Glass: The stone that pours

Have you heard that ancient people didn’t see the color blue, because there is no word for ‘blue’ in many ancient languages? This idea shows up occasionally in popular media, although scholars have demonstrated repeatedly that the Greeks and other ancient people certainly recognized and saw the color blue, although they described, and perhaps even experienced, the color differently than we do today. But these studies do show that language shapes the way we see and experience the world.

So what does this have to do with glass? Ancient people did not have a separate word that referred specifically to the material we call “glass” until the Romans began to use the Latin word vitrus in the first century B.C. The first century B.C. was a critical time in the history of glass: the new technology of glass blowing was about to take off, and more people were drinking from glass cups, wearing glass jewelry, decorating furniture and walls with glass inlays, and playing dice and board games with glass tokens.

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New Digital Exhibition Explores Boro Glass in Partnership with Google Arts & Culture

Explore humanity’s greatest inventions and discoveries in a new interactive online project by Google Arts & Culture, in collaboration with The Corning Museum of Glass.


People have shaped and molded glass for ages and experimented with improving the basic recipe for glass. But it took innovations in modern chemistry to make a new glass for a new era possible. When German glassmaker Otto Schott (1851-1935) discovered that adding boron to glass recipes produced a borosilicate glass resistant to thermal expansion, he paved the way for new inventions.

Today The Corning Museum of Glass announces its first ever online exhibition featuring the journey of discovery that took glassmaking from a centuries-old craft to a modern material that shapes our everyday lives. The exhibition, New Glass for a New Era: Borosilicate Glass, is launched in partnership with Google Arts & Culture’s Once Upon a Try—the largest online exhibition about inventions and discoveries ever curated. Collections, stories and knowledge from over 110 renowned institutions across 23 countries are now brought together, highlighting millennia of major breakthroughs and the great minds behind them.

Explore inventions and discoveries in Once Upon A Try

From railroad lanterns resistant to drastic temperature changes, to glass battery jars and thermometer tubing—the invention of borosilicate glass lead a wave of new glass innovations. Borosilicate glass was the original recipe for Corning’s Pyrex bakeware and the ubiquitous Pyrex measuring cup. Borosilicate glass was also the innovation behind a giant 200-inch glass mirror in the Hale telescope, allowing us to explore new reaches of space.

First Casting of the Palomar Observatory’s Telescope Mirror Blank, 1934. 99.4.91

“As long as you’re paying attention, there’s no such thing as a failed experiment—you can always learn from what nature tells you,” says Corning Museum’s chief scientist Jane Cook. “The 200-inch disk is a perfect example of how scientists have learned from 20 tons of failure.”

And artists have been inspired by the innovation of borosilicate glass too. See how the properties of this glass led to larger and more intricate compositional works in glass sculpture by artists including Věra Lišková (1924-1979), Ginny Ruffner (b. 1952), and Geoffrey Mann (b. 1980).

“Glass changes the world, and borosilicate glass captured our imagination to bring new ways of working at home, in the lab, and in the artist’s studio,” says Eric Goldschmidt, properties of glass programs supervisor at The Corning Museum of Glass. “Borosilicate glasses have allowed artists to achieve even more complex and remarkable works and it’s amazing to see what we can still possibly achieve with this material.”

As part of Once Upon a Try, everybody can now explore more than 400 interactive exhibitions that pay tribute to humanity’s greatest leaps in science and technology progress, and the visionaries that shaped our world, as well as tales of epic fails and happy accidents. Once Upon A Try also lets you dive into Street View to tour the sites of great discoveries, from deep underground inside CERN’s Large Hadron Collider, to high in the sky onboard the International Space Station. Zoom into more than 200,000 artifacts in high definition, including the first recorded map of the Americas from 1508, and Albert Einstein’s letters, never before published online.

Explore Once Upon a Try on Google Arts & Culture ( or using the iOS or Android apps, and join the conversation with #onceuponatry. 

You can also explore the inside of The Corning Museum of Glass on Street View and find high-resolution images from the Museum’s collections as part of our collaboration with Google Arts & Culture

Seeing Wikipedia in a new light with Art+Feminism

Join us for our Art+Feminism Wikipedia Edit-a-thon on Sunday, March 10!

Four friends started Art+Feminism in response to studies that show that less than 10% of Wikipedia editors are women. This imbalance is reflected in the content of Wikipedia where women are underrepresented in articles. As Art+Feminism states:


The fact is when we don’t tell our stories or participate in the ways our history is preserved, it gets erased. Gaps in the coverage of knowledge about women, gender, feminism, and the arts on one of the most visited websites in the world is a big problem and we need your help to fix it.

I have been participating in Art+Feminism Edit-a-thons since the inaugural event in 2014 by providing training and technical help to new editors. When I joined The Corning Museum of Glass in 2016, I was excited to see that Rebecca Hopman and the Rakow Research Library hosted the event for the Southern Tier. Through her efforts, our Edit-a-Thons have drawn on the Rakow’s collections on the art, history, and science of glassmaking to contribute articles and improvements. This year will be no different, if you are able to join us.

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Reel glassy: 15 Movies to explore

Box of movie popcorn

If you are a red-carpet buff, you are no doubt anxiously awaiting the 91st Academy Awards ceremony and the chance to find out what films and film stars the Academy chose to honor this year with the golden Oscar statuette. If you’ve already watched all of the 2019 nominees for best films and are still hunting for something to see, enjoy this selection of movies that feature glass in a starring role.

**As a librarian, I feel compelled to foist this fun fact about Oscar on you: It was supposedly named by Academy librarian Margaret Herrick because the statue looked like her Uncle Oscar. **

Award winners

Age of Innocence movie poster

The Age of Innocence (1993)
Winner, Best Costume Design. Welcome to the extravagant luxury of Knickerbocker society, home to the Astors and Vanderbilts and Morgans. Martin Scorcese’s film is full of beautiful glassware, in luxurious historical settings. Be prepared to drool.

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The Corning Museum of Glass Partners on Glass Competition Show Blown Away 

The Corning Museum of Glass is thrilled to share news of an exciting collaboration on the forthcoming Netflix series, Blown Away, which will bring the art and beauty of glassblowing to television screens around the world. A visually compelling process often described as “mesmerizing” and “captivating,” glassblowing has never been the subject of any major TV programming—until now.  

The art glass competition show created by Marblemedia, an award-winning entertainment company based in Toronto, Canada, Blown Away features a group of 10 highly skilled glassmakers from North America creating beautiful works of art that are assessed by a panel of expert judges. One artist is eliminated each episode until a winner is announced in the tenth and final episode. A co-production with Blue Ant Media of Toronto, Blown Away will air on the Makeful channel in Canada before coming to the Netflix platform worldwide later this year.

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The Studio announces 2019 Residencies

Today, The Studio announced the 2019 Artists-in-Residence recipients: twelve artists from around the world who will each spend one month at The Studio, researching and experimenting with new techniques to further their work. Additionally, two artists and two scholars have been selected for the David Whitehouse Research Residency for Artists and the David Whitehouse Research Residency for Scholars, respectively. These recipients will spend up to three weeks in the Rakow Library, utilizing the vast holdings to inform their practice or area of research. Each resident will provide a public Lunchtime Lecture during their time at the Museum, describing their inspirations and work at The Studio and the Rakow Library.

2019 Artists-In-Residence at The Studio

Shinobu Kurosawa & Jim Butler
February 24-March 24; Public lecture on March 14

Shinobu Kurosawa, Happy Christmas.
Shinobu Kurosawa, Happy Christmas.

Translated literally, the Japanese word tonbodama means dragonfly ball. Since 2000, flameworker Shinobu Kurosawa has been making tonbodama beads that depict traditional Japanese landscape and nature scenes in glass.

In her March 2019 residency, Kurosawa will use The Studio’s resources to continue her research on tonbodama and expand her flameworking skills as she explores new possibilities in Japanese beadmaking.

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The Corning Museum of Glass Surveys Global Contemporary Glass in Special Exhibition Opening in May 2019

Today The Corning Museum of Glass (CMoG) announced that 100 artists—representing 32 nationalities and working in 25 countries—have been selected to exhibit in New Glass Now, a global survey of contemporary glass and the first exhibition of its kind organized by the Museum in 40 years. The show, which will be on view from May 12, 2019, through January 5, 2020, will include works ranging from large-scale installations and delicate miniatures to video and experiments in glass chemistry, all of which demonstrate the vitality and versatility of this dynamic material.

Problematica (Foam Rock), Sarah Briland

Sarah Briland
United States, b. 1980
Problematica (Foam Rock)
United States, Richmond, Virginia, 2016
Foam, Aqua Resin, glass microspheres, steel, concrete stand
With stand: 96.5 x 52 x 45.7 cm
Photo: Terry Brown

In spring 2018, CMoG welcomed submissions of new works, made between 2015 and 2018 in which glass plays a fundamental role, for consideration by a panel comprising Susie J. Silbert, Curator of Modern and Contemporary Glass at CMoG, and three guest curators, including: Aric Chen, curator-at-large, M+ museum, Hong Kong; Susanne Jøker Johnsen, artist and head of exhibitions at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, Schools of Architecture, Design and Conservation, Denmark; and American artist Beth Lipman. More than 1,400 artists, designers and architects working in 52 countries—from Argentina, Australia, Indonesia and Japan to the United States, United Kingdom, and beyond—submitted works, which draw upon flameworking, glassblowing, casting, neon, carving, and kilnworking techniques, among others. Read more →