Pride month may be over, but for the month of July, Glass Break will be highlighting LGBTQ+ artists ALL MONTH LONG. If you don’t know what Glass Break is, here’s a little background. Glass Break is a new video series exploring topics related to all things glass. This series includes interviews with the MOG Hot Shop Team discussing their experience working with the featured Visiting Artists, past clips of live glassblowing, and much more.
This week MOG’s own Sarah Gilbert will be featured with some throwback footage from her most recent residency in the Hot Shop.
Tune in Friday, July 10 at 1pm and enjoy a Glass Break with MOG!
About the artist: Sarah Gilbert received her BFA from the Rochester Institute of Technology in 2005. Utilizing glass to communicate a narrative, Gilbert catalogs and documents the stories of daily life. Her work has been shown around the world and she was recently a Hauberg Fellow at Pilchuck Glass School. Gilbert was also chosen as part of Young Glass, the competitively juried international exhibition featuring the work of emerging artists working in glass, held once a decade at Glasmuseet Ebeltoft in Denmark.
In the Museum of Glass Hot Shop Heroes: Healing with Fire glassmaking classes, I’ve observed that there are a lot of life lessons in glassblowing. For example, always keep the glass turning and don’t let it get off center. If you keep turning when you are off center, you will get horribly out of shape! Let go of things that don’t go right—just make another one. Sometimes you just have to work with what you get. You can shape things when they are ready, but if they are not, you might break something if you force it. And, make gravity your friend—sound advice for any profession.
I suppose, what we veterans are doing in the Hot Shop Heroes program is art therapy. For me, it is making a difference. It’s been a long time since I’ve looked forward to anything. The civilian world is just different than the military world. I’ve been out for a while and it’s good to be around people who speak the same language again. I am genuinely happy to see everyone at the start of each Hot Shop Heroes session, and I am deeply disappointed if I miss one. We are working on teams again. We look out for each other by shielding with paddles, opening the furnace doors, and watching each other’s sculptures progress. Nothing beats seeing the genuine joy in someone’s eyes when they blow cap a bubble for the first time.
In my day job, I am a marine biologist at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium (I used the GI Bill and Army College fund to pay for college). I designed and curated the jellyfish exhibition, which exemplifies jellyfish as living art. The exhibit is filled with jellyfish, paintings, sculpture, and music. Glass is of course a natural fit. I’ve been adding pieces we have made in class inside of my jellyfish displays.
As I progress, I hope to add some amazing substrates for deep-sea creatures to live on—stay tuned. The thing I love most about working with glass is that with enough practice you can make anything you want. I love that freedom.
People sometimes say, “Thank you for your service.” I don’t know how to respond to that… but I can now sincerely say to the Museum of Glass Hot Shop Heroes program, “Thank you for making it worth it.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Every year, Museum of Glass invites artists to apply for a Visiting Artist Residency in the Museum of Glass Hot Shop. These residencies allow artists to explore new techniques or continue a current series with the assistance of the Museum’s Hot Shop Team.
Approximately four applicants receive residencies every year, and this year Simone Fezer from Stuttgart, Germany, is one of MOG’s Application Visiting Artists.
MOG caught up with Fezer before her residency this week.
I applied for a Visiting Artist Residency at Museum of Glass because…
I love traveling and working with people all over the world because that’s how you really get to enter the places you’re going to. Plus, of course, it’s a great opportunity! To be given the chance to work with a larger and skilled team is a luxury, and allows me to develop my work without the economic pressure of having to succeed at all costs.
The thing I enjoy most about working in glass is…
The different levels. I love making glass, love the physical process and the challenge, love being in the moment, dancing…Then I love the many facets of glass, its different aspects: reflecting, altering, breaking and transmitting light, its fragility and translucency, its fluidity and rigidity, its many implications as a vessel, a lense, a window, a container…
When I am not working, I am…
If I wasn’t working with glass, I would work with…
Iron and steel, textiles and wood. As I actually am.
During my residency, I plan to…
Explore and have fun, try out things, push the boundaries…
Plan a visit to Museum of Glass to see Visiting Artist Simone Fezer working in the Hot Shop from October 5 through 9, or watch her residency online.
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!
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.
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!