Introducing Glass Art Magazine’s New Podcast!
Talking Out Your Glass
Features interviews and discussions with world-renowned glass artists and respected experts in hot, warm, and cold glass.
Widely regarded as one of the godfathers of the functional glass community, Banjo works glass in a torch to create mind-blowing psychedelic sculpture that transcends its functionality. The artist has attracted a legion of faithful fans and collectors, many who do not smoke marijuana.
Banjo’s glasswork brings to life “interdimensional biomechanical deities that represent the emergence of sacred feminine energy within the post-modern techno-industrial matrix.” He also pays homage to pop culture, crafting thousand-plus piece Transformer robots, motorcycles, cars, and Star Wars characters in borosilicate glass. In 2016, the artist had his first solo exhibition, Sacramental Vessels, at Gregorio Escalante Gallery in Los Angeles, California.
Paul Messink’s multilayered kilnformed glass panels draw the viewer into an ethereal and ghostly landscape that represents the uncertainty of life and its myriad directions. Transforming a painting, an historically two-dimensional art form, into a three-dimensional scene with depth and perspective, Messink poses questions about choices and pathways via scenes obscured and enhanced by the mystery of fog and mist.
Frequently asked if a photograph has been embedded in his layers of glass, Messink actually creates his imagery by applying glass enamels and fusing. The artist creates depth by layering the glass, diminishing the size and color of his subject matter, and manipulating texture and translucence. Messink typically uses between nine and 12 layers of glass that are kilncast into one solid panel.
Formerly an IT project manager in Chicago, Messink is currently based out of Palm Desert, California, with studios in both Palm Desert and the nearby Coachella Valley Art Center in Indio, California.While mostly self-taught, workshops of artists such as Susan Taylor Glasgow, Richard LaLonde, Mark Salsbury, Annette Baron, and Don Schneider helped him refine and advance his technique. Messink now teaches his process around the country to other artists and kilnworkers looking for more expressive approaches in glass.
Messink was awarded “Best in Glass” in the 2012 and 2014 Royal Oak Clay, Glass and Metal show, Royal Oak, Michigan, and was awarded “Multi-Media Artist of the Year” in the Art Comes Alive 2013 competition, Cincinnati, Ohio. In 2014 he received a category award in The Glass Prize 2014, sponsored by Warm Glass UK, and was also awarded "Best in Show" at GATHERING: Contemporary Glass from the Heartland, sponsored by the Indiana Glass Art Alliance. In 2015 he took home the "People's Choice Award in Glass" at the 3rd Brea Clay and Glass Exhibit, in Brea CA. Messink has participated in numerous group shows around the country.
Award winning artist/designer Peter McGrain has been working with stained glass for over 30 years. During this time he has handled every type of stained glass project imaginable, ranging in scope from intimate experimental panels to large scale architectural installations. The book Uncommon Stained Glass charts McGrain's journey from crafter to award-winning artist.
In 1990 McGrain's panel "Shrimping the Spring Tide" was honored by the World Glass Congress as the finest example of stained glass created anywhere on earth during the 1980s. The artist expanded his worldwide notoriety through the creation of exhibition showpieces designed and fabricated for Kokomo Opalescent Glass Works and the Paul Wissmach Glass Co.
Since the development of McGrain's Vitri Fusaille process - a hybrid of glass fusing and traditional glass painting - demand for his workshops has been on the rise along with increased gallery interest. His piece "Man with Fish" appeared in New Glass Review 26, the Corning Museum’s annual survey of avant-garde glass. In 2012, McGrain proved to himself and the world that Vitri Fusaille could also be used in the creation of architectural work as seen in his commission for the Jewish Home in Rochester, New York, his home town.
The recipient of the American Glass Guild’s 2014 Joseph Barnes Lifetime Achievement Award, McGrain has always been in demand as a teacher, lecturer, and author of books and journal articles, including his current ongoing series for Glass Art magazine on traditional glass painting.
Richard Jolley, internationally recognized as one of today's most accomplished and inventive glass sculptors, was born in Wichita, Kansas, in 1952. As a youth, he moved to Oak Ridge, Tennessee, and in 1970 began his art training at Tusculum College in Greenville, Tennessee, studying under noted glass artist Michael Taylor. After receiving his BFA from George Peabody College in Nashville (now part of Vanderbilt University), Jolley continued graduate studies at North Carolina's Penland School of Crafts, under the instruction of studio glass artist Richard Ritter. Jolley has participated in over 65 solo museum and gallery exhibitions throughout the United States and in Australia, Europe, Israel, and Japan.
Jolley's sculpture takes the form of drawings, busts, totems, suspended figures, birds, the garden -- all exploring issues of the human condition, nature, and the universe through the use of glass, color, and contemporary symbolism. Jolley’s work is alluring, in part because it allows the viewer to escape from the everyday into a dream. His message: Art is not limited by its medium but is open to a continuous exploration of new possibilities for what can be meaningful to the human eye.
On May 4, 2014, the Knoxville Museum of Art, Knoxville, Tennessee, debuted Jolley’s new, monumentally scaled sculpture commissioned and created especially for the museum's newly refurbished Great Hall, recently renamed the Ann and Steve Bailey Hall. Cycle of Life measures 100 feet long by 12 feet tall, making it one of the largest figurative glass-and-steel assemblages in the world. Fashioned of thousands of individual cast and blown-glass elements, the massive work unfolds as an epic narrative of the successive phases of life.
In the process of inspiring others to try glass, Fritz Dreisbach began studying and reinventing historic shapes in glass with his personal brand of irony, humor, and fun. Above all he tried to capture the fluid nature of his medium in homage to the molten material used to create the work. Childrenís toys and games, funk art (especially ceramics), and 1960s comics all inform and inspire Dreisbachís artwork. His influences include and are as diverse as Jackson Pollock, Claus Oldenburg, Robert Arneson, Clayton Baily, Fred Bauer, and R. Crumb.
Dreisbach, who now lives on Whidbey Island, works out of his glass studio in Freeland, Washington, creating a new series of wheel-carved and cameo-cut sculpture. In addition, he continues to explore his large blown works known as Mongos, and produces playful goblets, trick glasses, and toy vehicles.
Equal parts artist, scientist, and historian, Fritz Dreisbach has spent the last five decades teaching and demonstrating glassblowing around the world. This Johnny Appleseed of Glass has himself played a vital role in the history of the American Studio Glass movement that he now strives to preserve and share with the next generation of artists.
In Part 1, Dreisbach reviews the history and key players of the early Studio Glass movement.
By single-handedly revolutionizing the craft of stained glass through her unique aesthetic and inventive approach to materials, Judith Schaechter championed her medium into the world of fine art. The content of her work - which gives voice to those who experience pain, grief, despair, and hopelessness - resonates with viewers, leaving a profound and lasting impression.
In 1983, Schaechter graduated with a BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design Glass Program and moved to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where she is now an adjunct professor at The University of the Arts. Her current work was on view in October 2016 at Claire Oliver galley in New York City, in an exhibition titled The Life Ecstatic.
Schaechter's exhibition history includes the 2002 Whitney Biennial and a collateral exhibition of the Venice Biennale in 2012. Her work can be found in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum in New York; the Victoria and Albert Museum in London; the Hermitage in Russia; the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; The Corning Museum of Glass, Corning, New York; and The Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC.
Schaechter found success early and has sustained it throughout her career. In 2008 she was named a USA Artists Rockefeller Fellow and in 2013 was inducted to the American Craft Council College of Fellows. She is the recipient of many grants including the Guggenheim Fellowship, two National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships, and The Louis Comfort Tiffany Award, to name but a few.
Bob Leatherbarrow established Leatherbarrow Glass Studio in Calgary in 1988 and has created original kilnformed glass ever since. Known for his innovative styles, techniques, and designs, he has taken an experimental approach to developing unique textures and colour palettes using glass powders. His glass bowls and sculptures explore the subtle hues and delicate beauty of naturally occurring textures and encourage the viewer to ponder their origin.In 2008 Leatherbarrow moved his studio to Salt Spring Island, British Columbia, where he continues to make glass art and write e-books on his signature techniques. The artist has also been a popular instructor on both the national and international kilnformed glass scenes. Join us for this fascinating conversation with Leatherbarrow about his techniques and aesthetic approach to kiln formed glass.
How Ginny Ruffner responded to extreme physical and emotional duress is as telling about her internal drive and strength of character as her most impressive artwork. At a crescendo in her carreer, in 1991 an auto accident nearly took the artistís life. But in cheating death, Ruffner was rewarded with an intensified and broader creative life resulting in everything from groundbreaking works of glass art, to pop-up books, large-scale sculpture, and mind-blowing public art.
One of the most creative and beloved American artists working in glass, Ruffnerís distinguished career spans more than three decades. She is responsible for redefining flameworked glass - previously known as a street fair process used to create tchotchkes and trinkets ñ into a sculptural medium for fine art. Ruffner has had 74 solo shows, several hundred group shows, and her work is in 53 permanent museum and public collections around the world. Seattle public art installations include a 30-foot tall kinetic water feature downtown and a permanent installation in the Seattle Art Museumís Olympic Sculpture Park.
Featured in countless articles, Ruffner was the subject of a film, A Not So Still Life, which premiered at the Seattle Film Festival in May 2010. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Libensky award from the Pilchuck Glass School, an Honorary Lifetime Achievement award from the Glass Art Society, and a grant and Visual Artist Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Ruffner is currently working on several major commissions for public spaces, including one in downtown Seattle. Her current work is mostly focused on large-scale organic sculptures combining glass and bronze and a major museum exhibition of this series is currently touring the U.S.
Tom Holdman currently faces the biggest challenge of his career ñ how to depict thousands of years of world history in the 200-foot stained glass wall his studio is creating for Utah Valley University (UVU) in Orem, Utah. Holdman, artist and CEO of Holdman Studios, is a man on a mission, determined to complete all 80 panels for his masterwork, Roots of Knowledge (RoK), by the end of October 2016. His monumental masterpiece depicts the most important advances in human knowledge and civilization, inspiring individuals to reach their full potential while illuminating stained glass as one of the highest art forms on earth.
On the cover of Glass Art magazine's July August 2016 issue.
Ben Sharp’s artistic focus developed out of his longtime fascination with early aeronautics and the history of navigation. In developing his sculptural style, Sharp drew from engineering, geometry and mapping, and studies of proportion, balance, and light. His visually captivating and seemingly weightless sculptures incite a nostalgic sense of adventure.
Avoiding trite whimsy, Sharp juxtaposes industrial metal with centuries-old cane techniques to subtly reference the stitched netting and structures of hydrogen air balloons, zeppelins, and dirigibles. His work refers not only to flight, but alludes to the mysteries of science and the journeys of the human imagination.
Originally from Gainesville, Florida, Ben Sharp lives in Stanwood, Washington. He is currently Head Studio Technician at Pilchuck Glass School. Prior to joining Pilchuck’s team six years ago, he gained diverse experience working in fabrication at the National Casting Center Foundry, on scientific glassblowing projects for NASA, and in color production at Bullseye Glass Co. He earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts in 2006 from Alfred University, and he has taught at GoggleWorks Center for the Arts, and The Studio at Corning Museum of Glass. In 2012, he completed a Visiting Artist Residency at Museum of Glass-Tacoma, and this year (2015) received a Juror’s Choice Award by Spokane Arts.
Nicholas Parrendo’s Labor of Love
“Stained glass is put together with lead, and lead is flexible to allow the glass to contract and expand. If you want to live a long life, you’ve got to be flexible.”
Artist and owner of Hunt Stained Glass Studios in Pittsburg,Pennsylvania, Nicholas Parrendo spent his career in service to the studio and the multitudes of churches and synagogues for which he designed and fabricated or restored stained glass windows. His absolute reverence for the craft he undertook as young man is evident in his artwork as well as the many related endeavors he participated in throughout his career that spanned more than six decades.
Parrendo exhibited work for and is a member of both the American Glass Guild (AGG) and the Stained Glass Association of America (SGAA). He was presented with both organization’s Lifetime Achievement Award – SGAA’s in 1999 and AGG’s in 2009. As a senior advisor for the AGG, Parrendo participated in the organization’s conferences and exhibitions. In 2012, when AGG’s conference was held in Pittsburgh, Parrendo hosted an intensive painting workshop at his studio.
He delighted in presenting slide shows and lectures for various organizations and schools, taking the opportunity to encourage others to share in his passion for stained glass. He was a guest lecturer at several SGAA summer conferences as well as a master instructor of stained glass for the Life Long Learning Program of Carnegie Mellon University. He taught at the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; the Pioneer Crafts Council, Farmington, Pennsylvania; and at St. Michael’s Institute on Enders Island, Mystic, Connecticut.
Parrendo passed away February 11, 2016. He worked six days a week into his 80s, starting every morning at his church, St. Cyril of Alexandria on Brighton Road, attending morning Mass, doing readings, and leading hymns.
"I think my father possesses more than talent when it comes to stained glass. It’s more like a special gift," says daughter, Celeste Parrendo. “He has such a passionate love for what he does.”
Enjoy this special interview from the archives of Glass Art magazine.
On May 12, 2016 at Chihuly Garden and Glass in Seattle, Washington, a full capacity audience of 275 guests attended Pilchuck Celebrates and toasted the 2016 winners, one of whom was master glass artist, Dante Marioni, The world renowned glassblower was awarded The Libenský | Brychtová Award, which acknowledges extraordinary talent and high achievement in the world of contemporary glass. On this episode of Talking Out Your Glass, Marioni discusses his early history, when glassblowing evolved into a serious passion, and how his mentors, including father Paul Marioni, helped shape his career in glass.
In this interview from Glass Art magazine's archives, Tina Oldknow, former Curator of Modern and Contemporary Glass at The Corning Museum of Glass, discusses the museum's new Art + Design Wing. She also reveals her criteria for Rakow Commission award recipients and how museum donations were secured and incorporated into CMOG's collection. Part 2 of 2.
See Glass Art magazine's article in the November December 2015 issue.
See the accompanying article in Glass Art magazine's November December 2015 issue.
Episode 6: Benjamin Belgrad’s Glass Gives Back
The Big D.R.M.S. Project
Winning a piece of handblown glass at a raffle encouraged Benjamin Glazer Belgrad to begin working with borosilicate glass. The altruistic nature and influence of his family inspired the 26-year-old artist to turn his glass art into a philanthropic pursuit. Through his Big D.R.M.S. Project, Belgrad sells handcrafted glass cups made in collaboration with other artists around the country. The lathe worker also produces and sells a solo line of whiskey glasses, from which he donates 15 percent of the sale price to a given charity. These 12-oz. glasses magnify a color representing each charitable organization in the bottom of the cup.
Collaborating artists include: Ryan Coon, David Cowen, Robby Adolph (Slob), Terry Sharp, Emily Marie, Big Z, Corey Davie, Don Chile Ortega, and Banjo, who donated a stem for each charity and will be using his name and social media to promote the project to his 100k followers.
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Freely sharing his knowledge of the techniques he learned in Venice, Marquis demonstrated and taught throughout the United States, Europe, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand. The effect of Venetian glassblowing techniques on American studio glass enabled glass artists to expand their technical vocabularies and, combined with new and experimental approaches, led to the redefinition of glass as an artistic medium.
See accompanying article in Glass Art’s May June 2016 issue.
If Richard Marquis were a musician he’d be a cross between Neil Young and Warren Zevon, beloved for the unique beauty of their perception and revered for their ability to express and understand things other people don’t, can’t, or choose not to. The music of Marquis’ murrine is as much about its unconventional and independent maker as it is about the visual poetry that leaves you satisfied yet anxiously awaiting his next piece.
See accompanying article in Glass Art’s May June 2016 issue.
The biggest deterrent to people donating funds to charitable organizations is the fear that their money will not reach those in need but be squandered on overhead and administrative costs. This motivated Dr. Laura Schlessinger, America's number one relationship talk show host, to seek out Operation Family Fund (OFF), a private, non-profit, volunteer, charitable organization benefitting military veterans. An avid glass enthusiast, Dr. Laura devised a plan to use her glass art to raise money for OFF. Her online Mother's Day Boutique sale of fused glass and jewelry takes place April 27 - May 2, 2016.
See the May June 2016 issue of Glass Art magazine for the accompanying article.
Editor of Glass Art magazine Shawn Waggoner interviews internationally respected artist Narcissus Quagliata. What was it like to design and create a dome for Michaelangelo’s Santa Maria Basilica? Quagliata also answers questions about his sources of artistic inspiration, how he achieved artistic success, and how he survived artistic failure. The artist describes his upcoming book of poetry and drawings… as a “striptease.”
See the May June 2013 issue of Glass Art magazine for the accompanying article.
Editor of Glass Art magazine Shawn Waggoner interviews internationally respected artist Narcissus Quagliata about his 2013 book, "Archetypes and Visions in Light and Glass." They discuss highlights from his 40 years of groundbreaking glass projects, including his work with the figure and public projects such as his Dome of Light in Taiwan. Just how did he conceive and execute one of the world’s largest stained glass domes?
See the May June 2013 issue of Glass Art magazine for the accompanying article.
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