who believes in fairies, those forms and figures that dart among dewy flowers, their wings shimmering in sunlight. Yes, standing there amidst all that light, I could almost believe.
Some glass sculptures were crystal clear, others translucent, and some were opaque. Some were small and displayed on pedestals, others were at eye-level arrangements on the wall, and a few were free-standing. Stated one artist, “The range of translucence and the varied reflective surfaces, the clarity of crystal, and the icy gloss of sand-textured glass all create enclosed spaces within the polished structures.”
I’d seen Chihuly’s work many times, but it’s always a treat to note the intricacies of his forms, his Persians, Macchias, and other designs. I had to look up the word “Macchia,” since several “with a rim of orange” or “a rim of blue” or black were featured. According to Internet information, “Chihuly began the Macchia series in 1981, with the desire to use all 300 colors in his hotshop, and named the series after asking his friend Italo Scanga the word for ‘spot’ in Italian. Each work is speckled with color, which comes from rolling the molten glass in small shards of colored glass during the blowing process.”
Along with the Chihuly pieces, the Museum exhibited the 43rd International Studio Glass Invitational Award Winners. That exhibit was organized by Habatat Galleries, one of the oldest and largest galleries in America “devoted exclusively to artists working with glass as their medium.” It was a thrill to see the works by Peter Bremers, especially his “Circumstances IV,” a circular blue and white glass form that looked like a large free- standing wheel. It was almost the size of a bicycle tire, and the process used was kiln cast glass.
I also took note of the pieces by Martin Blanks, one of North America’s premier figurative sculptors, and the forms by Steven Weinberg. Another artist whose pieces caught my eye was Martin Rosol, the Czech glassmaker. He learned his trade in a company school set up to train craftsmen to execute limited edition designs for art glass manufacturers. One striking sculpture, a deep blue glass form, reminded me of two large sails.
Christina Bothwell’s figures “capture dreams and the concept of birth, life, death, and rebirth.” She explained she gets inspiration from watching her children. The accompanying video of her at work added much to her solo exhibit. Bothwell’s “Lucky in Love” figure was so compelling that I found myself staring at the girl’s face, trying to discern her thoughts, rather than focusing on the fact that she was constructed of glass and clay.
I have a friend who works with glass, In fact, I have two. One does large stained glass installations in hospitals, churches, and conference centers. She studied in Germany. My other friend, I’ll call him Mark, took up glassblowing a few years ago, studying, attending workshops, and classes. Because of his talent and affinity for the medium, he already has produced some- award winning pieces. I won’t be surprised if someday I find his work in one of the Habatat Galleries.
Writers and artists, whether working with molten glass or with words, discover the process takes time, talent, hard work, and lots of luck. Sometimes our works shine. Sometimes our works are heavy like clay. Whatever the case, the “Summer of Glass” was enjoyable and educational, and I’m glad I went. CEO and Chief Curator Charles Shepard should be proud of this exhibit of works from the finest studio glass artists in the world. “With their architectural forms designed to receive and contain illumination, they are indeed monuments to the light.”
Afterwards, I stopped at a Greek restaurant and enjoyed a cup of “avgolemono” soup. It seemed to be the right ending to an afternoon, as brilliant as the cut-glass bowls, goblets, and decanters in the Museum’s “Decorative Arts” display.