We set out on a family outing on New Year's Eve to the Museum of Glass to check out their last Fire and Ice demonstration of 2017. We are members and I've seen some really cool things made in the hot shop over the years. Many moons ago, dad visited the Corning Museum of Glass where during a special event they poured liquid glass into large blocks of ice and he's gone on about it over a decade now so I was looking forward to seeing this locally.
The scale might not have been exactly as I had hoped but that didn't make it any less interesting. As opposed to an amorphous glass blob as a result, the ice was used to add texture on the outside of the glass surface. I'm always stuck by how strong glassworkers/blowers forearms must be to continually rotate and carry essentially a semi-fluid weight on the end of a metal rod all day long, day in and day out. Whew!
Every time we go to the museum, our son gets excited about the Kid's Design Glass Program. This time was no exception so we bounced over to the Education Studio after leaving the hot shop and he took the opportunity to do a little bit of character creation. If you aren't familiar with the program, children under 12 are encouraged to draw anything they want and to submit that drawing to be interpreted as a piece of glass artwork. Two are made, the child gets to keep one and the other goes to the museum's Kid's Design Glass collection. There's a hallway at the museum that has ten or so pieces on permanent display.
If you haven't visited the museum lately or ever for that matter, I would encourage anyone to go as the current rotating exhibits are of a combined uniqueness and quality that eclipses anything I've seen there before. The Michael E. Taylor, Traversing Parallels exhibit is wonderful. The word that best describes the work is architectural. Each piece has a wonderful sense of movement about it. As you move the facets and lines of color shift as the view angle changes creating a shifting visual geometry. The Complementary Contrasts: The Glass and Steel Sculptures of Albert Paley exhibit stands as a contrast to Taylor's exacting structure. I'm sure very purposeful, none the less the overall sense of the combined metal and glass is very free-form and steampunk. I got a sense that I was looking at the embryos of some hybrid race of metallic beings or coral chunks from the seas of Cybertron (I know the Transformers reference dates me.) You mix these two with a smattering of Chihuly pieces and you have a well rounded presentation indeed.
Well, I hadn't intended to essentially pitch the Museum of Glass but reading back over this I certainly did just that. Why not? We are lucky to have such a great museum at our doorsteps and with the added benefit that it is also a working venue with new artwork being created constantly. Can't make it in person or just don't want to spend the money, well you can watch them live on their website through Hot Shop Live.
A couple of notes about camera gear, you can bring a professional camera into both the museum and the Hot Shop. Tripods, monopods, and the like are however reasonably prohibited. For the Hot Shop, I would recommend something in the 70-200mm range to zoom in on the details of the artists working so a telephoto is a good idea although it is reasonably dark so handheld can be tricky with that. Walk around the backside so you can take in the view from a slightly overhead angle too. For the exhibits, the 24-70mm range works well as you can get quite close to the work. Please be mindful of your surroundings and other guests if you are shooting as I for one am really grateful for their more open camera policy and would appreciate that to continue.
Happy New Year all! Blessings to you and yours in 2018.
Until next time,
“If you treat glass right, it doesn't crack. If you know the properties, you can make things; the color of dusk and night and love. But you can't control people like that and I really, really wish you could. I want the world to be glass.”