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.

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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. 

Memories from the Other Side of the Desk

By Max Fosberg, Visitor Services Manager

As my time comes to a close at Museum of Glass (only two more days, but who’s counting?), I have been taking some time to reflect on the past two years here working in the visitor services department. The journey has been exactly that, a journey with peaks and valleys.

But who wants to talk about valleys, low points, the dark ages?

Yeah, neither do I! So I made a list. Yes, the plain old top-something list. These are the top three moments for me working here at Museum of Glass. Ready? Set? GO!!

Moment 3: 2016 Slider Cook-Off

Once I leave the Museum, I plan on every once in a while coming back to check out a new exhibition, see one of my favorite artists in the Hot Shop, or just to simply say hello to old co-workers. However, there will be a day in March every year that you can count on me being at the Museum, and that will be the day of the annual Slider Cook-Off, which has to be one of the coolest, most exciting events in town.

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Slider Cook-Off participant WildFin won the 2016 Grand Prize with their slider.

This past March, Slider took a turn for the best. The burgers were out of this world, The Dusty 45s rocked the Grand Hall, artist John Miller was at the top of his game, and there was fun stuff to do at the event, like get an up-do hairstyle or see how many friends you can get in one picture at the free photo booth. I was working the event, but still had a better time than most events I have attended. As the guest that I will be next year, I’m so excited for this event that I’m considering buying VIP tickets! If you have never checked out Slider Cook-Off, and you like burgers, beer, and rock ‘n’ roll, you need to get a ticket!

Moment 2: Discovering and Meeting Lino Tagliapietra

Lino Tagliapietra, the Maestro of glassblowing. He is the greatest, and to this day, in his 80s, he is still the man on the floor shaping the glass, blowing the glass, and swinging the glass over his head.

Photo by Russell Johnson.
Lino Tagliapietra in the Museum of Glass Hot Shop; Photo by Russell Johnson.

I have had the privilege of watching Lino multiple times over the past two years, and he blows me away every time he steps onto the Hot Shop floor. I have also talked with him personally and helped him here at the Museum, and from that experience I am happy to report that he is incredibly humble and views glassblowing as “just my job.” He is a special, special person and has given so much to the glass art form for over 70 years – he started blowing glass when he was 11! That alone blows my mind and demands respect. Long live the king of glass and I hope I get to watch him for many more years to come.

Moment 1: John Kiley and Lino Tagliapietra in the Hot Shop

When I joined the Museum two years ago, I had no knowledge of glass art. Since then, I’ve had the opportunity to really examine and create an opinion about glass art. I am not an expert to say the least, however, I do know what I like and what I don’t like. Two of my favorite artists came together in the Hot Shop this past February, and I have to admit I “geeked” out over these two.

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Maestro Lino Tagliapietra (left) and Erich Woll (right) assist Visiting Artist John Kiley (center).

First, John Kiley. The spherical forms he makes, with chunks missing and two different color tones, really stand out to me as something from the future. And what can you pair with an emerging star? How about a living legend, the Maestro himself, Lino Tagliapietra. At a mere 81 years young, Lino is the Michael Jordan of glassblowing. He continues to create work year after year and does it with class and veteran savviness (I wrote about him in Moment 2, I know, cop out). This truly was a special week to be at the Museum, to see these two working together.

Well there it is, everyone. The list.

Honestly, the best thing about MOG is the people who work here. There is a wonderful team of passionate and creative people who make sure that this icon of Tacoma continues to educate the public about glass art. As someone who started working at the Museum with little knowledge of glass art, I feel pretty lucky to have had a two-year course in glass from some of the best people in the northwest. I urge you to keep coming down to MOG, and bring everyone you know!

I want to thank everyone who I have had the pleasure of working with and I hope to keep in contact with this group for years to come. Thank you MOG.