It’s been almost three years since the Museum last hosted a 2300° event. That was in February 2020, just weeks before the COVID-19 pandemic shuttered the Museum and indefinitely canceled the much-enjoyed program. 2020 was to be the 20th anniversary year of 2300° and the program had been fully revamped to be bigger and better, or, as Scott Ignaszewski, events and program manager, described it at the time: “We’ve kicked it up a notch!” Read more about the 20th-anniversary celebrations and the history of 2300° here.
This is part two of our three-part blog series celebrating 25 years of hot glass demonstrations at the Museum. In this blog, we’ll meet some of the current members of the Hot Glass Team and learn how hot glass demonstrations have expanded over the years, and in the process changed them as people as well.
Eric Meek, Sr. Manager of Hot Glass Programs, hired in March 2005 “I think the most impactful way we’ve expanded is when we take glassblowing out of the Museum and the expected environment here and share our work with new communities. For example, the work that we’ve done on the Celebrity Cruise ships and Mobile Hot Shop. It’s not just having the idea, it’s building a team of people who are capable and enthusiastic, and have the attitude to go for it. Everyone on our team is a good glassmaker, but there’s no one who relates the process better than we do. No one puts as much effort as we do into sharing information with our audiences.”
With 70+ years of history and thousands of objects, The Corning Museum of Glass is a mosaic of interesting information, including things that our visitors might not notice. Here’s a quick round-up of just some of the things you may not have known about CMoG.
1. Most of the first pieces added to the Museum’s collection came from Steuben Glass
In addition to making their own beautiful lead crystal glass, the Steuben Glass company collected objects that spanned the 3,500-year history of glassmaking. The impressive collection then became part of the Museum’s collection. 50.1.1 is the first item accessioned to the Museum collection and it is a cosmetic bottle made between 1400 to 1300 BCE. And in case you were wondering ’50’ represents the year the object joined our collection (though we now use the four-digit number for the year i.e. 2022) The first ‘1’ represents that the piece belongs to our Ancient glass collection and the second ‘1’ means that the object was the first piece added to our collection in that year.
Last week, The Corning Museum of Glass announced Dig Deeper: Discovering an Ancient Glass Workshop, a major exhibition that will reveal new insights into ancient glassblowing and glassmaking. Presenting artifacts from a 4th Century CE glass workshop discovered in Jalame, Israel, the exhibition will also allow visitors to experience ancient glassblowing in immersive and experiential new ways. Organized by Katherine A. Larson, Curator of Ancient Glass, the show will run from May 13, 2023, through January 7, 2024.
The excavations at Jalame, co-organized by The Corning Museum of Glass and the University of Missouri, Columbia, were conducted between 1963 and 1971. Objects found at the site revealed that the glass workshop at Jalame made both raw glass and finished glass vessels in the same location—a notable exception to the norm. Typically throughout the first millennium CE, raw glass was made in the coastal areas of modern Lebanon and Israel and then was sold and traded throughout the Roman Empire, where glassblowing workshops transformed it into vessels for sale to neighboring people.
It has been over three years since the phenomenal launch of Blown Away on Netflix and now we’re back for Season 3! Joining host Nick Uhas and resident evaluator Katherine Gray, are 10 new contestants all competing to be crowned Best in Glass and awarded the coveted Blown Away Residency at The Corning Museum of Glass.
Join us as we check in with this season’s glassblowers to find out what makes the show so special.
What expectations did you have going into season 3?
“In all honesty, I didn’t expect to go as far as I did, especially with the all-star lineup they had this Season.” Trenton Quiocho – Tacoma, Washington (IG: amocat_lowlife)
Lino Tagliapietra may be retiring, but not before one final visit to The Corning Museum of Glass. Last weekend was a monumental one for Lino, the glassblowers and staff at the Museum, and all the guests who filled the Amphitheater Hot Shop to see the Maestro at work during what will be his final performance in Corning.
To celebrate Lino’s enduring legacy, we asked those lucky enough to know and work with him, to describe the impact he has made on the glass world. To no surprise, the response was fervent and unanimous: Lino’s impact is, and will always be, extraordinary!
As the world’s foremost glass museum, we often entertain some interesting ideas—but perhaps the wildest one yet was a call we received two years ago from Red Bull. “We’d like to have a stunt motorcyclist drive around The Corning Museum of Glass—kind of like a ‘bull in a china shop.’” Sure, it would have been easy to see the impossibilities in that simple concept. We’re a glass museum! Motorcycles and glass absolutely do not mix. But… could they? Often, it’s the out-of-the-box ideas that yield the biggest rewards. And so, we embarked on an exciting collaboration that culminated in a video released today on Red Bull’s channels.
Red Bull athlete and stunt motorcyclist Aaron Colton was engaged to create a custom-built, all-electric bike for this unique exploration of our galleries and hot shop. Colton’s Bike Builds series is a staple of Red Bull’s offerings, and this episode would follow his journey of not only building a type of bike he hadn’t built before—during a global pandemic, no less!—but would show the effort it takes to turn “no”s into “yes”s. Too many times, an exciting idea comes about, and it stops in its tracks because a location can’t accommodate a traditional, combustion motorcycle complete with fuel and noise. Colton and Red Bull would literally be creating a way to turn ideas into realities.
It seems obvious to say it out loud, but we see glass everywhere these days. Funny, right?
For centuries we’ve thought about glass as something to be looked through but not seen. The cleaner the window, the clearer the uninterrupted view. Or glass is utilitarian to the point of invisibility. After all, it’s about the wine and not the vessel; it’s our reflection, not the quality of the mirror that is important. Often—if glass does its job correctly—it goes unnoticed, working not to draw attention to itself but to instead bring everything else into sharp focus.
But that’s not necessarily true anymore, and perhaps never was. Glass has long been changing the game. From early obsidian tools to revolutionary advancements in modern science and technology, from the Venetian masters to the American Studio Glass movement and beyond, glass has been a trusted tool and commodity, shaping cultures on almost every continent. Whenever the proverbial “lightbulb moment” happened, glass has transformed and illuminated the world we live in, right up to and including the COVID-19 pandemic, during which optical fiber was essential to keeping people connected virtually and Valor® glass vials have delivered life-saving vaccines to millions across the globe.
For America, the 1950s was a decade of highs and lows. In the wake of the second world war, the nation experienced a booming economy, a rapidly growing population, and watched as its cities and suburbs spread across the land to house a new generation. But the 50s were also the dawn of new conflicts, including the Cold War and the fight for Civil Rights.
In the spring of 1951, five people witnessed the unfolding of this new America from the small galleries and offices of the newly opened Corning Museum of Glass. Those five made up the entire staff back then! Conceived as an educational institution entirely separate from its benefactor, Corning Glass Works (now Corning Incorporated), the Museum sought to expand the world’s understanding of glass. And ever since, the Museum has inspired people to see glass in a new light, a mission that remains at the forefront of our institutional culture 70 years later.
To celebrate the Museum’s 70th anniversary, we’ve taken a trip through the archives to highlight some unforgettable moments.
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.
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.