Born in 1955, Michael Rogers grew up in the small Illinois town of Wyoming. His grandparents and parents survived the Great Depression, and money was scarce, but there were large gardens. Produce was put up in jars for the winter. His family kept bees and made wine. Rogers was taught to hunt and fish as a skill to survive, not as a sport. See Rogers’ The Murmur of Bees in the new Contemporary Art + Design Wing.
As the youngest in his family, he spent a lot of time with his grandfather listening to stories that were half true and half fiction. “The very young and the very old seemed to have time for each other while everyone else was working,” Rogers says.
Rogers’s art is similar to his grandfather’s stories in the way they connect the real to the imaginary. He mixes sculpture and print using fragments of imagery to create a larger whole the way some poets use text.
After earning a master of fine arts degree at the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana, he taught for 11 years in Japan at Aichi University’s glass department, adding cultural variety to his visual language. He is a professor in the glass program at The Rochester Institute of Technology.
What has your involvement been with The Studio over the years? I have been fortunate to teach at The Studio in Corning two times in the past. Each time I’ve gained as much as I’ve given. I have also visited The Studio on several occasions to say hello to the excellent artists and educators that The Studio attracts as well as to check in with the staff, all of whom are great colleagues and friends. The Studio has over the years generously offered a scholarship for one of our students at The Rochester Institute of Technology’s Glass Program and it is an annual competition our students look forward to.
What do you like about working at The Studio? As an instructor, it is an honor to be placed within the international context of the artists The Studio invites to teach workshops from all over the world. They always have an amazing program in a broad variety of techniques and processes appealing to students with various skill levels and experience. Students learn there in a relaxed yet serious environment with a strong sense of community. The staff is an amazing team, totally on point and the facilities are first rate. The extended resources of the Rakow Research Library and the Museum’s extensive collections, both historical and contemporary, make it an exemplary place to teach and learn about all things glass related.
As The Studio celebrates its 20th birthday, what would you say about its effects on the glass community? The Studio’s impact on the glass community is profound. It has provided an invaluable service to the field that is international in its scope and influence. To a large extent, it has been responsible for the continued growth and maturation of the glass community through its consistently innovative programming and the rich environment in which it exists. The Studio is a leader in education in regard to glass, and has been continually associated with quality and excellence. I heartily congratulate The Studio on its 20 year anniversary. The Studio has a vision for the future and it will be fascinating to see how it grows and evolves in the next 20 years!
May 2016 marks the 20th anniversary of the opening of The Studio of The Corning Museum of Glass, one of the foremost teaching schools for glass in the world. To celebrate, we are featuring 20 artists in the 20 weeks leading up to the birthday. These artists have studied, taught, and created at The Studio. Each Saturday, we’ll share words and work from the artists who have formed a connection with our Studio and our staff.