Curating a Lifetime: Jane Shadel Spillman, a memorial

Jane Shadel Spillman

The Corning Museum of Glass is deeply saddened by the passing of Jane Shadel Spillman, our former curator of American glass who retired in 2013 after a CMoG career that spanned nearly five decades. Jane joined the Museum’s 13-person staff in June 1965 as a research assistant and curator of education and became an internationally recognized expert on American glass, developing the impressive collection we have today.

During her tenure at the Museum, Jane was a prolific author, beginning with Glassmaking: America’s First Industry (1976), a 35-page catalog in conjunction with an exhibition of the same name in celebration of the nation’s bicentennial. It was the Museum’s first major exhibition after the 1972 flood. This was followed by numerous books and catalogs, countless speeches and lectures, and the acquisition of thousands of objects for the Museum’s American glass collection and The Rakow Research Library holdings. Not to mention, the friendships forged across the globe, with glass amateurs and professionals alike, cementing Jane’s reputation as an expert in her field.

“Jane was a force within the glass and museum communities and helped shape our Museum for nearly half a century,” said Karol Wight, president and executive director. “Her contributions—in nearly every area—were numerous, and her impact in the field continues to be felt today.”

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The Adventure Trail: A Story of Surprising Local Partnerships

Cars and glass have long been a good fit. The evolution of glass windshields and other glassy elements inside and outside the car has helped make travel on our roads safer and more enjoyable. But a glass art installation at a car dealership was something new, even for us.

Robin and Don Ferrario at a member’s event at The Corning Museum of Glass.

So, when local business owners Don and Robin Ferrario came to The Corning Museum of Glass in January 2018 to meet with Eric Meek, senior manager of hot glass programs, and I, about an idea they had for a new showroom just down the road, it was the start of a great partnership.

I had heard ads on the radio, so I knew who Don Ferrario was, but my family was new to the area and we didn’t yet know the local lore. I was pleased to find out that behind the image of this successful business with a reputation built on expert automotive sales and service, there was also an active, artistic, and philanthropic couple who are well known as supporters of musical and visual arts in the region.

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Finding Marietta: Evan Turk’s Drawings Bring the Story of the Rosetta Bead to Life

This blog post comes to us from guest contributor Evan Turk, an award-winning illustrator and children’s book author. Originally from Colorado, Evan was, until recently, living in the Hudson Valley of New York, only a short drive away from the Museum.

Research into the world of glass and its storied history for his new book, A Thousand Glass Flowers: Marietta Barovier and the Invention of the Rosetta Bead (Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2020), led Evan on a journey from Corning to Murano and back again as he rediscovered fantastic stories and storytellers, incredible characters, and all the bold colors of glass.  

Pick up Evan’s book and get swept away in the empowering tale of Marietta and fall in love with the majesty of glass all over again.


 

From the first time I saw millefiori glass on a family trip to Murano as a child, it captivated me. The vivid colors, the complex patterns, the intricacy; it is an artist’s dream!

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Stories in Reflection: Finding a Narrative in the Mirror

Mirrors are everywhere. We see them inside and outside, in our homes, in our cars, on walls, floors, and even ceilings. They are almost as ubiquitous as windows. Only it’s harder to resist the temptation of checking one’s hair or straightening an item of clothing as you pass by a mirror.

Obsidian Mirror (70.7.1) possibly about 1400-1500.

Natural mirrors, like the surface of a calm lake, have always existed, but manmade mirrors date back thousands of years to the earliest uses of polished obsidian (volcanic glass). Over the intervening centuries, the role of the mirror has evolved just as we have. Today, mirrors are an essential step in our morning routines, they keep us safe on the highway, help us to capture images for posterity, and let us see far out into space.

For a glass museum, it would be remiss of us not to have a few mirrors lying about. Examples in our collection showcase the many different ways that reflective surfaces have and will continue to be used as transformative objects. So, let’s take a look at some of them, and see what there is to see.

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Curating a Lifetime: Jane Shadel Spillman, a memorial

Jane Shadel Spillman

The Corning Museum of Glass is deeply saddened by the passing of Jane Shadel Spillman, our former curator of American glass who retired in 2013 after a CMoG career that spanned nearly five decades. Jane joined the Museum’s 13-person staff in June 1965 as a research assistant and curator of education and became an internationally recognized expert on American glass, developing the impressive collection we have today.

During her tenure at the Museum, Jane was a prolific author, beginning with Glassmaking: America’s First Industry (1976), a 35-page catalog in conjunction with an exhibition of the same name in celebration of the nation’s bicentennial. It was the Museum’s first major exhibition after the 1972 flood. This was followed by numerous books and catalogs, countless speeches and lectures, and the acquisition of thousands of objects for the Museum’s American glass collection and The Rakow Research Library holdings. Not to mention, the friendships forged across the globe, with glass amateurs and professionals alike, cementing Jane’s reputation as an expert in her field.

“Jane was a force within the glass and museum communities and helped shape our Museum for nearly half a century,” said Karol Wight, president and executive director. “Her contributions—in nearly every area—were numerous, and her impact in the field continues to be felt today.”

Read more →

Blown Away Contestant Cat Burns, a Star on the Rise

Glass artist Cat Burns, had a pretty interesting year in 2020, but she wasn’t able to talk about most of it until now. From studio instructor to TikTok sensation to star contestant on season 2 of the Netflix series Blown Away, Cat’s year was full both on and off the screen.

Cat Burns on the set of Blown Away Season 2. All Blown Away photos by David Leyes for marblemedia.

But it wasn’t always easy. Success, just like glassblowing itself, can take hours, weeks, months, and years to master. Ambition, hard work, dedication, and a belief that you can do anything can lead you to success, and these are all qualities that Cat has in abundance.

While Cat is enjoying her moment in the sun, we carved out a few minutes to ask her about the big reveal and discover what made 2020 so great.

 

What made you decide to apply for Blown Away Season 2?

I decided to try out for Blown Away to challenge myself. I live by a rule that if something scares me, I should try it, just to prove that I can. I applied to the first season and didn’t get in so I honestly applied thinking I wouldn’t get in again.

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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.  

Read more →

Curating a Lifetime: Jane Shadel Spillman, a memorial

Jane Shadel Spillman

The Corning Museum of Glass is deeply saddened by the passing of Jane Shadel Spillman, our former curator of American glass who retired in 2013 after a CMoG career that spanned nearly five decades. Jane joined the Museum’s 13-person staff in June 1965 as a research assistant and curator of education and became an internationally recognized expert on American glass, developing the impressive collection we have today.

During her tenure at the Museum, Jane was a prolific author, beginning with Glassmaking: America’s First Industry (1976), a 35-page catalog in conjunction with an exhibition of the same name in celebration of the nation’s bicentennial. It was the Museum’s first major exhibition after the 1972 flood. This was followed by numerous books and catalogs, countless speeches and lectures, and the acquisition of thousands of objects for the Museum’s American glass collection and The Rakow Research Library holdings. Not to mention, the friendships forged across the globe, with glass amateurs and professionals alike, cementing Jane’s reputation as an expert in her field.

“Jane was a force within the glass and museum communities and helped shape our Museum for nearly half a century,” said Karol Wight, president and executive director. “Her contributions—in nearly every area—were numerous, and her impact in the field continues to be felt today.”

Read more →

Blown Away Contestant Cat Burns, a Star on the Rise

Glass artist Cat Burns, had a pretty interesting year in 2020, but she wasn’t able to talk about most of it until now. From studio instructor to TikTok sensation to star contestant on season 2 of the Netflix series Blown Away, Cat’s year was full both on and off the screen.

Cat Burns on the set of Blown Away Season 2. All Blown Away photos by David Leyes for marblemedia.

But it wasn’t always easy. Success, just like glassblowing itself, can take hours, weeks, months, and years to master. Ambition, hard work, dedication, and a belief that you can do anything can lead you to success, and these are all qualities that Cat has in abundance.

While Cat is enjoying her moment in the sun, we carved out a few minutes to ask her about the big reveal and discover what made 2020 so great.

 

What made you decide to apply for Blown Away Season 2?

I decided to try out for Blown Away to challenge myself. I live by a rule that if something scares me, I should try it, just to prove that I can. I applied to the first season and didn’t get in so I honestly applied thinking I wouldn’t get in again.

Read more →

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.  

Read more →