Wednesday marks the opening of the Glass Art Society's 42nd annual conference, held mostly in SeaGate Convention Centre and the Toledo Museum of Art through June 16. Expected are 1,200 glass artists and connoisseurs for seminars, glass-blowing demonstrations, and talks.
The conference is not open to the public but some events are, including the free Gallery Hop from 6:30 to 10:30 p.m. June 15, with buses shuttling people from downtown to the museum and 30 galleries in other locations.
Art of glass comes full circle in Toledo by Brian P. Kennedy, director of the Toledo Museum of Art
When Harvey Littleton conducted a glass-blowing workshop in a garage on the grounds of the Toledo Museum of Art in March, 1962, he certainly had ambitions for glass as a sculptural medium, but he could not have anticipated the astounding international impact of this workshop and a second one that followed in June. Few artistic movements can trace their origins to a specific time and place as can the American studio glass movement. Although not many of the workshop participants went on to become glass artists themselves, the results of the Toledo workshops inspired a generation of artists to explore glass as a medium for expression. his year, the 50th anniversary of those seminal workshops is being celebrated at institutions across the country, including here at the museum that hosted them.
A shining moment: Workshop held locally in 1962 paved the way for an artistic movement by Tahree Lane, Blade staff writer
The tale of 20th century studio glass is a stew of inexplicable passion, technology, and countless innovations. At the heart of its beginnings is a man with an insatiable curiosity for glass, stemming, no doubt, from his father, a scientist who developed Pyrex in 1915 and often took his boy to work with him at Corning Glass Works. The son, Harvey Littleton, disappointed his father by not becoming a physicist. He wanted to make beautiful objects from glass, which his father insisted could not be done by an individual in a studio. Glass, he said, could only be made by a team of skilled craftsmen working in huge factory furnaces capable of generating tremendous heat. The technology simply did not exist.
Letters from the 1962 workshop by Tom McGlauchlin, attendee of the 1962 event
Tom McGlauchlin was 27 and teaching ceramics classes at Cornell College in Mount Vernon, Iowa, when he heard from Harvey Littleton about a workshop at the Toledo Museum of Art to explore artistic glassmaking. Mr. McGlauchlin had been Mr. Littleton's lab assistant for the previous two years at the University of Wisconsin, where he'd earned bachelor's and master's degrees in art. He met his wife, Pat Smith McGlauchlin, in Mr. Littleton's ceramic class. Pat McGlauchlin, 22, was pregnant with their first child at the time of the March, 1962, workshop. She would have attended but figured they couldn't afford the $30 fee for each of them. Postage was 4 cents when he wrote these letters to his wife during the workshop. The letters provide insight into the first workshop five decades ago. Mr. McGlauchlin died in 2011.
The evolution of studio glass: a timeline by Tahree Lane, Blade staff writer
How a brilliant form of art gained shape from a humble start by Jutta-Annette Page, Toledo Museum of Art's curator of glass and decorative art
In the mid-20th century, at a time rife with the spirit of experimentation, glass beckoned artists with the freshness of unexplored territory. Glass in its many manifestations promised brilliant color as glossy and saturated as that of wet paint, but with greater luminosity and plasticity, both of which were yet uncharted for artistic expression. Up to the early 1940s, the typical perception of glass came from its use as an industrial material applied to mostly functional and decorative objects, conceived by trained glass designers, and made in quantity by skilled glass craftsmen.
Conference to close with sparkling fashion show by RoNeisha Mullen, Blade staff writer
Dresses and gowns, rare head pieces, and one-of-a-kind lingerie will appear on the runway in one of the most unusual fashion shows imaginable. Models will strut the catwalk wearing unique designs in bright colors and odd shapes made from a material least likely to be associated with clothing -- glass. The Glass Fashion Show will take place at 8:30 p.m. Saturday at Huntington Center. The private event will close out the 2012 Glass Art Society Conference. Supporters of the Arts Commission of Greater Toledo can purchase wristbands for the event for $50 through Wednesday.
Toledo still proudly wears title of 'Glass City' by Rose Russell, Blade staff writer
Sixty-two years ago, Paul Block, Jr., co-publisher of The Blade, received a glass key to the city of Toledo on Glass Day, which Mr. Block said was the most important day in the city's history because it marked Toledo as the glass center of the world. That day was the opening of the new Union Station, now the Martin Luther King, Jr., Plaza. A 50-by-4-foot glass mural with the image of a map that put Toledo at the center of the world was unveiled at the station. The mural remains and it continues to boast, "Toledo, glass center of the world." In a Sept. 22, 1950, Blade news story about the unveiling, headlines stated: "Mural Unveiled In Station As Highlight of Glass Day -- Huge Map To Be Constant Reminder That Toledo Is Center Of Industry."
Days of Glass celebrations open to public by RoNeisha Mullen
While many of the events during the 2012 Glass Arts Conference are exclusively for Glass Arts Society members, Toledo and its neighbors will celebrate all things glass during the Days of Glass celebration on Wednesday and June 17. The Toledo Day of Glass Wednesday will include everything from demonstrations and exhibitions to fund-raisers and these activities are open to the public.