When the glass workers marched on parade

This blog post was written by Nancy Magrath, Library Collections Management team member.

Glassworkers have a long tradition of making whimsies—fanciful objects to show off their creativity, skill, and humor. These were personal items made during work breaks and at the end of long, hot days at the factory in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Glassworkers made chains, sock darners, rolling pins, paperweights, animals—whatever struck their fancy. In England, these objects were called “friggers,” but in the United States the term was considered too vulgar, so the term “whimsy” was born.

One particularly flamboyant type of whimsy was the cane, as in a walking stick. Canes were made in different colors and sizes with varying degrees and types of ornamentation—the more extravagant the better! Some glass canes were 6 to 8 feet long and were topped by objects such as fish bowls, goblets, and musical instruments to display the glassworker’s special skill. Canes, like other whimsies, were often given as gifts or sold to family, friends, and coworkers. Canes were also bartered; local bars often had a collection of canes displayed on their walls, accepted in exchange for drinks. Read more →

Conservation of three lampshades

This blog post comes from Adelheid Hansen, an intern in the Conservation department.

It was a dream come true to be an intern in the Conservation Lab of The Corning Museum of Glass for eight weeks in early 2018. Shortly before coming to Corning, I graduated from West Dean College (UK) with an MA in Conservation Studies, specializing in glass and ceramics.

During my stay in Corning, I would go once a week with Stephen Koob, chief conservator, to the storage facility of the museum to wash glass. This blog post explains why and how washing of glass takes place. At the time I was there, there was a large collection of early 20th century American lampshades that needed washing (figures 1 and 2).

In addition to washing, I inspected each lampshade for damage. For instance: cracks, missing areas, detached shards or previous restorations. We took lampshades with damage to the Conservation Lab where they landed on my desk. This blog post describes the treatment of three of them. Read more →

Reconstructing Josef Hoffmann’s Dressing Room for a Star

Dressing Room for a Star began as a plywood room.

Nestled within the Museum’s exhibition, Glass of the Architects: Vienna, 1900–1937, is Dressing Room for a Star, a silvered, mirrored and extravagantly furnished room by Austrian architect and designer Josef Hoffmann (1870–1956), on loan from the MAK – Austrian Museum of Applied Arts / Contemporary Art, Vienna. Originally designed by Hoffmann for the 1937 Paris International Exposition, Dressing Room for a Star was reconstructed by the MAK Conservation Workshop in 2013. Though considered a single work, it is comprised of more than 200 pieces, including silvered wood panels, trim and decorative elements, a mirrored dressing table and floor, furniture, lighting, and glassware. It is one of 172 works on display in the exhibition.

Reconstruction of Dressing Room for a Star

Reconstruction of Dressing Room for a Star, displayed at
the 1937 Paris International Exposition. Designed by
Josef Hoffmann (Austrian, 1870–1956). MAK – Austrian
Museum of Applied Arts / Contemporary Art
(MAK H 3815-1, H 3815-2, 2058, H 2061;
chandelier on loan from J. & L. LOBMEYR Family
Collection, Vienna). © MAK/Georg Mayer.

Glass of the Architects highlights objects from the Museum’s collection, but most objects were loaned by MAK, a private collector, and the J. & L. LOBMEYR Family Collection in Vienna. Before loaned objects can be installed in a gallery, they are shipped and received from lending institutions, then carefully unpacked, condition-assessed and organized. It’s a dynamic and fluid process requiring a team of registrars, conservators, and preparators working in tandem. Registrars arrange the shipments of loaned objects and ensure all are accounted for and tracked upon receipt. Conservators assess and thoroughly document objects’ condition as they are unpacked. Preparators implement solutions to safely install objects and bring the curator’s vision to life. Read more →

Expanding Horizons: Class of 2018

Expanding Horizons 2018

The Expanding Horizons programs is a week-long program at The Corning Museum of Glass for the top students in at-risk glass art programs around the United States. In partnership with the Robert M. Minkoff Foundation, the outreach program includes airfare, lodging, and meals for the duration. The itinerary blends hands-on glassblowing instruction, touring the collections with curators, a visit to the Rakow Research Library, a meeting with a prominent collector, a discussion about preparing an artist’s portfolio, and a presentation on applying to college with a focus on glassblowing.

What happens when you put a bunch of teens together in a hot shop? Well, glass. And a lot of fun and camaraderie! The Studio recently hosted six young glass artists and their mentors for a week of glassmaking and learning. The students, five from Chicago and one from Tacoma, Wash., have all been studying glassmaking at programs in their hometowns and jumped at the chance to visit Corning to learn from the best. Here are some snapshots of their experience. Read more →

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 →

Photographing glass, part 3: Lighting techniques for transparent glass objects

This is the third in a series of blog posts addressing photographic lighting techniques for transparent glasses. It builds on the techniques discussed in the first two posts, Photographing glass, part 1 and Photographing glass, part 2.

In the first two posts, I used colorless engraved glasses to demonstrate how we can reveal detail by exploiting the ways glass interacts optically with its surroundings in a carefully controlled lighting environment.

In this third post, I use two different objects without engraving to demonstrate how the same lighting principles can be used to capture more subtle elements like tooling marks and optic ribbing. I also present a few techniques used to define edges and introduce controlled reflections. My goal is to capture details that provide insight into the process of making the objects as well as the properties of the glass itself.

As with the first two posts in this series, all objects are photographed on a translucent white acrylic surface (PlexiGlas 2447 with a P95 matte finish). Read more →

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 →