The Robert M. Minkoff Collection Gifted to Museum of Glass

Karen LaMonte (American, born 1967)
Child’s Dress, 2007
Kiln cast glass
18 × 21 × 20 in.
Collection of Museum of Glass, gift of Robert M. Minkoff Foundation

Museum of Glass is honored to announce that we received a seminal collection of artwork showcasing the development of glass as a studio and contemporary art medium from the Robert M. Minkoff Foundation. Adding these 400 works of art from Robert Minkoff’s personal collection makes the Museum’s glass holdings the largest in the Western United States.

We are honored and grateful to receive this gift from the Minkoff Foundation. This is the first major Studio Glass collection given to the Museum and it is transformational for us. Its comprehensive representation of glass artists, both nationally and internationally, provides a foundation for MOG to tell vital stories of studio and contemporary glass.

– Debbie Lenk, Executive Director

William Morris (American, born 1957)
Petroglyph Vessel, Turquoise Lip Wrap, 1987
Hand blown glass with glass powders
11 × 25 × 25 in.
Collection of Museum of Glass, gift of Robert M. Minkoff Foundation

Minkoff was a collector, a collector that celebrated the incredible diversity of glass art and its possibilities in the field of contemporary art. His passion and collecting philosophy complements Museum of Glass, which makes this gift so special to us. Minkoff’s collection includes several incredible artists, such as Jaroslava Brychtová, Stanislav Libenský, Klaus Moje, Debora Moore, William Morris, Paul Stankard, Therman Statom, and Lino Tagliapietra. The collection also provides a look at innovative new approaches to the material by artists including Steffan Dam, Luke Jerram, Silvia Levenson, Beth Lipman, and Karen LaMonte.

MOG will celebrate this significant gift with a major exhibition honoring Minkoff and his collection, with accompanying educational programming, opening in Spring 2022. It will be accompanied by a catalog highlighting the breadth of the collection.

Currently, you can view A Glimpse at the Robert M. Minkoff Foundation Collection at Museum of Glass. This installation opened on October 15 and is proudly displayed in our Grand Hall.

To learn more about The Robert M. Minkoff Collection, view the full press release at: The Robert M. Minkoff Collection Gifted to Museum of Glass

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

Chico Oktoberfest

By Sarah Gilbert, Hot Shop Technician 

For the last several years Museum of Glass has been lucky enough to be a part of Sierra Nevada’s Oktoberfest in Chico, California. This huge celebration of malty refreshments brings in over 6,000 people every year. We are invited to bring our Mobile Hot Shop down as part of the entertainment. We work together with the great Jeff Lindsay of Cutting Edge Tools to organize local glassblowers from the area to all come together and make their wares. Jeff also organizes a live auction during the event where people can bid on items by the Oktoberfest attendees while the items are being made. All of the proceeds from this auction go to a local non-profit. It is a great way to keep the people watching and to give back to the community.

Sarah Gilbert with the tools of the trade

For the last two years my wife and I have driven the big Mobile Hot Shop truck down to Chico. Our truck is 30 feet long with a capacity to carry 16 tons! In the truck we carry a Furnace, two glory holes, a garage, work benches, marvers, and everything else you might need to blow glass…just about anywhere.

Mobile Hot Shop Truck
Mobile Hot Shop Truck

Becca Chernow and Rich Langley were the artists that we would be collaborating with during our trip. Two days prior to the event, we met with them to off load all the equipment and get it hot in time for everyone to work.  We also got a great tour of the brewery while we were down there.  If you are a fan of Sierra Nevada you might recognize the labels- they are already making their holiday brew- “Celebration” beer in October!

Sierra Nevada Brewery

It is always a pleasure to make it down to Chico and be a part of this event!  I look forward to many more years of good times in Chico!

Chico Oktobertfest

A Day in the Life of a Hot Shop Intern

By Hannah Fields, Grants Manager

As the Grants Manager for Museum of Glass, I spend my days writing, creating budgets, strategizing, and researching. I came to this job on a winding path, however, and that path included taking a glassblowing class in High School twenty years ago. So when given the opportunity to be the “Hot Shop Intern for a Day”, I jumped at the chance! I love glassblowing; it is the reason I work at Museum of Glass. I love the immediacy, the teamwork, and the sublime sensuality of the material.

On the day of my internship, I arrived with chocolate chip cookies for the team to thank them for the opportunity. They were very appreciative. Before the Museum opened, the real Hot Shop Intern, a UWT student, Danny, showed me the ropes. I was going to be operating the doors of the glory hole. No problem, I thought. I can do this. The glory hole has three sets of doors each larger than the last. The doors are opened as the artist brings the piece to be heated, and then closed as the piece is brought back to the gaffer’s bench to be worked. Open, close. Open, close. Repeat. Repeat.

You might think this sounds boring, but I had the greatest time operating those doors!  I got to see really up close what Ben, Gabe, and Niko were making, and how effortless they make blowing and sculpting glass look. I got to hear them sing along to terrible easy listening hits of the 1970s and 1980s (think Hall and Oats and Toto)—they know ALL the words—it was hilarious. I got to listen to them communicate to each other in a strange shorthand language as they created each piece. I got to feel like a member of the team.

My day as a Hot Shop Intern inspired me. It inspired me to find more humor in my days; to find more joy in my work; and to remember just what my work at Museum of Glass supports—the endurance of the creative spirit. It was the best day I’ve had in a really long time.

New Image
Hannah Fields talking to Visiting Artist Barbara Earl Thomas while working in the Hot Shop.

Thank you to the amazing Hot Shop team for making me feel so welcome in their home and for sharing their spirit of generosity, humor, teamwork, and fun.

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.