The Maestro returns to the Museum of Glass Hot Shop, October 26 through 28, for his third Visiting Artist Residency of the year! We caught up with him before he and his team arrive in the Hot Shop next week.
This is your third residency at Museum of Glass this year! Our visitors really enjoy seeing you work in the Hot Shop. What do you enjoy most about working at Museum of Glass?
What I really like about working at MOG is blowing glass with the Team in the Hot Shop!
How does the atmosphere of the hot shop shape your work?
What really shaped my way of working is the freedom that you can feel in the hot shop.
What advice do you have for aspiring glass artists?
I would love to tell them just three words: freedom, courage, and…a dash of luck!
Now for some fun questions. What is the first thing you do when you travel back to Italy?
The first thing I do when I go back to Murano is eat a plate of spaghetti with Italian broccolini. So good!
Which place has the best coffee – Seattle or Murano?
I like both, but at the moment I am missing the Murano one!
What is your favorite meal to cook for family and friends?
I love making sea snail soup. I like soup (sopa in the Venice dialect).
Plan a visit to Museum of Glass to see Visiting Artist Lino Tagliapietra working in the Hot Shop from October 26 through 28, or watch his residency online.
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!
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.
Here 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.
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.
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.