Tag Archives: glassblowing

Lessons Learned Through Hot Shop Heroes

By Chad Widmer, Hot Shop Heroes student

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.

jellies-and-glass jellies-and-glass-1

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.”

Five Minutes with Lino Tagliapietra

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.

Lino Tagliapietra in the Museum of Glass. Photo courtesy of Museum of Glass.

Lino Tagliapietra in the Museum of Glass. Photo courtesy of Museum of Glass.

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.

Those Summer Nights (and Days)

By Alex Carr, Communications Manager

Labor Day has passed, which means fall hours have arrived at Museum of Glass (MOG). It was another lively summer for the Museum, especially with the return of Night Blow. Here are some of the summer season’s highlights.

Night Blow

Once upon a time, Museum of Glass hosted an evening event called Night Blow. This summer, the Museum decided to bring back the popular party and host two free Night Blows for the public to enjoy on those beautiful Pacific Northwest evenings. The first one, in July, invited visitors to enjoy glassblowing by Dan Friday and Courtney Branam in the Hot Shop, fire dancing on the plaza, and music by SoundAbout DJ. Next month’s Night Blow saw nearly 1,000 people visit MOG on Third Thursday to watch the Tacoma Glassblowing Studio team in the Hot Shop and flameworking on the plaza. SoundAbout DJ returned for the second Night Blow of the summer and Social Bar and Grill kept hungry guests happy with their food truck on the plaza.

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Night Blow guests gather to watch the fire dancing performance. Photo by John Ferguson.

Visiting Artist Lino Tagliapietra

There’s nothing quite like watching the Maestro of glass art working in the Museum’s Hot Shop. In July, Lino Tagliapietra returned to MOG for another Visiting Artist Residency, and this time visitors were treated to something new—Tagliapietra’s Endeavor boats. During his previous residencies, the Maestro and his team have worked with the Museum of Glass Hot Shop Team on a variety of vessels, but this time around it was all about the boats. Check out Hot Shop emcee Greg Owen’s earlier blog post on Tagliapietra’s summer residency.

Russell Johnson Photographer, Lino Tagliapietra Inc.

Russell Johnson Photographer, Lino Tagliapietra Inc.

Rev Up

The Museum’s annual Red Hot Auction & Gala is just around the corner. To get ready for the September 17 event, Museum of Glass hosted its second Rev Up party. Artists, art lovers, and Museum of Glass patrons enjoyed an evening at Seattle’s Glass Distillery, where guests began to get red carpet ready for Red Hot. Tickets to the annual gala, featuring a gourmet dinner, live and silent auctions, and an after party with Ethan Stern, are available online.

See more photos from Rev Up here.

Summer may have come and gone, but there’s still plenty to look forward to this year. I’m personally excited for the opening of the Museum’s new exhibition Into the Deep, seasonal hands-on glassmaking workshops, and, of course, more Visiting Artists!

Alex Carr is the Communications Manager at Museum of Glass. When she’s not circulating the Hot Shop floor trying to get the perfect Instagram shot for the Museum, you’ll find her baking at home, running at Green Lake, or exploring Washington’s wineries.

The Season of Hilltop Artists

By Bonnie Wright, Curator of Education and Community Engagement

There’s so much Hilltop Artists programming in the community this summer and fall, both at Museum of Glass and in Tacoma’s Hilltop neighborhood!

Hilltop Artists students and the Museum of Glass Hot Shop Team.

Hilltop Artists students and the Museum of Glass Hot Shop Team.

Hilltop Artists Residency, August 10-14

Hilltop Artists worked in the Museum of Glass Hot Shop last week making centerpieces for their Better Futures Luncheon. Check out MOG’s Meet the Artist video featuring these young students!

Hilltop Street Fair, August 27

Come visit both the Museum of Glass booth and the Hilltop Artists booth at the Hilltop Street Fair from 11 am to 7 pm on Saturday, August 27! Celebrate art, music, and fun activities in the Hilltop neighborhood on Martin Luther King Way between 9th and 13th Streets.

Hilltop Artists Make Your Own Glass Floats at MOG, September 24-25

Try your hand at blowing glass, guided by a Hilltop Artist at Museum of Glass! Make your own glass float to celebrate the opening weekend of the Into the Deep exhibition!

Photo courtesy of Hilltop Artists.

Photo courtesy of Hilltop Artists.

Hilltop Artists Make Your Own Glass Pumpkins at MOG, October 1-2 & 29-30

You’ve tried blowing glass….now, how about sculpting it? Kick off your fall with this unique paperweight workshop, led by a Hilltop Artist!

Make Your Own

And don’t forget, you can catch Hilltop Artists working in the Museum of Glass Hot Shop on the Third Thursday of each month from 5 to 8 pm!

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.

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.

Canal

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.