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.
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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.
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.