Tacoma Shares the Spotlight with Florence, Paris, and New York City

Cone newsletter

Forbes Travel Guide has listed the City of Destiny as one of the top places in the world to see and experience art alongside cities such as Santa Fe, Bangkok, Florence, Paris, and New York City. It’s no secret that Tacoma has a plethora of quality museums, and Museum of Glass is proud to be part of this cultural community.

“Dale Chihuly fans should make the trip to the distinctive stainless-steel dome that houses Tacoma’s Museum of Glass. Don’t miss the Chihuly Bridge of Glass, a 500-foot steel-and-glass pedestrian bridge with installations that leads from the MOG’s rooftop to the downtown museum district.”

Read the entire Forbes Travel Guide article here.

Photo courtesy of Museum of Glass.

Shirley Klinghoffer – CRT Revisited Q&A with Mary Ann Wasil

In conjunction with Shirley Klinghoffer: CRT Revisited, an exhibition inspired by hospital forms used to support women’s bodies during radiation therapy, artist Shirley Klinghoffer has invited others who have gone through cancer treatment to share their stories about the “healing objects” that accompanied them on their journey. Klinghoffer, who is a breast cancer survivor, shared her storyand now another survivor, Mary Ann Wasil, has shared her own.

Describe your healing object?

My healing object is a tiny pink hand-knotted Rosary.wasil

Why is it important to you?

My son Eddy made it for me when he was in high school; he is now 21 years old.

Do you have any other stories which you would like to share?

During my eleven-year dance with breast cancer I have always taken great comfort in prayer, especially the Rosary. I am Roman Catholic and have always felt a deep connection with Mary, the mother of Jesus. This brave young woman was chosen by God to give birth to our Savior. Whoa. Not for the faint of heart.

 (It should be noted that when I was a child I actually used to thank God that I was NOT Mary, grateful to Him for choosing her and not me, because I knew I would not have been up to such a daunting task.)

The Rosary is a Scripture-based prayer. You pray the Hail Mary a total of 53 times (along with a handful of Our Fathers, a Glory Be or two – or six, and a Hail Holy Queen for good measure) while reflecting upon the great mysteries of the Catholic faith. Traditionally, specific Mysteries are prayed on specific days of the week during specific times of the Liturgical Calendar.

Frankly, I find it far too confusing – and, well, um, specific.

I love to pray. I “specifically” love to pray the “Hail Mary.”  (That’s me being witty…please forgive me.)

I don’t count sheep, I say the Rosary. I often drive in silence, and say the Rosary. I incorporate the Rosary into my meditation practice. When I was training for the NYC Marathon several years ago, yep, you guessed it, my running partners were a fairly even mix of The Beatles and the Rosary.

It’s my default, my “go-to”…it’s my place of peace, it’s, well, it’s just mine. I love it.

All three of my children know how much the Rosary means to me, so when my son made this delicate little Rosary with his own two hands, he knew how much I would cherish it. I am never without it.

I carry it in my purse or my pocket, even in my hand during my routine MRIs and scans while being treated for stage four metastatic breast cancer these last four years.

I don’t need the Rosary to pray the Rosary. But having the Rosary my son made with me at all times, well, it is, indeed, my most beloved healing object.

Do you have a story to share? Download the submission form and instructions here.


Gabe Feenan: Home Shop Advantage

By Serena Berry, Audio/Visual Department

Often found dancing around the Hotshop while wailing along to ‘80s power ballads a member of our glassblowing team, Gabe Feenan, was last week’s Visiting Artist. The self-proclaimed jokester shifted focus during the week from creating pieces for the MOG’s wide breadth of artists to creating his own work.

1According to Feenan, he happened upon glass art as a profession, but after 18 years it’s plain to see that he hasn’t taken his passion for granted. As a member for our team for the last 12 years, Feenan’s had a hand in creating pieces with world-class glassblowers such as Dante Marioni and Lino Tagliapietra. He’s a guy that likes to work hard while always continuing to be a student of his craft.


As a continuation of his previous body of work, Center of Gravity, Feenan created modern compositions comprised of blown cane and tightly assembled geometric shapes. His previous work in this series consisted of mostly blown forms colored in earth tones, inspired by the Pacific Northwest; however this week he’s going to experiment with adding more solid forms and new colors, “I’m going to work with a little bit different palate than I’ve worked with in a long time. I’m going to try to brighten it up a little bit,” said Feenan.

4 3

The parts of these sculptures were formed simultaneously using three different teams, then assembled item-by-item by Feenan in a delicate process. The work involved in creating these pieces was misleading, in relation to their design, because although they seemed simplistic in nature once finished they took about three hours to complete on the floor. 5

Feenan felt fortunate to be working with his co-workers and friends to complete these pieces. The blowers who assisted him during the week have a combined glass working knowledge of close to 100 years. Three of whom blow glass with Feenan five days a week and operate more as a family; we saw some great work out of Gabe Feenan and his team this week. To see more sculptures from Center of Gravity Feenan currently displays his work at the Vetri International Gallery in Seattle, WA.

Shirley Klinghoffer – CRT Revisited

In conjunction with her upcoming exhibition, Shirley Klinghoffer – CRT Revisited, artist Shirley Klinghoffer will be a Visiting Artist in the Museum of Glass Hot Shop. Through her residency, she hopes to continue to tell the stories of people and families who are impacted by their battles with cancer.

In the artist’s own words:

“Cancer, especially breast cancer, has touched so many of us and our families. In a bit of irony, My life imitated my art.

I am a multimedia artist who is thrilled to be showing my slumped glass sculptures at Museum of Glass from May through October 2015. These sculptures, which reference the experience of battling breast cancer, were originally created by me in the 1990s when “pink” was not out for public awareness and “the big C” was still swept under the carpet. Years later, in 2006, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I am now revisiting this artwork from a new perspective……as a breast cancer survivor.

Going through cancer treatment has so many challenges, but somehow along the way, we connect with special people and certain objects that become truly meaningful in sustaining us through our journey and become ‘healing objects.”

Shirley took a moment to share her healing object with Museum of Glass.

Witty in Pink
Witty in Pink

“Ironically, I had just completed my first ever PINK sculpture “Witty in Pink” and hung “her” on a wall in my home the morning before I received my doctor’s phone call telling me that I had breast cancer. After hours of numbness, much later that day, I happened to look up at Witty in Pink and realized that I had created something meaningful in the strong bronze core surrounded by the fragile vintage tulle. I vowed that I would concentrate on finding my own strong core in the midst of feeling so vulnerable. It turned out that this sculpture had been hung above the last lights that I turned out before bedtime. So each night I said to Miss Witty in Pink, with a smile on my face, “Good night, darling”.

For more information about Shirley’s Healing Objects project, or to share your own healing objects and stories please visit museumofglass.org/exhibition/crt-revisited.

The Forest through the Trees

By Katie Phelps, Curatorial Assistant/Visiting Artist Coordinator

I met Landscape by Beth Lipman (American, 1971) and Ingalena Klenell (Swedish, 1949) three years ago as a graduate student at University of Washington’s Museology program. We came to Museum of Glass for one of my class field trips, and Landscape definitely made an impression. If you haven’t had a chance to see the piece, it is truly breath-taking. It is a 3D, 31×18 foot collage made of 425 thin pieces of glass that hang from the ceiling or sit on the ground to compose a wintery landscape.

Landscape, installed at Museum of Glass as a part of the exhibition Glimmering Gone - Ingalena Klenell and Beth Lipman which was on display August 21, 2010 – March 11, 2012.
Landscape, installed at Museum of Glass as a part of the exhibition Glimmering Gone – Ingalena Klenell and Beth Lipman which was on display August 21, 2010 – March 11, 2012.

As I sat on a bench looking at the piece, I turned to one of my classmates and said “Man, I feel sorry for the guys who have to take that down.” Turns out…one of those guys is me. Last week I traveled with our exhibition designer, Lynette Martin, to Figge Art Museum in Davenport, Iowa, where the Landscape had been on loan since February 2014. Our mission? To successfully take the piece down and pack it in crates, all while documenting the location of each piece so that we can hang Landscape the same way at future venues. Imagine you just completed a 500 piece puzzle. And, now that you’re finished, you have to write instruction as you put it away, so that the next person can put it back together exactly the same way. That is a good way to think about our process. Here’s how we did it: 1. Number each of the pieces using pieces of blue tape and Sharpie.

The forest, complete with blue tape numbers.
The forest, complete with blue tape numbers.

2. Take lots of photographs! We use these photographs to help decipher where each piece of glass goes, along with how to orient it top to bottom. Since all of the pieces are clear, we use a black piece of tagboard to create some contrast between layers.

We used black tag board to make the individual pieces of the fir tree more visible.
We used black tag board to make the individual pieces of the fir tree more visible.

3. Trace the outline of each piece directly onto the floor using a Sharpie. The result was a huge, numbered, template that described which piece goes where and corresponds to the photographs and numbers. We took a large sheet of plastic and traced over the floor, giving us a map that we can use for the next installation.

The base of the fir tree, with rocks numbered and traced on the deck.
The base of the fir tree, with rocks numbered and traced on the deck.

Those three steps got us through all 425 pieces of glass. It took a team of 6 people about 140 hours to take the piece apart, all while surviving near-record temperatures and humidity, along with a close encounter with a tornado. We couldn’t have done it without Andrew, Robin, Steve and Justin – the fabulous crew at Figge Art Museum. Now that it’s all said and done, we’ll organize our notes and be ready to assemble the piece at the next exhibition venue. Until next time Landscape!

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.