Category Archives: Exhibitions

Behind the Gray Walls: Installing Into the Deep

By Katie Buckingham, Assistant Curator

Most of my job is a lot like every other office job. My desk is in a cubicle, and I usually spend my days attending meetings and hopping between Word, Excel, and Microsoft Office. But, one of my favorite parts of my job is when I get to escape my desk and step behind our gray temporary walls to install the art in our exhibitions.

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Working on one of our newest exhibitions, Into the Deep, is one of my favorite projects so far – partially because the work in the exhibition presented some interesting challenges, and partially (ok, mostly) because it is a show I’ve been working on curating for almost two years. It was an amazing experience to finally meet artwork I had only seen in photos and to stand in 3D space that I had only been visualizing on paper.

One of my curatorial goals was to give visitors a sense of the diverse number of ways you can use glass to make art. To fulfill this goal I looked for artwork that was as different as possible from the hand-sculpted vase or bowl many you probably have at home. This goal had a fun side-effect for me – several of the pieces in the exhibition presented our Curatorial team with some unique installation challenges.

Blue Dome, by Seattle-based artist Kait Rhoads, is a giant (almost 9-foot tall) dome covered with individual blue glass scales. Visitors are encouraged to stand inside the dome and look up to feel like they are standing underwater.

Kait Rhoads (American, born 1995). Blue Dome, 1995. Single-strength plate glass, cut, drilled and fired with glass enamels; Courtesy of the artist.

Kait Rhoads (American, born 1995). Blue Dome, 1995. Single-strength plate glass, cut, drilled and fired with glass enamels; Courtesy of the artist.

Fortunately, we didn’t have to attach each of the scales individually. The dome structure is made from a sturdy, steel frame. Kait Rhoads created a system where sheets of scales (attached individually to chicken wire) could be hung in sections across the metal frame.

Artist Kait Rhoads (in center of dome) works with MOG art handler Elizabeth Mauro to connect a section of glass scales to the steel frame. On the left of the frame, you can see small tags that are used to mark the connection points for the sections of scales.

Artist Kait Rhoads (in center of dome) works with MOG art handler Elizabeth Mauro to connect a section of glass scales to the steel frame. On the left of the frame, you can see small tags that are used to mark the connection points for the sections of scales.

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Art installation is definitely a team effort. Here, Rebecca Engelhardt (MOG’s Exhibition/Collections Manager) and Kait Rhoads hold a section of scales on the outside of the dome, while art handler Elizabeth Mauro secures the section to the frame with wire.

It took a team of 4 people almost 6 hours to install Blue Dome.

It took a team of four people almost six hours to install Blue Dome.

Two Seas, by Shayna Leib is another piece which took a whole team to hang on the wall. Leib is an avid scuba diver, and each of the frames in this piece represent species of coral, sea grass, or anemone seen through the lens of her underwater camera. Each of the frames is teeming with life, made from fragile, individually-sculpted pieces of glass.

Shayna Leib (Americna, born 1975). Two Seas, 2012. Glass, silver leaf and resin; Courtesy of the artist. Photo by Eric Tadsen.

Shayna Leib (Americna, born 1975). Two Seas, 2012. Glass, silver leaf and resin; Courtesy of the artist. Photo by Eric Tadsen.

Each of the picture frames arrived carefully packed in individual boxes, which were shipped together in a large, padded wooden crate. We unpacked and cleaned each piece of glass, using Q-Tips, glass cleaner, and canned air to dust the crevices between each glass tentacle.

A large table is set up in the galleries so each piece can be cleaned and prepared to hang on the wall.

A large table is set up in the galleries so each piece can be cleaned and prepared to hang on the wall.

Parts of Two Seas were so detailed that we had to use Q-Tips to make sure all of the surfaces were sparkly and clean. Leib uses tweezers to set each piece of glass individually into resin, and in doing so creates the effect of the individually drifting tentacles of anemones.

Parts of Two Seas were so detailed that we had to use Q-Tips to make sure all of the surfaces were sparkly and clean. Leib uses tweezers to set each piece of glass individually into resin, and in doing so creates the effect of the individually drifting tentacles of anemones.

Often, artists will provide a template along with the artwork, so that we can hang a piece on the wall to their specifications. This is especially important for a piece like Two Seas, where the frames have to hang in a grid, but close enough together so that some of the glass tentacles from adjacent frames have the appearance of overlapping with each other.

MOG art handler Elizabeth Mauro marks the template for on the wall. By hanging the template on the wall using a level, she is able to push a nail through the paper template, leaving a mark on the wall where each mount needs to be attached.

MOG art handler Elizabeth Mauro marks the template for on the wall. By hanging the template on the wall using a level, she is able to push a nail through the paper template, leaving a mark on the wall where each mount needs to be attached.

Each of the framed glass pieces is attached to the wall using a french cleat. A french cleat is made from two pieces of wood, cut at a corresponding angle. One half of the cleat is attached to the wall, and the other to the top of the piece of artwork (see diagram below). The wood is cut at a steep angle, which act like two puzzle pieces, locking together to secure the artwork to the wall.

The diagonal cut in a French cleat creates two puzzle pieces which lock together to secure the artwork on the wall.

The diagonal cut in a french cleat creates two puzzle pieces which lock together to secure the artwork on the wall.

Elizabeth attaches the French cleat for piece #3 to the wall, and double-checks that it is level. The small pieces of blue tape are points marked from the template where the other French cleats will be attached.

Elizabeth attaches the french cleat for piece #3 to the wall, and double-checks that it is level. The small pieces of blue tape are points marked from the template where the other French cleats will be attached.

After all of the french cleats are attached to the wall, we can hang each of the frames. Here, Elizabeth is wearing gloves to keep the glass clean.

After all of the french cleats are attached to the wall, we can hang each of the frames. Here, Elizabeth is wearing gloves to keep the glass clean.

Halfway finished! Two Seas is made of 13 framed glass compositions, which are each hung individually to the wall. Each frame is assigned a unique number, so we know which frame goes where, as well as which french cleat to use.

Halfway finished! Two Seas is made of 13 framed glass compositions, which are each hung individually to the wall. Each frame is assigned a unique number, so we know which frame goes where, as well as which french cleat to use.

Now complete, Two Seas is featured on the title wall of Into the Deep.

Now complete, Two Seas is featured on the title wall of Into the Deep.

These two pieces are just the tip of the iceberg (or should I say reef). I hope you can come down to Museum of Glass and dive on into the rest of the exhibition. Into the Deep is open through September 2017. Check out our calendar at http://museumofglass.org/event-calendar to learn more about events and activities related to the exhibition.

Katie Buckingham is the Assistant Curator at Museum of Glass. She is an alumnus of Whitman College (BA) and University of Washington (MA). In her life outside of the Museum she is outside as much as possible, wearing skis as often as she does hiking boots.   

Take Home the Perfect Into the Deep Souvenir

This weekend, Into the Deep opens at Museum of Glass. Celebrate the Museum’s new exhibition with a marine-themed token to remind you of your visit!

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For those who want to learn more about marine life, pick up a copy of Ocean: A Photicular Book for $25.95. Readers of all ages will enjoy the book’s Photicular technology, which transforms each photo into a moving 3-D image.

Our creative visitors should check out our selection of coloring and origami books, including Mosaic Art, featuring sea creatures, for $14.95. Suggestions: pair this with a set of Chihuly Workshop coloring pencils! You’ll even find a piece by Dale Chihuly in Into the Deep.

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Dale Chihuly (American, born 1941). Persian Sea Forms, 1988. Blown glass. 67 x 120 inches (170.2 x 304.8 cm). Collection of Museum of Glass, Tacoma, Washington, gift of George F. Russell, Jr. Photo by Terry Rishel.

And of course there is plenty of glass available for purchase in the Museum of Glass Store. Add a little aquatic décor to your home with the Store’s variety of Global Village Glass Studio creatures. Choose from mini fish and hermit crabs for $10 or the larger dolphins for $30.

Become a Museum of Glass member and save 10% every time you shop at the Museum Store. You’ll also enjoy extra seasonal discounts throughout the year!

#AskACurator

On September 14, Museum of Glass participated in #AskACurator for the second year. #AskACurator invites museums throughout the world to answer questions from the public on social media. This year, Into the Deep curator Katie Buckingham took over Museum of Glass’ Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to field questions from curious online fans.

14290044_10154296246050932_4411285487688168692_oHere are some of the questions she was asked and the answers she gave!

Q: What temp does glass melt along the color spectrum, Curator?

A: The melting point of a specific color of glass is specific to the brand of glass because it is specific to the exact chemical composition. Even clear glass melts at a variety of temperatures. The clear batch we use at MOG, called Spectrum 2.0, begins to soften at 1236*F and melts at 2200*F. Clear borosilicate glass (like Pyrex) glass melts at 3000*F because the chemical recipe includes the metal oxide boron trioxide. When glass artists purchase colors to use in their projects, each bar has a melting co-efficient (COE) that describes its specific melting temperature.

Q: How can you tell if an exhibition is curated well or not?

A: In my opinion, an exhibition should use the art/objects to tell a story.

Q: How do you choose which wall colors to put behind exhibitions? Especially with clear or transparent glass.

A: We have a fabulous Exhibition Designer who selects the wall color for our exhibits. She considers the mood of the show and also what makes the artwork look the best. Sometimes our artists have a specific color in mind, too. There are all sorts of tricks for clear glass – it depends on how much you want the piece to reflect the colors around it.

A: If there was one artist you could be a curator for, past or present, who would that be and why?

Q: Another hard question! Given that I’m surrounded by sea life lately, I would have loved to curate for Leopold or Rudolph Blaschka. They were a father-and-son team who created these amazing (and very scientifically accurate) glass models of sea life and plants. Our friends at Corning Museum of Glass have a great exhibit of their work. Check it out online: http://m.cmog.org/collection/exhibitions/blaschka.

Q: What is the proper way to approach a gallery with your glass art?

A: If you’re preparing a portfolio to present to a gallery, it’s helpful to include information about your work (an artist statement, biography and resume), as well as high-res images of your work with complete credit information.

Q: Is there a certain piece or pieces you think defines the collection at MOG?

A: It’s hard to choose just one! The first piece that comes in mind is Landscape by Beth Lipman and Ingalena Klennel. It’s monumental in scale (13 x 36 x 21 feet) and is made from over 400 pieces of glass. The artists collaborated on the piece during a series of residencies at MOG. It’s a beautiful piece, and a fantastic example of pushing the medium of glass to its limits by experimenting and collaborating.

Beth Lipman (American, born 1971) and Ingalena Klenell (Swedish, born 1949). Landscape (detail), 2008-2010. Kiln-formed glass; Collection of Museum of Glass, Tacoma, Washington, gift of the artists. Photo by Russell Johnson and Jeff Curtis.

Beth Lipman (American, born 1971) and Ingalena Klenell (Swedish, born 1949). Landscape (detail), 2008-2010. Kiln-formed glass; Collection of Museum of Glass, Tacoma, Washington, gift of the artists. Photo by Russell Johnson and Jeff Curtis.

Q: How do you choose the pieces for a show like Into the Deep? Are they all pieces you already have in your collection?

A: Great question! Into the Deep started with a “Big Idea” – kind of like a thesis statement in a written paper. Our Big Idea is: “Glass artists are inspired by the ocean. They use the unique properties of glass to capture the way light water with water, as well as the movements and textures of marine life.” We then for pieces that illustrated our Big Idea. Some of the artwork is part of MOG’s collection. Other pieces, like Treasure-trove, were made in our Hot Shop.

Kelly O’Dell (American, born 1973) and Raven Skyriver (American, born 1982); Treasure-trove, 2016; Blown and sculpted glass; 12 x 16 x 13 inches (30.5 x 40.6 x 33 cm); Courtesy of the artists; Photo by Kp Studios.

Kelly O’Dell (American, born 1973) and Raven Skyriver (American, born 1982); Treasure-trove, 2016; Blown and sculpted glass; 12 x 16 x 13 inches (30.5 x 40.6 x 33 cm); Courtesy of the artists; Photo by Kp Studios.

Q: What’s your personal mission as a curator?

A: I would love people to leave an exhibition excited about art and inspired to make something creative of their own.

Plan a visit to see Into the Deep at Museum of Glass, open September 24, 2016, through September 2017.

Add “Every Soil Bears Not Everything” to Your Home

By Haley Judson, Marketing and Communications Intern

No trip to Museum of Glass is complete without browsing the gift shop. Celebrate the final weeks of the Museum’s exhibition Joey Kirkpatrick and Flora C. Mace: Every Soil Bears Not Everything with a nature-themed token to remind you of your visit.

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For those who want to learn more about the exhibition, open through September 6, and other works created by these two Studio Glass artists, pick up a copy of the Joey Kirkpatrick and Flora C. Mace catalogue for $55. Readers will enjoy the book’s discussion of their pieces that reflect the natural world, such as the artists’ Botanicals series.

Visitors should also check out the Museum Store’s selection of fruit that showcases vibrant colors seen in the exhibition. Want to add some fruit to your home? The yellow apple is $90 and the red apple is $65. Both are pictured above.

Although the Botanicals portion of the exhibition has closed, visitors are still treated to the artists’ floral designs found on their Alphabet Cylinders. Feeling the flower power? Check out the Store’s selection of glass flowers for your home. Our flowers come in all shapes and sizes, but I think this yellow flower, pictured above, in particular will remind you why Kirkpatrick and Mace are inspired by nature. These flowers are $50 each. Smaller flower sets are available in-store and online for $30.

Lastly, birds also play a prominent role in the exhibition. Add a little nature décor to your home with the Store’s variety of Global Village Glass Studio creatures. Choose from mini birds for $10 and lady bugs for $1.

Become a Museum of Glass member and save 10% every time you shop at the Museum Store. You’ll also enjoy extra seasonal discounts throughout the year!

Making Treasure-trove

By Katie Phelps, Curatorial Assistant and Visiting Artist Coordinator

Our upcoming exhibition Into the Deep takes a look at glass artists who are inspired by the ocean. Glass is an incredible medium, and it allows artists to capture the effects of being underwater better than any other artistic medium.

Last November, artists Kelly O’Dell and Raven Skyriver collaborated on a series of barnacle-encrusted shells, which will be featured in the exhibition, in the Museum of Glass Hot Shop. The complex process is a great example how versatile the medium of glass can be.

The stripes on the clamshell begin as flattened pieces of cane (colored glass) which are heated until they are hot enough to stick together. Here, Nick Davis, MOG’s Hot Shop Tech, is squeezing the hot pieces of cane together so they form a flat panel.

The stripes on the clamshell begin as flattened pieces of cane (colored glass) which are heated until they are hot enough to stick together. Here, Nick Davis, MOG’s Hot Shop Tech, is squeezing the hot pieces of cane together so they form a flat panel.

Next, artist Raven Skyriver picks up the stripes of cane using a piece of hot, clear glass shaped like a plunger. The hot clear glass sticks to the flat panel of cane, and forms a half dome shape. The clear appendage will be used to shape the flat stripes of color into a bubble.

Next, artist Raven Skyriver picks up the stripes of cane using a piece of hot, clear glass shaped like a plunger. The hot clear glass sticks to the flat panel of cane, and forms a half dome shape. The clear appendage will be used to shape the flat stripes of color into a bubble.

After the flattened cane is picked up onto the plunger, Skyriver uses a pair of shears to trim away the excess glass along the edge of the circle created by the plunger, sealing it into a clear glass dome with a colorful, striped base.

After the flattened cane is picked up onto the plunger, Skyriver uses a pair of shears to trim away the excess glass along the edge of the circle created by the plunger, sealing it into a clear glass dome with a colorful, striped base.

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The newly-formed dome is heated in the glory hole, and then rolled across a steel table called a marver to create a smooth bubble that is half clear glass, and half colored cane stripes.

The newly-formed dome is heated in the glory hole, and then rolled across a steel table, called a marver,  to create a smooth bubble that is half clear glass, and half colored cane stripes.

In order to start making the clam shape, the colored stripes need to be removed from their clear glass holder. The stripe canes are pinched inward to form their own bubble, and then connected to another blowpipe, so that they can be separated from the clear glass, and blown into a clamshell shape.

In order to start making the clam shape, the colored stripes need to be removed from their clear glass holder. The stripe canes are pinched inward to form their own bubble, and then connected to another blowpipe, so that they can be separated from the clear glass, and blown into a clamshell shape.

Tah-dah! After about 45 minutes of adding more clear molten glass, inflating the bubble by breathing into the blowpipe, and carefully sculpting the shape with tools, the bubble is beginning to look more like a clamshell. You can see the stripes from the cane, which have stretched and curved as the glass has been shaped.

Tah-dah! After about 45 minutes of adding more clear molten glass, inflating the bubble by exhaling into the blowpipe, and carefully sculpting the shape with tools, the bubble is beginning to look more like a clamshell. You can see the stripes from the cane, which have stretched and curved as the glass has been shaped.

Hot Shop Team member Sarah Gilbert transfers the piece from the bench, where the artists are working, to the gloryhole for it to be heated back up to above 900 degrees Fahrenheit. This is important to keep the glass from cooling too quickly and cracking.

Hot Shop Team member Sarah Gilbert transfers the piece from the bench, where the artists are working, to the gloryhole for it to be heated back up to above 900 degrees Fahrenheit. This is important to keep the glass from cooling too quickly and cracking.

After the artists are satisfied with the shape of the clamshell, it is time to attach the barnacles. These fabulous acorn barnacles are also made of glass. They were created ahead of time by Kelly O’Dell, and in then placed in a furnace in the Hot Shop called the garage – named because pieces are heated to 900 degrees and “parked” at that temperature until they are ready to be used.

After the artists are satisfied with the shape of the clamshell, it is time to attach the barnacles. These fabulous acorn barnacles are also made of glass. They were created ahead of time by Kelly O’Dell, and in then placed in a furnace in the Hot Shop calls the garage – named because pieces are heated to 900 degrees and “parked” at that temperature until they are ready to be used.

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Just before the barnacles are placed on the clamshell, they are loaded onto a pastorale (a flat, metal tray) and heated in the gloryhole to make them the same temperature as the shell.

Kelly O’Dell attaches a heated barnacle to the clamshell using a pair of tweezers. A torch is being used to keep the rest of the glass at the same temperature. Kelly also has a torch which she is using to heat the bottom of the barnacle so the hot glass can stick to the surface of the clamshell.

Kelly O’Dell attaches a heated barnacle to the clamshell using a pair of tweezers. A torch is being used to keep the rest of the glass at the same temperature. Kelly also has a torch which she is using to heat the bottom of the barnacle so the hot glass can stick to the surface of the clamshell.

After the barnacles are applied the whole piece is heated back up in the gloryhole.

After the barnacles are applied, the whole piece is heated back up in the gloryhole.

Now that all of the barnacles have been placed on the shell, the piece is complete. Water is dripped onto the end of the piece, which causes a crack to form where the piece meets the punty (the metal rod it is connected to) and allows the piece to be broken off of the pipe.

Now that all of the barnacles have been placed on the shell, the piece is complete. Water is dripped onto the end of the piece, which causes a crack to form where the piece meets the punty (the metal rod it is connected to) and allows the piece to be broken off of the pipe.

Success! The finished piece is rushed to an annealer, so that it can be cooled slowly overnight to room temperature.

Success! The finished piece is rushed to an annealer, so that it can be cooled slowly overnight to room temperature.

Kelly O’Dell (American, born 1973) and Raven Skyriver (American, born 1982); Treasure-trove, 2016; Blown and sculpted glass; 12 x 16 x 13 inches (30.5 x 40.6 x 33 cm); Courtesy of the artists; Photo by Kp Studios.

After the piece is completely cooled, it is coldworked to add texture to the surface of the shell, and a mount is made. Photo credit: Kelly O’Dell (American, born 1973) and Raven Skyriver (American, born 1982); Treasure-trove, 2016; Blown and sculpted glass; 12 x 16 x 13 inches (30.5 x 40.6 x 33 cm); Courtesy of the artists; Photo by Kp Studios.

The finished piece, Treasure-trove, will be one of the many ocean-inspired pieces featured in Into the Deep. The exhibition opens September 24, 2016. Come check it out!

Thanks to Alex Grümmer for the awesome Hot Shop photos!

Katie Phelps is the Curatorial Assistant/Visiting Artist Coordinator at Museum of Glass. She is an alumnus of Whitman College (BA) and University of Washington (MA). In her life outside of the Museum she is outside as much as possible, wearing skis as often as she does hiking boots.