Glass Pilgrim-Murano: Old traditions, new possibilities, and local treasures

The view along Fondamente dei Vetrai, one of the main thoroughfares on the island.

The view along Fondamente dei Vetrai, one of the main
thoroughfares on the island.

The island of Murano, Italy, sits just off the coast of Venice. Since 1291, when Venetian law decreed that all glass furnaces from Venice be moved to the island, it has been one of the world’s most important centers of glass knowledge and technical skill. Muranese glassmakers and the culture they have built around their craft have inspired and intrigued glass enthusiasts the world over for centuries.

This May, the Glass Art Society is hosting their annual conference on this special island, and the glass world could not be more excited. As the anticipation builds for this trip, I was reminded of my last visit to this glass Mecca in 2014, and the stories I encountered.

As I anticipate a whole new batch of inspiring stories that are bound to get stirred up on this upcoming trip, I would like to introduce you to a few more of the interesting people and stories I encountered on my trip in 2014. Read more →

Glass eyes for fish?!

Glass eyes made by the CMoG flameworking team.

Glass eyes made by the CMoG flameworking team.

The Curious and Curiouser: Surprising Finds from the Rakow Library exhibition at The Corning Museum of Glass’ Rakow Research Library is filled with objects and stories that inspire. In a previous blog post, I’ve written about the glass eyes that inspired our daily flameworked eye demo in the Museum’s Innovation Center. In the course of researching glass eyes for this demo, I happened across some interesting stories, and I’ll tell you about one that I find particularly curious and delightful. Read more →

A window into the life of Katharine Lamb Tait

This post comes from Alaina McNeal, the Public Services Outreach intern at the Rakow Research Library.

A photo from the collection showing Katherine Lamb Tait working on a stained glass window during her time as Head Designer at J & R Lamb Studios, her family’s firm. The cartoon is displayed on the wall behind her and there are two matted window designs to help guide her work.

Katherine Lamb Tait at work on a window.
The cartoon is displayed on the wall
behind her and there are two matted
window designs to help guide her work.
CMGL 115294

Since beginning my internship at the Rakow Research Library, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by their collections every day. One of the most interesting I’ve come across so far is Katharine Lamb Tait’s archive. In this collection of close to 30 boxes, there’s everything from Tait’s sketches for stained glass window designs to her diploma to her purse. It’s a unique insight into the life of an artist that people rarely get to see.

Katharine Lamb Tait was born into an artistic family in June 1895. The family owned and operated a stained glass studio, J&R Lamb Studios. The studio was founded by Tait’s grandfather, Joseph Lamb, and great-uncle, Richard Lamb. Charles Rollinson Lamb, Katharine’s father, was an architect and designer, as well as the president of J&R Lamb Studios. Her mother, Ella Condie Lamb, was an artist and stained glass designer in her own right. Tait commented that “being brought up in that atmosphere, I wanted to be an artist, of course, because my mother was a painter.” She would also realize that her father’s designs had a strong influence on her as an artist, making him the “best teacher.” After graduating the Friends Seminary in New York City, Tait continued her education at the Arts Student League of New York. She also studied design at Columbia University, the National Academy of Design, and Cooper Union, and taught design for multiple years. Read more →

Raise a Glass!

Raise A Glass! installation

The Corning Museum of Glass has one of the finest and most extensive collections of historic European glass in the world. As curator of these objects, I’m constantly enthralled by the craftsmanship and technology they embody and the glimpses they give us of the lives and customs of the people who made and used them. However, when peering through a glass vitrine at rows of empty drinking vessels, it is sometimes difficult to imagine their stories beyond the Museum. Our new Raise a Glass! video installation now provides visitors with some of this missing context.

Gabriel Metsu, The Tête-à-Tête: A Lady Playing a Lute, and a Cavalier, 1662-1665; Waddesdon (National Trust) Bequest of James de Rothschild, 1957. Acc. no. 2571. Image: © National Trust, Waddesdon Manor.

Gabriel Metsu, The Tête-à-Tête: A Lady Playing
a Lute, and a Cavalier, 1662-1665; Waddesdon
(National Trust) Bequest of James de Rothschild,
1957. Acc. no. 2571.
Image: © National Trust, Waddesdon Manor.

Thankfully, glass drinking vessels of many types have been depicted in works of art since ancient times. From wall frescoes excavated in Pompeii, to illustrated medieval manuscripts and Dutch still life paintings, there is a remarkably consistent visual record of glass, showing the drinking customs of different societies throughout history.

We began by taking a focus on paintings from the 1600s and 1700s and found paintings that depicted glass drinking vessels in use, in collections as close by as the Arnot Museum in neighboring Elmira, and as far away as Buckingham Palace in London and the Uffizi Gallery in Florence. After obtaining permission to use high-resolution images of these works, our Digital Media team created a video montage which first presents the full image of a painting, and then zooms in on the glassware. On a shelf directly in front of the video monitor we’ve set out a selection of drinking vessels from the collection that are close matches to those in the changing images.

Winged Goblet, Northern Europe, 1684. 70.3.5.

Winged Goblet, Northern Europe, 1684.
70.3.5.

These lively views into the past reveal the importance of communal drinking in social life, ceremonies and celebrations throughout history. We can see what sort of wine or beer was consumed from which types of glassware, how they were served and, often more intriguingly, how they were held. Intricately crafted glassware that might seem to have been made only for display turns out, in fact, to have been effortlessly handled by drinkers of its time. Take this wineglass with a twisted, pretzel-like stem, probably made in the Netherlands during the 1600s, as an example. In fact, being able to successfully hold and drink from challenging vessels like this was considered a mark of accomplishment.

Putting this display together has been enormous fun and we really hope visitors will enjoy making the connections for themselves, and consider how they use their own drinking vessels at home.

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.

Read more →

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 →

Karen LaMonte selected for Specialty Glass Artist Residency Program awarded by The Corning Museum of Glass and Corning Incorporated

Nocturnes Installation in white bronze. Photography: Martin Polak. Provided by Karen LaMonte.

Nocturnes Installation in white bronze. Photography:
Martin Polak. Provided by Karen LaMonte.

The Corning Museum of Glass (CMoG) and Corning Incorporated (NYSE: GLW) announced today their selection of Karen LaMonte as the Specialty Glass Artist-in-Residence in 2018.

The residency is a joint program of the Museum and Corning that gives the selected artist access to specialty glass materials, scientists, and curators to experiment and explore new areas of their practice. LaMonte is the fifth specialty glass resident since the program’s inception in 2014. Her residency will begin on January 1 and will continue through the end of the year.

LaMonte is best known for her life-sized, ethereal glass dresses, which she casts in the Czech Republic, using the lost wax casting method. Her work employs translucent glass to show the division between our private selves and public personas, shaped by cultural and societal influences. She uses clothing as a metaphor for identity and to explore the human form in absentia. Read more →