Monthly Archives: July 2016

Lino Boats – A Rare Treat

By Greg Owen, Manager of Audience Engagement and Hot Shop Heroes 

Muranese Maestro Vetario (glass master) Lino Tagliapietra returns to the Museum of Glass Hot Shop this week with a very special project: boats. For those of you that are familiar with the way Lino usually works in our Hot Shop—jumping from piece to piece, series to series, taking time to craft small sake glasses or bowls along the way—watching the boats, from his Endeavor series, being made may seem quite different.

_R8J5806 - gondola web

Russell Johnson Photographer, Lino Tagliapietra Inc.

Russell Johnson Photographer, Lino Tagliapietra Inc.

Russell Johnson Photographer, Lino Tagliapietra Inc.

Lino is an incredibly hard worker. He is always the last one to leave the floor for lunch, sometimes skipping the meal all together and subsisting on a few slices of fruit, and maybe a few slices of Mortadella. Or, on the other extreme, he may decide to stop blowing and cook lunch for his entire team, which happened last year when he cooked a huge and delicious paella for the entire Hot Shop Team. It was magnifico!

Lino Cooking

Beyond the accumulated knowledge of the chef, paella is dependent on succulent, fresh seafood to be successful. This is where the boats come in. Lino’s home is in Murano, Italy, which is an island off the coast of Venice in the Venetian Lagoon. While the central islands that make up the heart of historical Venice are connected to mainland Italy by a rail and auto causeway, life in Murano can best be described by its relationship to the sea, and to glass.


Lino has said that his Dinosaur series was partially inspired by the marine life of canals and lagoon, which is readily apparent in the massive yet gracefully balanced forms. His boats are a more literal translation, but not necessarily of the familiar Venetian gondolas that you might imagine. Lino spoke with curator Annegreth Nill about the Endeavor series in The Art of Lino Tagliapietra: Concerto in Glass at Columbus Museum of Art in 2003.

“I had the idea to do boats for many years. I seriously started making them in 1995. The shape is very organic. I especially liked the boats designed by the Vikings. I also like many things about the canoe, not the canoe of the native North Americans, but of the people of the Amazon. (Such as Jeff Bezos, ed.) It has a very simple shape and a very long point.”

Russell Johnson Photographer, Lino Tagliapietra Inc.

Russell Johnson Photographer, Lino Tagliapietra Inc.

If you have never had the opportunity to see Lino creating boats from the Endeavor series, come down to Museum of Glass this weekend, July 30-31. The Museum will be open at 9 am on Saturday for members and 10 am for the general public. The Museum will open to everyone at 9 am on Sunday.

Greg Owen is the Manager of Audience Engagement and Hot Shop Heroes at Museum of Glass. Greg can be seen working the mic as the Hot Shop studio emcee, assisting Visiting Artists, and teaching soldiers how to blow glass during Hot Shop Heroes: Healing with Fire classes. 

Museum of Glass Offers Free Admission to Active-Duty Military and their Families!

By Bonnie Wright, Curator of Education and Community Engagement

Blue Star Museums

Blue Star Museums is a national appreciation program, organized by the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families, the Department of Defense, and over 2,000 museums across the country, instituted to thank our military families for their service and to share with them America’s museums.

Since 2010, Blue Star Museums have offered FREE admission to the nation’s active-duty military personnel and their families, including National Guard and Reserve, from Memorial Day through Labor Day.

Tacoma museums, including Museum of Glass, are once again offering free admission as part of the program this summer.

Participating Tacoma museums:

Buffalo Soldiers Museum

Children’s Museum of Tacoma

Foss Waterway Seaport

Job Carr Cabin Museum

Museum of Glass

Tacoma Art Museum

Washington State Historical Society

This is a great opportunity for military families to experience exhibitions, artist demonstrations, family days, and hands-on crafts.

The complete list of museums participating is available at ID is required to receive free admission.

Thank you for your service!

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.

Five Minutes with Karen Willenbrink-Johnsen

Visiting Artist Karen Willenbrink-Johnsen has often been inspired by the natural world, finding her creative spark through traveling, observing animals, and exploring the outdoors.

MOG caught up with the Visiting Artist ahead of her residency to ask a few questions about the inspiration behind her work and what she is looking forward to this week.

Karen Willenbrink-Johnsen working; Photo by Russell Johnson.

Karen Willenbrink-Johnsen working; Photo by Russell Johnson.

My favorite memory of exploring the outdoors is…

Well, any animal interaction puts me in “awe.” One event that stands out..My friend and I thought it would be great to take a mountain hike in April. After hours of pushing through the snow, we gave up the idea of making it to the top, so instead we climbed a boulder to catch some sun. While we were sitting there overlooking a snow covered meadow, a family of wolverines, two adults and two youngsters, came out and took turns sliding down the slope! Unforgettable and truly amazing!

I am inspired most by…

Besides kindness? And people who treat other people with dignity? And folks who stand up against hate? Other than that, natural history, rocks, plants, and animals. I can’t get over the glory of the natural works.

Karen Willenbrink-Johnsen; Peacock, 2015; Blown glass and steel; 26 x 35 x 16 inches; Photo by KP Studio.

Karen Willenbrink-Johnsen; Peacock, 2015; Blown glass and steel; 26 x 35 x 16 inches; Photo by KP Studio.

Collaborating with other artists has taught me…

To stay open. Be a sponge and soak up as much as I can.

If I could give my younger self one piece of advice about working with glass, it would be…

We all have our own path, trust in it. Live for your spirit. It is the only true wealth. Love life and live passionately.

During my residency, I am most looking forward to…

Sharing a vision, working with great people, a watching audience, a great shop, creating what I am passionate about!! HAPPY HAPPY JOY JOY HAPPY JOY HAPPY JOY JOY JOY!

Plan a visit to Museum of Glass to see Visiting Artist Karen Willenbrink-Johnsen working from July 13 through 17, or watch her residency online.

Five Minutes with Claire Cowie

Inspired by man-made cairns found in the great outdoors, artist Claire Cowie has been creating sculptures, based on these landmarks, out of papier-mâché, carved foam, urethane resin, wood, and more. During her Visiting Artist Residency at Museum of Glass, she plans to continue this series of cairns by incorporating glass into her sculptures.

Take five minutes to learn a little more about our Visiting Artist and what she hopes to accomplish at Museum of Glass!

I began making sculptures based on cairns…

After a family reunion trip to Kiawah Island, SC, a few years ago. My family has always hiked and my parents are great discoverers of all kinds of landmarks in the natural world. I have been thinking about using cairns as a psychological marker as well as a locator of pathways.

When I need inspiration for my work I…

Look to my sketchbooks. My biggest problem is really more about focusing and choosing what to resolve. I usually have too many scattered thoughts and I’m so interested in process that my challenges are with resolution and editing rather than inspiration.

My favorite material to work with is…

So many it’s hard to pick a favorite! Nothing beats pencils, pens, and paper. But I also really love learning about new materials. Anything that gets my hands dirty.

During my Museum of Glass residency I hope to…

Build on what I recently worked on at Pilchuck Glass School. I’d like to make some pieces that use color, texture, and asymmetry. These will be elements in mixed-media sculptures that I’ll continue to develop in the up-coming year. I have also been making some glass pieces based on plant dissections, and I’d love to see how some of those would be interpreted in this situation. I recently got to be an artist-in-residence in the Nemhauser Biology Lab at the University of Washington and I like the similarity of the fish-out-of-water state that both residencies provides as well as the notion of translating concepts through another person.

When I’m not working, I am…

Biking, hiking, camping, swimming in Lake Washington, reading, and crafting with my daughter.

Plan a visit to Museum of Glass to see Visiting Artist Claire Cowie working from June 29 through July 3, or watch her residency online.