Treat Your Mom to (Paper) Flowers

By Bonnie Wright, Curator of Education and Community Engagement

Taking inspiration from the Botanicals of the Museum of Glass exhibition Joey Kirkpatrick and Flora C. Mace: Every Soil Bears Not Everything, join us for an afternoon of paper flower making on Saturday, May 7! It’s a fun and gratifying craft, and from such simple materials – just paper, tape, and wire – you can create the most beautiful blooms.

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Joey Kirkpatrick (American, born 1952) and Flora C. Mace (American, born 1949); Field Daffodils, 2015; Flower, composite, glass, paint, and steel; 26 1/2 x 22 x 8 inches; Photo courtesy of the artists.

I’ll be at the workshop, so I hope to meet you! I’m looking forward to making some paper bouquets for both me AND my mom in Pennsylvania. Let’s hope the flowers survive the plane ride!

During the session, you’ll learn how to create several styles of crepe paper flowers and foliages using traditional crepe, duplex (double-sided) crepe, and European crepe paper. You’ll leave with some knowledge and a lovely paper bouquet in hand!

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Photo courtesy of Laurie Cinotto.

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Photo courtesy of Laurie Cinotto.

Laurie Cinotto, who will lead the workshop, is a local crafter and DIY project designer. She crafts all sorts of things out of paper, like birdcages, notebooks, lanterns, and ornaments, but her area of expertise is paper flower making. You can find out about all the things she makes on her craft blog, LaLaLaurie.com.

Laurie and her husband share their lives with two permanent resident cats and a steady stream of foster kittens. She chronicles the lives of the felines on TheIttyBittyKittyCommittee.com, which many Tacoma locals will be familiar with! In 2014, she published The Itty Bitty Kitty Committee book. Unfortunately, cats aren’t allowed at the Museum’s flower workshop…

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Photo courtesy of Laurie Cinotto.

Laurie’s paper flower making workshop is a great hands-on activity to do with your mom ahead of Mother’s Day or to create a surprise bouquet for your mother on May 8!

Workshop details, including time and cost, are available on the Museum’s calendar. Hope to see you on May 7!

Bonnie Wright is the Curator of Education and Community Engagement at Museum of Glass. A newcomer to the west coast, Bonnie can often be found exploring Tacoma, Seattle, and the region’s natural wonders.

Memories from the Other Side of the Desk

By Max Fosberg, Visitor Services Manager

As my time comes to a close at Museum of Glass (only two more days, but who’s counting?), I have been taking some time to reflect on the past two years here working in the visitor services department. The journey has been exactly that, a journey with peaks and valleys.

But who wants to talk about valleys, low points, the dark ages?

Yeah, neither do I! So I made a list. Yes, the plain old top-something list. These are the top three moments for me working here at Museum of Glass. Ready? Set? GO!!

Moment 3: 2016 Slider Cook-Off

Once I leave the Museum, I plan on every once in a while coming back to check out a new exhibition, see one of my favorite artists in the Hot Shop, or just to simply say hello to old co-workers. However, there will be a day in March every year that you can count on me being at the Museum, and that will be the day of the annual Slider Cook-Off, which has to be one of the coolest, most exciting events in town.

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Slider Cook-Off participant WildFin won the 2016 Grand Prize with their slider.

This past March, Slider took a turn for the best. The burgers were out of this world, The Dusty 45s rocked the Grand Hall, artist John Miller was at the top of his game, and there was fun stuff to do at the event, like get an up-do hairstyle or see how many friends you can get in one picture at the free photo booth. I was working the event, but still had a better time than most events I have attended. As the guest that I will be next year, I’m so excited for this event that I’m considering buying VIP tickets! If you have never checked out Slider Cook-Off, and you like burgers, beer, and rock ‘n’ roll, you need to get a ticket!

Moment 2: Discovering and Meeting Lino Tagliapietra

Lino Tagliapietra, the Maestro of glassblowing. He is the greatest, and to this day, in his 80s, he is still the man on the floor shaping the glass, blowing the glass, and swinging the glass over his head.

Photo by Russell Johnson.

Lino Tagliapietra in the Museum of Glass Hot Shop; Photo by Russell Johnson.

I have had the privilege of watching Lino multiple times over the past two years, and he blows me away every time he steps onto the Hot Shop floor. I have also talked with him personally and helped him here at the Museum, and from that experience I am happy to report that he is incredibly humble and views glassblowing as “just my job.” He is a special, special person and has given so much to the glass art form for over 70 years – he started blowing glass when he was 11! That alone blows my mind and demands respect. Long live the king of glass and I hope I get to watch him for many more years to come.

Moment 1: John Kiley and Lino Tagliapietra in the Hot Shop

When I joined the Museum two years ago, I had no knowledge of glass art. Since then, I’ve had the opportunity to really examine and create an opinion about glass art. I am not an expert to say the least, however, I do know what I like and what I don’t like. Two of my favorite artists came together in the Hot Shop this past February, and I have to admit I “geeked” out over these two.

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Maestro Lino Tagliapietra (left) and Erich Woll (right) assist Visiting Artist John Kiley (center).

First, John Kiley. The spherical forms he makes, with chunks missing and two different color tones, really stand out to me as something from the future. And what can you pair with an emerging star? How about a living legend, the Maestro himself, Lino Tagliapietra. At a mere 81 years young, Lino is the Michael Jordan of glassblowing. He continues to create work year after year and does it with class and veteran savviness (I wrote about him in Moment 2, I know, cop out). This truly was a special week to be at the Museum, to see these two working together.

Well there it is, everyone. The list.

Honestly, the best thing about MOG is the people who work here. There is a wonderful team of passionate and creative people who make sure that this icon of Tacoma continues to educate the public about glass art. As someone who started working at the Museum with little knowledge of glass art, I feel pretty lucky to have had a two-year course in glass from some of the best people in the northwest. I urge you to keep coming down to MOG, and bring everyone you know!

I want to thank everyone who I have had the pleasure of working with and I hope to keep in contact with this group for years to come. Thank you MOG.

Seattleite Goes South for the Spring

Seattleite recently paid a visit to Tacoma to discover what the City of Destiny has to offer residents of its neighbor to the north.

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“Compared to Seattle (especially these days), the pace there feels significantly slower, the streets emptier, the buildings lower,” shares Corinne Whiting, Seattleite contributor.  “Seattleites might not think of Tacoma for a nearby adventure, but traveling just 45 minutes (traffic depending) can prove a refreshing respite from the routine and familiarity of home.”

Whiting took time to explore Museum of Glass, Tacoma Art Museum, Harmon Brewing Co., and Hotel Murano for a well-rounded arts and craft brew South Sound experience.

For more about Seattleite‘s weekend wanderings in Tacoma, click here.

As Seen on TV

By Alex Carr, Communications Manager

This week, Museum of Glass took to Puget Sound television screens to discuss some of the Museum’s April exhibitions and events.

On KING5’s New Day Northwest, Hot Shop Heroes Lead Instructor, Patricia Davidson, sat down with Sergeant First Class Peter Bazo to talk about Healing in Flames, which closes this month.

Watch their segment and plan a visit to see the exhibition, on display through April 24.

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Also on television this week: Curator of Education and Community Engagement, Bonnie Wright.

Bonnie joined Tahoma Audubon Executive Director, Krystal Kyer, on TV Tacoma’s CityLine morning show to discuss the upcoming Mirrored Murrelets event on Thursday, April 21.

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The two organizations are working together to offer visitor an opportunity to learn about art and birds at Museum of Glass during Third Thursday. From 6 to 7:30 pm, learn more about the art, science, and policy surrounding the plight of the marbled murrelet, a sea bird that nests in the forests of the Pacific Coast. Following the panel discussion, take a tour of Joey Kirkpatrick and Flora C. Mace: Every Soil Bears Not Everything, which features an entire gallery devoted to birds. Admission is free!

Watch their CityLine segment here (beginning around the 45 minute mark).

Alex Carr is the Communications Manager at Museum of Glass. When she’s not circulating the Hot Shop floor trying to get the perfect Instagram shot for the Museum, you’ll find her baking at home, running at Green Lake, or exploring Washington’s wineries.

Shelley Muzylowski Allen on Nature, Glass, and Gender

By Hillary Ryan, Director of Marketing and Communications

Nestled in the North Cascades, Shelley Muzylowski Allen welcomed us to her home and studio, earlier this year, to learn more about her and her work. She shared with us a story about the deer that visit her cherry tree and showed us her amazing collection of rocks, many of which find their way into her sculpture. With her relaxed manner and warm smile, it’s easy to see how her personality is reflected in her approachable and beautiful creations. We look forward to welcoming her back to the Hot Shop this April.

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Horses seem to be the focus of your current work. What is your connection to horses?

Horses have been a recurring form in my work since my early paintings and drawings in childhood. I felt very connected to their form and more importantly, our relationship with them and what they have meant to us and our civilization throughout history.

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About 10 years ago, my father gave credence to this relationship when he told me that he had found evidence that our eastern European family name traced back to early cavalry who roamed the Eurasian Steppes on horseback and were among the early domesticators of horses.

Although many members of my family raised horses, I was never as interested in riding them as I was in drawing or painting them. My feeling of connection to them always made me a little uneasy and I have tried to venture away from rendering their form many times.

Since your last residency at Museum of Glass, what have you been up to?

During my last residency at MOG in 2009, I created a new body of work that I titled the Netsuke Pots—a series that would give reverence to commonplace creatures and would be created devoid of color. This body of work opened up new avenues in my creative thought and allowed me to concentrate on different forms of flora and fauna and gesture and incorporate more narrative in the pieces.

I’ve since been developing these ideas, capturing a moment in time, or timelessness, creating tension in the pieces and exhibiting my work as much as I physically can. I’ve been collecting large rocks and using them to dynamically support the glass form and become part of the visual field. The texture and colors of both rock and glass contrast and complement each other—adding to the visual tension and the composition and feeling evoked being very similar to a scene painted in oils.

In 2012, I was invited to Murano to continue making a body of work with Davide Salvadore that we had started at Pilchuck. I had been intrigued and mystified by the horse-headed violins of Mongolia. We explored that concept and created 12 animal-headed instruments. In 2016, we are planning to make another collaborative body of work.

When I’m not in the hot shop…

I discovered aerial yoga and practice this weekly. Doing inversions and hanging from the silks can decompress and balance my spine after standing on concrete and working asymmetrically in the hot shop. Rik and I also like to get outdoors and hike or go to the San Juan islands on our little Boston Whaler. On these trips I’ve often found the rocks that I use in my work.

What precipitates a collaboration with your husband and fellow artist Rik Allen? How do you plan and work together to execute your collaborative pieces?

Although we don’t work in the hot shop together as frequently as we used to, Rik and I collaborate in many ways in our life together. It often comes in the form of dialogue as we discuss each other’s respective work and offer our insights or ideas to each other. We rely on each other’s strengths and find balance in doing this. Rik and I have taught many workshops and really enjoy teaching together. Our demonstrations are often collaborations made in the hot shop to illustrate effective communication and teamwork as part of our teaching curriculum. We spend time talking about the theme and drawing it until we are both satisfied with the idea and design.

What do you think are the challenges for women working in glass?

Working with glass, especially hot glass requires extreme focus, stamina and perseverance. You have to be willing to work extremely hard and work because you love the medium and not because you have certain expectations of the end result. The learning curve is steep which may deter a number of people of both genders.

The glass world largely in the past was male dominated. I’ve heard from a few women that this held them back from pursuing a career with hot glass. I don’t believe that this is the current situation in this country. The opportunities are out there for both men and women. Men generally have a stronger physical build so in some specific cases that may be the reason for their hiring. Staying healthy and in good physical shape can help for both genders in working with this medium. When I went to Murano, many of the maestros had never seen a woman working at her own bench before.  I was nervous about what their reaction might be but I was treated very well and with respect for my physical space and my work.

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Shelley Muzylowski Allen will be the Visiting Artist in the MOG Hot Shop from April 6 – 10, 2016 through Fuel Their Fire IV. Learn more about her work at muzylowski.com.