebrity Cruises, a partnership that began in 2008, and one that enables us to tell the story of glass at sea. Read more →

Corning Museum of Glass Unveils 2016 Rakow Commission by Thaddeus Wolfe

Stacked Grid Structure by Thaddeus Wolfe

Stacked Grid Structure
Thaddeus Wolfe (American, born 1979)
Made in United States, Brooklyn, New York, 2016
Mold-blown glass with brass inclusions
2016.4.9, 31st Rakow Commission

The Corning Museum of Glass unveiled Stacked Grid Structure, this year’s Rakow Commission by Brooklyn-based American artist Thaddeus Wolfe.

Wolfe creates multi-layered, highly-textured, angular mold-blown vessels, sculptures, and lighting fixtures. Stacked Grid Structure, like Wolfe’s other objects, was made by blowing glass into a one-time-use plaster silica mold cast over a carved Styrofoam positive. Creating his molds in this way enables Wolfe to force the material into structures that are at odds with the fluid nature of molten glass.

Stacked Grid Structure is the perfect artifact of its time,” said Susie Silbert, curator of modern and contemporary glass. “A bold and inventively made object, it bridges craft, design, and art in its production, conception, and ambition, exemplifying the blurred boundaries that make contemporary glass such an exciting field today.” Read more →