Artist Profile: My Obsession with British Artist Luke Jerram

In this week’s blog, I explore the history and work of British artist Luke Jerram, recipient of the Museum’s 25th Rakow Commission in 2010. Next week I’ll share extracts from my recent conversation with Jerram where we discuss his career and love of glass.

It’s always gratifying to delve into the Museum’s collection and discover new stories, whether about an artist, an object, a connection, or something else entirely. Things become even more interesting when you find yourself part of that story, even though you didn’t expect it.

That’s how it is with me and this story, and it’s a story I’ve wanted to tell for almost as long as I’ve worked at The Corning Museum of Glass. It was an everyday moment that served as the catalyst, a casual conversation with a colleague about an artist and where they were from, which, as it turned out, was the same place I’m from—the city of Bristol in the southwest of England.

Bristol is known for it’s colorful houses, hilly streets, and the majestic Clifton Suspension Bridge spanning the Avon Gorge. (Photo: Shutterstock)

I’ve always thought of Bristol as a small place, but perhaps that’s just because I grew up there. In truth, it isn’t. It’s big and loud and busy. And there’s always lots to do, especially if you like art. A popular activity for tourists and locals alike is to hunt for an original ‘Banksy’—graffiti by an unknown artist synonymous with the city. But when I think of Bristol now, I also think of another artist who has gained worldwide recognition: Luke Jerram.

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The Future of Fusion: Museum Welcomes Shawn Markham to Board of Trustees

Shawn R. Markham

In May, The Corning Museum of Glass continued to expand and diversify its Board of Trustees with the announcement of two additional members: Shawn Markham and Quincy Houghton. Following the earlier appointment of glass artist Corey Pemberton in February, the Board is now composed of 15 members.

Shawn R. Markham has a career at Corning Incorporated spanning 32 years and was recently named a Corporate Fellow—a title bestowed upon Corning’s most experienced and respected experts in their fields. Katherine Quincy Houghton is the Deputy Director of Exhibitions at The Metropolitan Museum of Art (The Met) in New York City, where she leads the museum’s program of groundbreaking loan exhibitions, oversees installations of its encyclopedic collection, and supervises key international initiatives.

In this week’s blog, we’ll learn more about Shawn Markham. Check back soon for an introduction to Quincy Houghton. Please join us in welcoming them both.

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The Wood-Fired Furnace is Roaring!

Summer is heating up and so is our new wood-fired furnace!

One of curator Katherine Larson’s primary goals for the exhibition Dig Deeper: Discovering an Ancient Glass Workshop was to bring the practice of ancient glassblowing to life for Museum visitors by creating a world around the bits of debris, fragments, and factory waste which archaeologists found at the site of Jalame, Israel. To do that, Larson collaborated with members of the Hot Glass Team and several experts from around the world, to design, build, and document a wood-fired furnace—modeled on an ancient Roman design—that can actually be used to blow glass.

An early version of the wood-fired furnace gets a test firing.

The wood-fired furnace took several months to build and required participation from colleagues across the organization. Now you have the opportunity to see the furnace in action during unique demonstrations every Thursday throughout July and August. A prototype furnace will also be on view in Dig Deeper’s companion exhibit Get Stoked! Fueling Furnaces from Wood to Sun located in the Innovation Gallery, where you can learn about other furnace designs and fuel stories over time.

Below, some key contributors share their experience of building the Museum’s first wood-fired furnace.

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Untitled: The Mystery of an Un-named Artwork

Have you ever wondered why artworks might be called Untitled? I know I have.

For me, finding an object label is all part of the experience of understanding and appreciating the artwork in front of me, and perhaps even deciding if I truly like something or not. A title, or the lack of one, can play a big part in that voyage of discovery. But there can be many reasons an object in a museum has Untitled on the label, so let’s explore them.

Museum visitors refer to object labels for valuable information and context to help them understand what they are looking at and why it’s significant.

For some artists, naming a piece of work, whether it’s a painting, novel, sculpture, or piece of glass, can be a significant, defining moment. The last word, so to speak, on their finished project. But for many artists, their work goes out into the world untitled. Pablo Picasso, for example, apparently refused to title his work, preferring the art to speak for itself. He often let galleries and dealers handle this formality, which makes you wonder, who really did name Guernica or The Weeping Woman, or, indeed, Untitled?

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Amy Schwartz & William Gudenrath Honored with 2023 James Renwick Alliance for Craft Award

The Studio’s Amy Schwartz and William (Bill) Gudenrath were honored on Saturday, May 6 in Washington DC with the James Renwick Alliance for Craft (JRA) Distinguished Craft Educator Award for excellence and innovation in education. The biennial award was celebrated at the JRA Spring Craft Weekend with a Symposium, Gala, and Awards Brunch. Recognized for their influence on future artists and significant contributions to American education in the craft field, Amy and Bill’s selection as honorees was the first time in the ceremony’s 20-year history that both makers and educators were honored at the same time.

William (Bill) Gudenrath and Amy Schwartz with their award at the Smithsonian Museum, Washington DC, May 6, 2023. Photo courtesy of the James Renwick Alliance.

Amy and Bill are the latest on a long list of distinguished honorees—the JRA Award has recognized some of the most influential craft artists in American history. This year, the other nominees included ceramic artist, social activist, and spoken word poet Roberto Lugo (the youngest artist to ever receive the Master of the Medium award); furniture maker Kristina Madsen; and curator, quilter, author, art historian, and aerospace engineer Carolyn Mazloomi.

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CMoG Named One of the “7 Glass Wonders of the World”

Capping a truly momentous year for glass, The Corning Museum of Glass has achieved a new distinction: being named one of the “7 Glass Wonders of the World.”

The announcement was made during the closing festivities of the United Nations International Year of Glass (IYOG) 2022. The year officially concluded with a Conference and Ceremony at the University of Tokyo, Japan, on December 8-9, which was attended by our very own President and Executive Director Karol Wight. This event was followed by an official debriefing held at the United Nations headquarters in New York City on December 14.

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Blown Away is Back! Season 3 Contestants Share Their Experiences

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.

The ten contestants from Blown Away Season 3 are joined by judges Katherine Gray and Nick Uhas at the start of episode 1. Photo courtesy of Netflix © 2022

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)

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The Maestro’s Farewell Tour: Corning Celebrates Lino Tagliapietra’s Impact on Glass

Lino Tagliapietra in the Museum’s Amphitheater Hot Shop, May 13, 2022.

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!

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