Out of the Vault: Soundtracks with Carmen Lozar

Making art from glass is time-consuming. It is an undertaking that can unfold over hours, but more often takes place over days, weeks, or even months. A great music playlist can be essential to keeping focused and staying creative. These playlists were the starting point for our exhibition Out of the Vault: Soundtracks. MOG Curator Katie Buckingham sat down with Carmen Lozar to learn more about her work in the exhibition and his creative process.

KB: Tell us about Reliquary for My Every Day III.

CL: I started this series just after I got married. We were newlyweds and had just bought our first house. The first thing I did after we moved in was start a little garden. And so, the figure in the sculpture is in her garden. She stopped to appreciate a tomato. I tried to capture that time in the summer where they truly taste amazing.

KB:  And the stem of the reliquary has an actual tomato in it. Is that from your garden?

CL: It is from that same garden! It was the tiniest tomato I’d ever seen, but I was so proud of it. By calling the series Reliquary for My Every Day, I was really trying to say, “Stop and appreciate these little, tiny things in your life.” Preserving that memory, that feeling, led me to reliquaries. If you go to Europe, Catholic churches have reliquaries with the bones from a saint’s finger, or a piece of cloth. I love that idea of displaying something where the object itself might be decaying, but it is actually the memory or story that is truly preserved.

KB: I love it. Let’s talk a little bit about your playlist. Do you listen to music while you work?

CL: I tend not to listen to music too much. Instead, I turn to audiobooks and podcasts. Flameworking takes a lot of focus, and you can get bored quickly. I need something that keeps me listening. But, putting together a playlist for the exhibition was so interesting – I thought, oh my gosh, these songs are all so narrative and they all tell a story. I think that, in that way, stories must travel throughout my psyche in terms of what I like to listen to.

KB: It’s so interesting that you say that – it confirms a pattern that has come up in these conversations. I’ve noticed artists who work outside of a Hot Shop tends to prefer an audiobook or a podcast.

CL: Really?

KB: Yes! And for the very same reasons that you just described – staying focused during a tedious, time-consuming process. However, anyone who works in a Hot Shop is likely to say: “I need tempo, I need momentum, I need to keep the crew upbeat.” With your work being so narrative-based, where do you look for inspiration? Are all of your pieces connected to your life?

CL: That’s a great question. Yes, there are lots of parts of my life in my work. But a lot of what I make goes back to the idea of narrative in general. I have a great love of children’s books. I have read to my children their whole lives. My mother was a puppeteer. I used to watch her puppet practices, and everything in our house was a stage and everything was a story. I find that I often pull from the novels I’m reading. A key sentence will trigger something and take me to another place.

KB: Do you do draw to prepare for your glass artwork?

CL: I do draw. In fact, my sketchbook looks exactly like my pieces. There is very little change between my initial sketches and the physical object. You could easily look at my sketchbook and connect it to every single piece I’ve ever made. (laughs) Sometimes I wonder if I should just do the drawing and be done with it.

KB: So, what about glass completes the process, then? Why not just stop at the drawing?

CL: I’ve been having this conversation with a few other artists lately. I am not sure it has to be glass. I think that it just needs to be 3D. I think I love working in three dimensions and get a great amount of pleasure of seeing something physically manifest itself in that three-dimensional form. To me, there’s a moment of adrenaline rush when you’ve completed the piece and it exists.

KB: What is on the horizon for you and your work?

CL: I am working on developing two new ideas in my work. The first are a series of candlestick figures. The candles are shaped like women, and some of them are in the process of lighting themselves. I have also been working on small scenes that include a piece of jewelry, which you can lift out and wear. I love jewelry, but during the day we always tuck it away in a box. I love the idea of having a small sculpture that revolves around a piece of jewelry, which you can remove and wear, but, at the end of the day, you can put it back within the sculpture and it fits into the scene.

KB: I love that. Another take on an everyday reliquary.

Check out Carmen Lozar’s playlist on Spotify, and visit us at Museum of Glass to see more of our collection featured in Out of the Vault: Soundtracks.

About The Artist:
Carmen Lozar has always loved visual storytelling; whether sad, funny, or thoughtful, her figurative artworks are primarily about celebrating life. Lozar is an artist and educator who lives in Bloomington-Normal, Illinois. She is the Gallery Director for the Ames School of Art at Illinois Wesleyan University. Lozar is represented by Ken Saunders Gallery.

  1. Carmen Lozar in her studio. Photo courtesy of the artist.
  2. Carmen Lozar (American, born 1971). Reliquary For My Everyday III, 2007. Flameworked and blown glass and tomato from my garden. 11 1/8 x 4 1/4 in. (28.3 x 10.8 cm.). Collection of Museum of Glass, Tacoma, Washington, gift of the Robert M. Minkoff Foundation. Photo courtesy of the artist.
  3. Photo courtesy of the artist.
  4. Photo courtesy of the artist.
  5. Photo courtesy of the artist.
  6. Photo courtesy of the artist.

Out of the Vault: Soundtracks with Scott Chaseling

Making art from glass is time-consuming. It is an undertaking that can unfold over hours, but more often takes place over days, weeks, or even months. A great music playlist can be essential to keeping focused and staying creative. These playlists were the starting point for our exhibition Out of the Vault: Soundtracks. MOG Curator Katie Buckingham sat down with Scott Chaseling to learn more about his work in the exhibition and his creative process.

KB: I was hoping we could begin by talking about 99 Bottles and your 2013 residency at Museum of Glass.

SC: My residency at MOG, was held during your exhibition Links: Australian Glass and the Pacific Northwest. This was my first time at MOG, and it was what I would call a FIFO (fly-in-fly-out) experience. The day before the residency, I entered the Hot Shop and was awestruck by the place. During my week with your amazing team, we only made one piece, and, by the end, I was smashed. At the end, I entered my hotel room and was exhausted. I think I had a cry on all day! The sculpture we made, titled 99 Bottles, has become a seminal piece in my career. It is made of 99 colored glass tubes stacked within a metal frame. I was aiming to make a doorway or threshold. People subjectively talk about a liminal space (a term that defines a threshold or transition place between to places), and rarely give it state of being. With 99 Bottles, I aim to show liminal space and use the varying viewpoints through the tubes to create many narrative possibilities.

KB:  I would love to hear about your playlist.

SC: The music I used listen to was a random collage from my computer hard drive. I put this list together a few years ago, for the party night before my wedding. It is quite eclectic across decades, styles, and genre. I play it in my studio, and there always seems to be a few songs that appeal to the glass makers. I have not really thought about it before, but I suppose it does represent myself and my practice. I work with glass by blowing, hot-sculpting, casting, painting, and fusing, creating a mixed bag of styles.

KB: Where do you make your work?

SC: A good question – I think this is the first time I could truly say “in my studio.” For the first time in my life, I have chosen to stay, live, and work in one place for longer than four years. I have always moved around, taking my practice nationally and internationally, learning and making as I went, living the life of an art pilgrim, or perhaps more like an old European journeyman. Now, I am very happily set up with a studio about a 15-minute walk from my home in the beautiful Southern Highlands, just south of Sydney, Australia.

KB: What about your studio space helps your creative process?

SC: I feel it is the other way around. It is more that my creative process has informed my studio space. My building looks like an industrial unit from the outside, and, whilst containing all the tools and machinery necessary for my work, it is filled with many large indoor plants. They bring a sense of home to a space filled with heavy metal.

KB: Where do you look for inspiration?

SC: Wouldn’t it be nice to say, “I don’t have to look…inspiration is already there”? [laughs] I do believe inspiration comes from what appeals to us, be it reporting to get the truth out of politics, or being amused by the way our footsteps on the sand of a beach are softened by the incoming tide. What appeals to me and gives me inspiration is the everyday. Nothing grand or life-changing, just the infinite amounts of little moments! From my fused blown vessels, which are made of thousands of bits of cut glass, to my glass tube and ring sculptures (also made of many pieces), I construct from the many to create the one. I am inspired by many parts of a day, week, or year that make one life.

KB: How do you push through a creative block?

SC: Ha, this question makes me laugh. The creative block you are asking about is probably pointed towards a cerebral or imaginative moment. My creative block occurs due to lack of resources. I have so many ideas, just not enough time, money, material, or assistance. This is why my residency at Museum of Glass was such a turning point in my work. Without the residency, I never would have created something as complex as 99 Bottles. Such an amazing opportunity should not be used to create an ongoing series. I would rather push myself into new areas not conceivable on my own.

KB: How was your creative process impacted by the pandemic?

SC: I realize there is a lot of loss, past and present, with the pandemic. Many artists suffered loss of family and friends. Many are still suffering financially through lack of sales and exhibitions, along with growing energy costs globally. And yet, at the same time, I had solace in stasis. The inability to travel gave me more time to focus on and appreciate what was around me. I spent every day in my studio, and even started a tangential practice of “rescuing” glass bottles from landfill. I started a business with my wife called Small Impact Studio (formally studio onefive) that reforms locally-sourced wine bottles into homewares and jewelry.

KB: What’s on the horizon for you and your work?

SC: Small Impact Studio is growing much faster than we thought. There is a great demand for products that are environmentally- and sustainably-informed with good design. I was thinking that starting this new studio would be a way of building my man-cave, but I think now we’ve created a beautiful monster. On the subject of my artwork, I can’t really say what’s on the horizon. I am so incredibly fortunate to have lived a life as an artist that has allowed me to travel the world, meet amazing people, and create work solely for me. Now, with the pandemic still around us, I have slowed to a wonderful point in life that allows me to not stress about shipping schedules, customs taxes, or writing another f*cking artist statement!

Check out Scott Chaseling’s playlist on Spotify, and visit us at Museum of Glass to see more of our collection featured in Out of the Vault: Soundtracks.

About The Artist:
Scott Chaseling has traveled widely, developing new works in new locations through teaching, residencies, and workshops. An Australian artist, he has used glass as his primary medium for over 30 years. His work often combines many visual aesthetics, styles, techniques, and concepts to create traditionally-shaped vases with contemporary colors and designs.

Chaseling’s work is featured in Out of the Vault: Soundtracks, currently on display at Museum of Glass and open through June 18, 2023.

  1. Scott Chaseling during his 2013 residency at Museum of Glass. Photo courtesy of the artist.
  2. Scott Chaseling (Australian, born 1962). 99 Bottles, made at the Museum 2013. Mold-blown glass, assembled; steel frame. 80 × 31 × 22 in. (203.2 × 78.7 × 55.9 cm). Collection of Museum of Glass, Tacoma, Washington, gift of the artist. Photo by Duncan Price.
  3. Photo courtesy of the artist.
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  6. Photo courtesy of the artist.

Out of the Vault: Soundtracks with Preston Singletary

Making art from glass is time-consuming. It is an undertaking that can unfold over hours, but more often takes place over days, weeks, or even months. A great music playlist can be essential to keeping focused and staying creative. These playlists were the starting point for our exhibition Out of the Vault: Soundtracks. MOG Curator Katie Buckingham sat down with Preston Singletary to learn more about his work in the exhibition and his creative process.

KB: I was hoping we could start off with your take on Killer Whale Medallion, our recent acquisition from the Robert M. Minkoff Foundation Collection.

PS: It was designed from one of the posts in the Clan House piece that is part of the Museum’s collection. I was trying to figure out some small production pieces that would be easy to make and easy to sell. I took a killer whale form and had it carved in the negative (reverse) on a graphite slab, so that I could pour the glass onto that slab and quickly create Killer Whale Medallion.

KB:  That connection to Clan House is really interesting! I think it is important to also talk about the financial aspects of being an artist – Killer Whale Medallion is an example of how artists try to balance earning a living with creating new ideas and big projects.

PS: For sure. Owning a studio definitely takes vision and a labor of love. I started making that series about 15 years ago when I opened my studio. When I got the studio, I thought, well, I need to figure out how to make it pay for itself. So, I developed Killer Whale Medallion and other smaller scale pieces to try to make money.

KB: I’d love to hear about the playlist you shared with us. You’re the only artist in the exhibition who is also a musician, preforming with the Indigenous band Khu.éex’.

PS: Making the playlist was fun. Playing music was my first creative passion. I listen to music all the time. I love musical hybrids of different styles. I love funk, jazz, and rock. I tried to include a little bit of everything. That’s why I called it “Music that Made Me;” the playlist includes songs that shaped me and the way that I came to appreciate music. Talking Heads is especially important because they introduced me to funk. At the time, they were playing with this musician, Bernie Warrell, co-founder of Parliament Funkadelic. I made Bernie’s acquaintance and worked with him for three years. He was a great improviser and conduit for music, working with musicians from all around the world. Collaborating with him was a huge education in terms of what I knew about music and what I could do with it.

KB: Making music is collaborative, not unlike glassblowing.

PS: Yeah, it is. Music is a team sport, a language that people share. Once you understand the musical situation, you can embellish it in so many different ways. And that’s what I like about it.

KB: And where do you look for inspiration when you’re making new artwork?

PS: I am really fascinated with mythology and trying to imagine how new, contemporary mythologies merge with Native culture. I feel like Native art has been placed in an anthropological corral. I know that if my culture had not been invaded and interrupted, it would have continued to evolve creatively. Instead, today, Native art is much more multi-cultural. A lot of my work goes into non-Native households, whereas before my work would have been embraced by and represented in my own community. Instead, the work I make today gets shared with a larger audience, which is an important opportunity.

KB: That’s interesting! How do you take that frame of mind with you when you work on exhibition like the Museum’s traveling exhibition Preston Singletary: Raven and the Box of Daylight?

PS: I feel like my work needs to show these ancient codes and symbols of the land and present my Native culture in a way that brings more awareness to it. If viewers haven’t seen Native art before, then the exhibition is an opportunity to learn and understand it on another level.

KB: When you’re working in your studio, what helps your creative process?

PS: I’m lucky to have my own studio in the South Lake Union neighborhood of Seattle. It has a glassblowing and a sandblasting studio, as well as space to mock-up larger installations. I used to have walls of CDs and albums in my office, but now I’ve imported everything onto my computer. But I have a large library and make sure to place books and art around me to create little zones for all of my creativity. I also have a study collection with Native masks and baskets, and other things for inspiration around my studio.

KB: When you’re working, how do you push through a creative block? What would you tell a student having trouble finding their creative rhythm?

PS: When I’m teaching, I try to encourage people to look at their own personal story. Everybody has a story, and everybody comes from somewhere. A lot of people tell me, “Oh, you’re so fortunate to have this rich Native heritage.” That does not necessarily make it easier – I still had a lot to learn in terms of the history, the stories, and the design system. It wasn’t easy. In fact, it was kind of hard. I think that everybody who wants to be creative comes to a fork in the road, where you choose your influences and follow where they lead. But you have to add to your own story. When you dig deep and find your own creativity, then transform that into a visual form…that is awesome.

KB:  We’re so excited that Raven and the Box of Daylight is currently on view at Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, DC. This project took us several years to realize – so what’s on the horizon for you and your work?

PS: I’m starting to think about how to add a contemporary twist to traditional stories. For the Tlingit people, Raven set the world in order and put things into motion to help mankind in this way. So, what is Raven doing now? Maybe he’s trying to combat climate change or looking for the missing and murdered Indigenous women. Maybe he’s discovered the residential school grave sites. This is a much broader world than just the Tlingit world, and my work can have an element of teaching, an element of raising awareness. The opportunity for storytelling is where my work is heading.

Check out Preston Singletary’s playlist on Spotify, and visit us at Museum of Glass to see more of our collection featured in Out of the Vault: Soundtracks.

About The Artist:
The art of Preston Singletary has become synonymous with the relationship between European glass blowing traditions and Northwest Native art.  His artworks feature themes of transformation, animal spirits, and shamanism through elegant blown glass forms and mystical sand-carved Tlingit designs. 

Singletary’s work is featured in Out of the Vault: Soundtracks, currently on display at Museum of Glass and open through June 18, 2023.

Learn more and view Singletary’s work at https://www.prestonsingletary.com/

  1. Preston Singletary working in his studio. Photo by Mac Holt.
  2. Preston Singletary (American Tlingit, born 1963). Killer Whale Medallion, 2010. Cast glass; 12 5/8 × 9 7/8 × 4 15/16 in. (32.1 × 25.1 × 12.5 cm). Collection of Museum of Glass, Tacoma, Washington, gift of the Robert M. Minkoff Foundation. Photo by Russell Johnson.
  3. Preston Singletary (American Tlingit, born 1963). Clan House (Naa Kahídi), 2008. Kiln-cast and sand-carved glass; water-jet cut, inlaid, and laminated medallion; 90 1/2 × 120 1/2 × 8 in., 600 lb. (229.9 × 306.1 × 20.3 cm, 272.2 kg). Collection of Museum of Glass, Tacoma, Washington, commissioned with funds provided by Leonard and Norma Klorfine Foundation. Photo by Russell Johnson.
  4. Detail of Clan House (Naa Kahídi) post with Killer Whale Medallion (blue). Photo by Russell Johnson
  5. Detail from Preston Singletary: Raven and the Box of Daylight showing the Nass River and the Fisherman of the Night. On view at Museum of Glass October 3, 2019 through September 2, 2019. Photo by Russell Johnson.
  6. Preston Singletary (American Tlingit, born 1963). Indian Curio Shelf, 2012. Mixed media, glass, and found objects; 58 1/2 x 23 1/2 x 24 in. (148.6 x 59.7 x 61 cm). Collection of Preston Singletary. Photo courtesy of the artist.

Out of the Vault: Soundtracks with Ned Cantrell

Making art from glass is time-consuming. It is an undertaking that can unfold over hours, but more often takes place over days, weeks, or even months. A great music playlist can be essential to keeping focused and staying creative. These playlists were the starting point for our exhibition Out of the Vault: Soundtracks. MOG Curator Katie Buckingham sat down with Ned Cantrell to learn more about his work in the exhibition and his creative process.

KB: Could you tell us more about The Emperor’s New Clothes and your 2019 residency at MOG?

NC:  During my residency I reworked some of Hans Christian Andersen’s fairytales, giving them a contemporary spin. The Emperor’s New Clothes depicts an Emperor wearing nothing but his crown and tattooed insignia of oil companies. Underneath him the ground is burning. Often it seems that politicians perpetuate a lie because the alternative would mean losing face and political suicide. In the original fairytale, a child reveals the Emperor’s hypocrisy by shouting “The King has got no clothes on.”  

KB:  Describe your playlist – is it what you listen to while you work, or a list of your favorites?

NC: Music can be a muse. I have occasionally made pieces directly inspired by a song, but more often it is a mood or atmosphere which I find inspirational. My playlist is a bit of a mix. It includes some favorites that have been played on repeat and some tracks which I think perhaps relate to my work in some way.

KB: Where do you make your work?

NC: I am privileged to have my own hot shop together with my wife, Karen Nyholm, in Ebeltoft, Denmark. Ebeltoft is a hub for glassblowing not unlike Tacoma, with six glassblowing workshops, around 20 glassblowers, and a glass museum.

KB: What about your studio space helps your creative process?

NC: Our workshop used to be owned by Finn Lynggaard and Tchai Munch and was the first in Ebeltoft in 1979. The building is a piece of Danish glass history and holds many stories. It reminds me that we are all standing on the shoulders of giants. And is also motivating to be a part of a bigger picture.

KB: Where do you look for inspiration?

NC: I have one theme which is common to almost all of my work, which is a discourse between high culture and low culture. Basically, I take objects from low culture — trash, cartoons, mass-produced plastic products — and reproduce them using virtuoso glass techniques. Sometimes my work may be political or conceptual, but mostly it is aesthetically motivated. I live in a very beautiful part of the world, so it is probably very wrong of me not to be inspired by my surroundings. Most people would, I guess. I am not sure why, but I always seem to be looking for ugliness.

KB: How do you push through a creative block?

NC: Never play to the gallery. If I am blocked, I try to make things only for myself and not think about what anybody else will think of it. I allow myself time to play and create without worrying about the results. I make some embarrassingly bad things sometimes, but this is also the time where I develop most.

KB: How was your creative process impacted by the pandemic? 

NC: The pandemic didn’t affect my work very much. It was easy for us to isolate because our workshop is on our property, and Karen and I usually assist each other anyway. I just crawled back in under my stone.

KB: What’s on the horizon for you and your work?

NC: We are about to light the furnace after a break for the summer. I have too many ideas for what to make next, so I will have to be selective. Certainly, more inflatable pool toys. I am really into them. And probably a new series with dead insects. We have many dead insects on our windowsills already, so it seems like an obvious thing to make. Coming up, I will be teaching at The Glass Factory in Sweden and I have a residency at Nuutajärvi Glassworks in Finland. In 2023, I will be returning to the Pacific Northwest to teach at Pilchuck Glass School together with Karen.

Check out Ned Cantrell’s playlist on Spotify, and visit us at Museum of Glass to see more of our collection featured in Out of the Vault: Soundtracks.

About The Artist:
Ned Cantrell graduated in England in 1997 and has been running his workshop in Denmark together with Karen Nyholm since 2004. Over the years, he has absorbed a range of techniques for blowing and hot-sculpting glass which he excretes in an eclectic and unique mix of styles and disciplines. Ned utilizes symbols of pop culture and consumerism such as trash, tattoos, and science fiction, while exploring the contradiction between the objects’ kitschy spirit and the finesse of craftsmanship. His work has been widely exhibited in Europe, Asia, and the USA.

Cantrell’s work is featured in Out of the Vault: Soundtracks, currently on display at Museum of Glass and open through June 18, 2023.

Learn more and view Cantrell’s work at https://www.nyholmcantrell.dk/?v=dd65ef9a5579

Image credits:

  1. Ned Cantrell, pictured with his wife and collaborator Karen Nyholm. Photo courtesy of the artist.
  2. Ned Cantrell (Danish, born 1975). The Emperor’s New Clothes. Made at the Museum in 2019. Blown and hot-sculpted glass; 25 1/2 × 9 1/2 × 8 1/2 inches. Collection of Museum of Glass, Tacoma, Washington, gift of the artist. Photo by Mark Aimerito.
  3. Ned Cantrell working at Pilchuck Glass School, Stanwood, Washington in 2016. Photo by Stephanie Lifshutz.
  4. Ned Cantrell (Danish, born 1975). Geisha, 2016. Blown and hot-sculpted glass; 27 1/2 inches tall. Courtesy of the artist. Photo by Ned Cantrell.

MOG @ 20 Celebration and Blown Away Watch Party and Cast Q&A

This Saturday, July 30, MOG is celebrating its 20th birthday with an all-day MOG @ 20 celebration! From 10am-5pm, stop by the Museum for a variety of family-friendly activities, performances, and demonstrations. Then, from 5pm-6pm, join us in the Hot Shop Amphitheater for a watch party of the newest season of Netflix’s hit series Blown Away, followed by a live Q&A with local artists and Season 2 cast members Minhi England and Trenton Quiocho.

The celebration will take place both inside the building and outdoors, and Museum admission will be free to everyone all day long. Artisan vendors will host a market on the Museum’s outdoor Plaza. The Hot Shop Team will give live glassblowing demonstrations, as they work alongside Visiting Artist Tanner Weiss. Musical performances by the Kareem Kandi World Orchestra, the Tacoma Banjo Club, and the Pierce College Jazz Combo will take place throughout the day in the Grand Hall. The Museum of Glass Store is hosting Marble Mania, featuring flameworking demonstrations by Blake Julich, a marble painting activity, a marble run, and more. Incalmo will host a burger bar and sell special “Chocolate Marble” truffles as a birthday treat, for those who are peckish from all the partying.

To cap off the celebrations, Blown Away cast members Minhi England and Trenton Quiocho, both Pacific Northwest locals, will join visitors and MOG staff in the Hot Shop Amphitheater for a watch party of Blown Away: Season 3, Episode 1. After the episode, visitors are invited to join in conversation with the artists in a live Q&A session, moderated by MOG curator Katie Buckingham. Just like the rest of the day, this event is free to attend. Seating will be first come, first served (and could fill up quickly), so visitors are encouraged to arrive early. Snacks will be available for purchase and Incalmo will host a cash bar to accompany the watch party.

Thank you to our sponsors Port of Tacoma and ArtsWA for their support of this event.