CELEBRATING 25: Glassblowers Share Their Favorite Memories

As the UN-designated International Year of Glass comes to a close, so too does the Museum’s celebration of 25 years of Hot Glass Demonstrations. 2022 has shaped up to be a busy, energetic, and fun year and that won’t change as we head into 2023. As Eric Meek, senior manager of Hot Glass Programs says: “Glassmaking is part of what makes the Museum an attraction for families that might not have museum visits on their radar. We can expand on that—there’s a lot more we can do!”

The Hot Glass Team has been putting smiles on faces for 25 years.

This is the final entry of our celebratory three-part blog series. In this blog, members of the Hot Glass Team look back at some of their favorite memories and experiences working for The Corning Museum of Glass over the past 25 years.

Eric Meek, Sr. Manager of Hot Glass Programs, hired in March 2005
“The thing that makes me smile most is the opportunity that we’ve given so many glassmakers—a meaningful stepping stone where they can become much better glassmakers, but on top of that, they’re more comfortable in front of people, more professional because of their association with the Museum. I’m proud of it because I know the role I played in fostering so many people to create their own path in this field they’re passionate about.”

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Open Access: Announcing the Inaugural Volume of Proceedings of the Annual Seminar on Glass

Almost every fall for 60 years, The Corning Museum of Glass has hosted its Annual Seminar on Glass. The single exception was in 2020, because of COVID-19. But come 2021, the Annual Seminar on Glass—based on the year’s special exhibition, In Sparkling Company: Glass and the Costs of Social Life in Britain during the 1700s—was back, this 59th time as the Museum’s first-ever online seminar, going fully virtual due to the continuing pandemic. (You can find the recordings of presentations and discussions on the Museum’s YouTube channel.)

The 59th seminar is also the source of another Museum first: the inaugural volume of a new Museum publications series, Annual Seminar on Glass Proceedings. Until now, there was no easily accessible, consistent yearly record of seminar outside the institutional archives and lecture videos in the Rakow Research Library. The Publications and Curatorial departments wanted to create a record of seminar events and discussions readily available for consultation. And we wanted something that could reach a global audience, combining the Museum’s vision of transforming the world’s understanding of the art, history, and science of glass and its pursuit of greater diversity, equity, and inclusion.

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Dazzling, Beautiful, Lovely, and Bold: Popular Tips for Using Glassware in the 1920s and 30s

“Almost everything will look three times as delicious served on glass. You’ll think of the magic table in the fairy tale when you see the miraculous change the swift dazzle of glass makes in your own table.”

The Little Book About Glassware, 1925
Many catalogs, such as this 1944 Fostoria guide to buying and using glassware, focused on the “glisten or sparkle” of glass that cannot be easily captured by other materials. Detail from cover of CMGL 89294

It is late autumn in Corning, NY, now. The leaves have fallen, the air is growing chillier, the days are shorter, and Thanksgiving is this week! We are leaving behind the season of picnics, barbeques, and family reunions. Families and friends will gather indoors for buffets, small informal parties, and sit-down meals. Why not take some entertaining tips from the days of dainty foods and color-coordinated meals? Using some tips from the 1920s and 30s, hosts of any gender can plan a party as stylish as one designed by a 1920s “modern housewife.”

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Global Interconnections in Journal of Glass Studies, Volume 64

Journal of Glass Studies 64 has arrived at the Museum. This jewel of an issue with its emerald-green and gold cover contains the work of 39 authors from 12 countries. Its 12 articles and 11 Notes explore glass from around the globe and reveal exciting interconnections—geographical and disciplinary. The issue offers a complex portrait of a world linked by glass.

The authors investigate glass from the Bronze Age to the 20th century, looking at objects from Turkey, Poland, and Sri Lanka; Sudanese Nubia, Egypt, the Roman Empire from Cologne to the Middle East; as well as Jordan, Italy, China, Croatia, the Czech Republic, India, and the United States.

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Blown Away is Back! Season 3 Contestants Share Their Experiences

It has been over three years since the phenomenal launch of Blown Away on Netflix and now we’re back for Season 3! Joining host Nick Uhas and resident evaluator Katherine Gray, are 10 new contestants all competing to be crowned Best in Glass and awarded the coveted Blown Away Residency at The Corning Museum of Glass.

Join us as we check in with this season’s glassblowers to find out what makes the show so special.

The ten contestants from Blown Away Season 3 are joined by judges Katherine Gray and Nick Uhas at the start of episode 1. Photo courtesy of Netflix © 2022

What expectations did you have going into season 3? 

“In all honesty, I didn’t expect to go as far as I did, especially with the all-star lineup they had this Season.” Trenton Quiocho – Tacoma, Washington (IG: amocat_lowlife)

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The Maestro’s Farewell Tour: Corning Celebrates Lino Tagliapietra’s Impact on Glass

Lino Tagliapietra in the Museum’s Amphitheater Hot Shop, May 13, 2022.

Lino Tagliapietra may be retiring, but not before one final visit to The Corning Museum of Glass. Last weekend was a monumental one for Lino, the glassblowers and staff at the Museum, and all the guests who filled the Amphitheater Hot Shop to see the Maestro at work during what will be his final performance in Corning.

To celebrate Lino’s enduring legacy, we asked those lucky enough to know and work with him, to describe the impact he has made on the glass world. To no surprise, the response was fervent and unanimous: Lino’s impact is, and will always be, extraordinary!

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A Bull in a China Shop: Red Bull Spends a Night at the Museum

Aaron Colton is ready to ride his motorcycle through The Corning Museum of Glass. *

As the world’s foremost glass museum, we often entertain some interesting ideas—but perhaps the wildest one yet was a call we received two years ago from Red Bull. “We’d like to have a stunt motorcyclist drive around The Corning Museum of Glass—kind of like a ‘bull in a china shop.’” Sure, it would have been easy to see the impossibilities in that simple concept. We’re a glass museum! Motorcycles and glass absolutely do not mix. But… could they? Often, it’s the out-of-the-box ideas that yield the biggest rewards. And so, we embarked on an exciting collaboration that culminated in a video released today on Red Bull’s channels.

Red Bull athlete and stunt motorcyclist Aaron Colton was engaged to create a custom-built, all-electric bike for this unique exploration of our galleries and hot shop. Colton’s Bike Builds series is a staple of Red Bull’s offerings, and this episode would follow his journey of not only building a type of bike he hadn’t built before—during a global pandemic, no less!—but would show the effort it takes to turn “no”s into “yes”s. Too many times, an exciting idea comes about, and it stops in its tracks because a location can’t accommodate a traditional, combustion motorcycle complete with fuel and noise. Colton and Red Bull would literally be creating a way to turn ideas into realities.

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2022: The International Year of Glass!

A Bordeaux Wine Glass by Riedel (83.3.222), featured in the 2021 exhibition Fire and Vine: The Story of Glass and Wine

It seems obvious to say it out loud, but we see glass everywhere these days. Funny, right?

For centuries we’ve thought about glass as something to be looked through but not seen. The cleaner the window, the clearer the uninterrupted view. Or glass is utilitarian to the point of invisibility. After all, it’s about the wine and not the vessel; it’s our reflection, not the quality of the mirror that is important. Often—if glass does its job correctly—it goes unnoticed, working not to draw attention to itself but to instead bring everything else into sharp focus.

But that’s not necessarily true anymore, and perhaps never was. Glass has long been changing the game. From early obsidian tools to revolutionary advancements in modern science and technology, from the Venetian masters to the American Studio Glass movement and beyond, glass has been a trusted tool and commodity, shaping cultures on almost every continent. Whenever the proverbial “lightbulb moment” happened, glass has transformed and illuminated the world we live in, right up to and including the COVID-19 pandemic, during which optical fiber was essential to keeping people connected virtually and Valor® glass vials have delivered life-saving vaccines to millions across the globe.

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No Sign of Slowing Down: The Corning Museum of Glass Turns 70!

For America, the 1950s was a decade of highs and lows. In the wake of the second world war, the nation experienced a booming economy, a rapidly growing population, and watched as its cities and suburbs spread across the land to house a new generation. But the 50s were also the dawn of new conflicts, including the Cold War and the fight for Civil Rights.

In the spring of 1951, five people witnessed the unfolding of this new America from the small galleries and offices of the newly opened Corning Museum of Glass. Those five made up the entire staff back then! Conceived as an educational institution entirely separate from its benefactor, Corning Glass Works (now Corning Incorporated), the Museum sought to expand the world’s understanding of glass. And ever since, the Museum has inspired people to see glass in a new light, a mission that remains at the forefront of our institutional culture 70 years later.

The Corning Museum of Glass in 1951.

To celebrate the Museum’s 70th anniversary, we’ve taken a trip through the archives to highlight some unforgettable moments.

So, let’s go back to where it all began.

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The Life-Saving Work of Glass: Corning’s Valor Glass Houses COVID-19 Vaccine

The lightbulb. Pyrex®. Optical fiber. The catalytic converter. Gorilla® Glass. Valor® Glass. You’ve likely heard of most of these revolutionary innovations in glass, all of which came out of Corning, NY. And although the last one may be unfamiliar to you now, it’s about to serve a very significant purpose: housing and transporting the life-saving vaccine for COVID-19.  

Valor Glass Lab. Photo courtesy of Corning Incorporated.

Corning Incorporated has been on the cutting edge of glass innovation for nearly 170 years, providing solutions to problems and shaping the way we live our daily lives. It’s a company many across the world have never heard of, however, nearly everyone has interacted with technology developed here in this small town of 11,000 people.  

Although you likely don’t realize it, Corning’s technologies have played a role in how we’ve adapted to the COVID-era from the beginning. Never before has there been such an intense need to remain connected while we’re apart. And how have we done that? By interacting with each other through glass displays and transmitting all communications with co-workers, loved ones, and others, via optical fiber. We are literally connected by glass, and so it’s somehow unsurprising—yet immensely remarkable—that Corning’s technology is also on the frontlines of the fight against the virus itself.  

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