The best laid plans: How sketches and blueprints inform the design process

This post comes from Ilaria Camerini and Erin Fitterer, Rakow Library interns during the summer of 2018 working on the conservation of Library collections, including the Whitefriars stained glass cartoon collection. Read more about this project and the collection in previous posts.

This summer, we’ve had the opportunity to work on objects beyond the Whitefriars collection. These objects represent a range of materials and techniques and have presented new and fascinating challenges for us.

Dandelions watercolor

Dandelion plant 95, Alice C. Gouvy for
Tiffany Studios, 1902, CMGL 89006.

Like the Whitefriars cartoons, these projects are also part of the planning process for creating pieces of glass. Artists often create drawings and watercolor sketches to plan out what they want to do in advance. Workshops hire artists and designers to create potential designs. These dandelions, for example, were painted by Alice C. Gouvy while she was employed by Tiffany Studios. Many of Gouvy’s sketches were later incorporated into windows, lamps, jewelry boxes, and other items produced by Tiffany Studios. Often these types of drawings and sketches were made without any particular object in mind.

Similar to Gouvy’s dandelions, this watercolor sketch by Frederick Carder features a pastoral scene with bathers. This image could have been translated onto a number of objects, including a stained-glass window, an enameled box, or etched onto the surface of a vase. We had the chance to work on Carder’s sketch this summer. There is a crack running from the left to right side. There are also additional cracks along the bottom edge. Fortunately, these cracks do not go all the way through the object. We were able to insert glue along the crack and carefully burnish the edges together. Read more →

Photographing glass, part 2: Lighting techniques for transparent glass objects

This is the second in a series of blog posts addressing photographic lighting techniques for transparent glasses. It builds on the techniques discussed in the first post, Photographing glass: Lighting techniques for transparent glass objects.

Goblet

Goblet, The Netherlands, 1760-1770. Gift of The Ruth Bryan Strauss Memorial Foundation. 79.3.993.

In the first post, I used an 18th century engraved wineglass from The Netherlands (CMoG 79.3.993, shown above), to demonstrate how we can reveal detail by exploiting the ways glass interacts optically with its surroundings in a carefully controlled lighting environment. This object was photographed on a photo table with a matte finish translucent white acrylic surface (Plexiglas 2447 with a P95 finish) using a combination of lighting both above and below the table surface. Read more →

The Artisan’s Hand: Reflecting on craftsmanship

Over the past few years, our demonstration teams have made a concerted effort to create new demonstrations that support our featured exhibitions and help our guests gain a deeper understanding of the artisan’s perspective. This typically involves our glassworkers trying to recreate an object or technique that is represented in our changing exhibitions. The exhibition Glass of the Architects: Vienna, 1900–1939, a cooperation of the MAK and LE STANZE DEL VETRO, presented a good jumping off point for a conversation about which our guests are often curious. On many occasions, as we step out of the flameworking demonstration booth, guests will ask us if the object we just hand-crafted could have been produced by a machine, or if the object could have been mass-produced somehow.

Museum flameworker, Caitlin Hyde, begins The Artisan’s Hand demonstration.

Museum flameworker, Caitlin Hyde, begins The Artisan’s
Hand demonstration.

As we first began developing a demonstration to support Glass of the Architects, it occurred to us that this contrast between individually hand-crafted objects and those that are made by machine or mass-produced could make for a compelling demonstration. Then, I was struck by a quote from a 1905 exhibition card in which two of the designers and architects represented in the exhibition, Josef Hoffmann and Kolomon Moser, stated, “The limitless harm done to the arts and crafts field by low-quality mass production on the one hand and the unthinking imitation of old styles on the other is affecting the whole world like some gigantic flood … It would be madness to swim against this tide. Nevertheless, we have founded the [Wiener Werkstätte (Vienna workshop)].” This cemented the idea for the demo as we realized just how concerned some of the designers represented in the exhibition were with the results of mass-production. Read more →

Five glass fiction reads for the summer

This post comes from Allie Shanafelter, Public Services intern at the Rakow Library.

Stolen paperweights, daring and handsome glass workers, fantastical lands saved by magical beads – if these sound intriguing, you’ll be excited to know there is a whole world of glass fiction to explore.

The Rakow Library’s collection includes fiction featuring glass for both children and adults. If you have seen the Library’s current exhibition, Curious and Curiouser: Surprising Finds from the Rakow Library, you may remember Donna Baker’s Glassmakers Saga, a romance series which is partially set in Corning, N.Y. Baker’s books are not the only romance novels that feature glassmakers, and the Library’s collection includes books that span a variety of genres, including mystery, fantasy, and historical fiction.

stack of novels from the Rakow Library

Here are five novels to add to your summer reading list: Read more →

GlassBarge launches today at ONE°15 Brooklyn Marina in Brooklyn Bridge Park

GlassBarge launch in Brooklyn.

GlassBarge launch in Brooklyn.

The Corning Museum of Glass (CMoG) today launches GlassBarge through May 28 at One°15 Brooklyn Marina in Brooklyn Bridge Park, kicking off a four-month tour celebrating the 150th anniversary of the canal journey to bring glassmaking to Corning. GlassBarge is offering free public glassblowing demonstrations aboard a 30’ x 80’ canal barge specially equipped with the Museum’s patented all-electric glassmaking equipment. Following its debut in New York City, GlassBarge will then travel north on the Hudson River, and westward along the Erie Canal, stopping in Yonkers, Kingston, the Albany, Syracuse, and Rochester areas, and Buffalo, among other cities.

Read more →

The Studio Announces 2018 Residency Recipients

2018 Artists-In-Residence at The Studio

Anne Vibeke Mou
March 22-April 20; Public lecture April 12

Anne Vibeke Mou, Diamond Window

Anne Vibeke Mou, Diamond Window

Originally from Denmark, artist and engraver Anne Vibeke Mou has been studying and working in the United Kingdom for almost 20 years. Her interests lie predominantly in the connections between glass and environment, object and place, and the medieval history of both regions has helped to shape her work in rich and revealing ways.

Mou practices a meticulous stippling process (engraving a surface with numerous small dots) using a handheld solitaire diamond tool. She is excited to access the Rakow Research Library’s resources to further her research into waldglas (forest glass) and historical sites of relevance. During her residency in March and April 2018, Mou will produce a series of delicate objects “containing traces of organic material from carefully chosen locations,” she says.

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The Corning Museum of Glass receives grants to Launch “GlassBarge”

GlassBarge. Rendering by McLaren Engineering Group.

GlassBarge. Rendering by McLaren Engineering Group.

The Corning Museum of Glass (CMoG) today announced the receipt of $469,625 in grants through Empire State Development’s I LOVE NEW YORK program, the New York State Canal Corporation, and New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA), under Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Regional Economic Development Council initiative. This generous funding will support the launch of GlassBarge in commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the canal journey to bring glassmaking to Corning, New York, and will further CMoG’s participation in the statewide celebration of the Erie Canal Bicentennial.

In 1868, the Brooklyn Flint Glass Company relocated to Corning, via the New York Waterways, and evolved into the company that is today known as Corning Incorporated. In celebration of this pivotal journey, CMoG will launch GlassBarge—a canal barge equipped with CMoG’s patented all-electric glassmaking equipment—in Brooklyn in May 2018.

Read more →