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Artist Robert Mickelson works on pieces of leaves made of glass Artist Robert Mickelson works on pieces of leaves made of glass which will be part of a glass sculpture shaped as a bowl during a demonstration during the GAS convention.
Artist Robert Mickelson works on pieces of leaves made of glass which will be part of a glass sculpture shaped as a bowl during a demonstration during the GAS convention.
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Published: Sunday, 6/17/2012 - Updated: 2 years ago

42nd Annual Glass Conference combines passion, artistry and beauty

BY ROD LOCKWOOD
BLADE STAFF WRITER

The Glass Art Society’s 42nd Annual Conference this past week brought together passion, artistry, and delicate beauty in a glorious burst of creative energy and enthusiasm.

Joan Freedman, of Worcester, Mass., left; Peter Lewnes, of Allentown, Penn.; and Marian Burke, of Greenwich, Conn.; in the first round of the goblet grab. Joan Freedman, of Worcester, Mass., left; Peter Lewnes, of Allentown, Penn.; and Marian Burke, of Greenwich, Conn.; in the first round of the goblet grab.
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Glass aficionados of all ages and from far reaches of the globe — places like Australia, Italy, Sweden, and Japan — shared techniques and secrets of an ancient craft. They gathered to celebrate studio glass, a medium that came into its own just 50 years ago, born in Toledo by a handful of committed artists who pushed technology to the limit in pursuit of creativity.

Producing glass art requires attention to detail, an understanding of chemistry, physical strength, a tolerance for heat (and the occasional burn), and a willingness to invest endless hours. Pioneers such as Paul Stankard and Bertil Vallien shared their stories with people uniquely attuned to their work. When you hold a glass orb from someone such as Mr. Stankard in your hands, you’re not just feeling its weight. When you study one of Mr. Vallien’s sand-casted sculptures, you’re not just gazing at something intriguing. You’re in touch with the artist’s soul.

PHOTO GALLERY: Glass Art Society Conference

There was plenty of art to go around for the general public, too: dozens of galleries shimmering with glass, the downtown Gallery Hop that took place on a glorious Friday evening, the fund-raising Goblet Grab, talks, and the opening of Color Ignited: 1962-2012 in the Toledo Museum of Art’s new $3 million Wolfe Gallery for Contemporary Art.

The week culminated in a blast of fun at Saturday night’s big, let-your-hair-down, shake-your-glass-dress fashion show and party.

It was a time for the Glass City to shine.

VIEW, DOWNLOAD: Toledo Magazine: A week to shine


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