31 October 2012

Come for the Renwick Symposium, Stay For The Glass!

The Smithsonian Renwick Gallery hosts a symposium held in conjunction with the exhibition 40 under 40: Craft Futures. November 8 and 9, 2012.
This free symposium is open to the public, and no registration is required.This symposium will examine craft’s increasingly urgent role within contemporary American culture.
Coinciding with the fortieth anniversary of the Renwick Gallery as the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s branch museum for contemporary craft and decorative arts, this program seeks to broaden the dialogue surrounding craft’s recent histories, and to articulate rapid changes to the field since the beginning of the current century. Research presented by both senior and emerging scholars will complicate our understanding of modern craft as a response to mass culture, and probe the evolution of the field beyond the studio movement. Themes include: the politics of craft within the museum, new directions in technology and education, craft at war, converging practices in craft and contemporary art, changing aesthetics, craft’s role in industry, and the burgeoning DIY movement. For more information on the symposium – click HERE to jump to the Smithsonian website.

Symposium: Nation Building: Craft and Contemporary American Culture McEvoy Auditorium, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington,DC. - November 8 and 9, 2012 Hey Folks.... If you are coming to DC to participate in the Renwick Craft Symposium with Nicholas Bell on the 8th and 9th of November, we’d love to meet you! Many of you are staying over the weekend, so please join us for donuts and coffee at a Meet and Greet at the Washington Glass School. This is the studio where Tim Tate, Michael Janis and Erwin Timmers and other studio artists work from and is ground zero for the Glass Secessionism movement. We are a 15 minute drive from the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Let us know if you need a ride. We can pick folks up and drop them back. There is also tons of parking right in front of the glass studio. We would love to see you there!
What: Meet and Greet for Symposium attendees and friends.
Where: The Washington Glass School 3700 Otis St. Mt. Rainier, Md. 20817 202-744-8222 When: Saturday, November 10th from 10am to 12 noon.

25 October 2012

Area Artists Exhibit at SOFA Chicago 2012

Gateway artists and their work will be amongst crowds at the international  art show SOFA CHICAGO, the annual arts expo devoted to Sculpture Objects and Functional Art (SOFA). Celebrating its 19th year, SOFA CHICAGO is one of the world's foremost contemporary art fairs, featuring nearly 70 art galleries and dealers from 10 countries along with special exhibits by renowned museums, universities and arts organizations, and an extensive lecture series.
Gateway Arts Featured at the SOFA include:
"Unhemmed" Ani Kasten, ceramic, reclaimed wood,  plaster, photo by anythingphoto.net
Ceramic artist Ani Kasten will have her work at Massachusetts’ Lacoste Gallery space (#508). Ani’s ceramic and mixed media work takes their influence from nature as well as the nature of change. 
"Skyline", Ani Kasten, ceramic, reclaimed wood, plaster, photo by anythingphoto.net
Infused with a modern, minimal aesthetic, her - amazingly structured and unstructured at the same time - work references the built world as well as reminding one of a natural or ancient object exposed to the rigors of time.
Glass Artists Allegra Marquart and Michael Janis are both featured at Georgetown’s Maurine Littleton Gallery space (#408).
"Gecko Gets Told" Allegra Marquart, sandcarved fused glass and enamel, photo by anythingphoto.net
Allegra Marquarts’ colorful artwork delights in storytelling and mines fables and fairy tale for both content and imagery. Allegra sandcarves the panels of glass she fuses at the Washington Glass School, working on both sides of the glass slabs, playing with the translucent quality of the medium.
3 separate works - "Flying in Place", "Lessons Learned and Unlearned", "The Optimism of Language", Michael Janis, fused glass imagery, silver and steel, photo by anythingphoto.net
Michael Janis’ glass sculpture works are also at Maurine Littleton Gallery space His new works show how perceptions are based on perspective, where the mirrored glass cylinders refigure the distorted glass frit images into new shapes. 
"Flying in Place" Michael Janis, photo by anythingphoto.net
Both Allegra and Michael work from the Washington Glass School, located in Mount Rainier, MD. 
"21st Century Dadaism", Tim Tate, cast glass, video, electronics, photo by anythingphoto.net
detail "21st Century Dadaism", Tim Tate
Another Washington Glass School artist – Tim Tate – is featured at Michigan’s Habatat Galleries space (#1100). Tim’s incredible mixed media works exploit the beauty of glass and invests it with a narrative that takes the work to a new level. One work – “21st Century Dadaism” incorporates video projection onto cast glass components, with the effect of producing a disembodied human face, created from the disjointed. If Dadaism had occurred today, it might have resembled this. 
"Vegetable Peddler And Her Son", Tim Tate, cast and blown glass, photo by anythingphoto.net
His other sculpture works, from a series he calls his “Cabinet of Curiosities”, incorporate cast glass elements made from the “lost wax” process are a delight in creating surreal worlds. This is a breakout year for Tim, whose work is currently on exhibit at Mesa, Arizona’s Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum.
Tim Tate in front of Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum, Mesa, AZ.
SOFA Chicago 2012 - Friday, Nov. 2 through Sunday, Nov. 4; Preview Thursday, Nov 1.
For more info - visit the SOFA Chicago website
SOFA Chicago at Navy Pier, 600 E. Grand Avenue, Chicago, IL

24 October 2012

Portland Comes to DC

L-R Audrey Wilson, Amy Ferber, Erwin Timmers, Sean Hennessey
Bullseye Glass Company representative, Amy Ferber pops into the Washington Glass School to check up on what’s happening on the other coast.
Amy approves the clothing choice.
Amy was in town giving demos and talking with many of the Mid Atlantic glass schools and studios. It is always great fun to see her and bring her up to date on what the WGS artists are doing with glass as a sculptural medium.
Amy tries on the glass school gladiator mascot outfit.
Amy likes what she sees.
She gives the big thumbs up approval!

19 October 2012

Can A Craftsperson Succeed Today?

American Craft Oct/Nov 2012 issue
It’s not realistic for most craftspeople to make a living working alone (on their craft). That was the provocative argument made by Garth Clark, award-winning historian, writer, dealer, and auction specialist in ceramic art, in the Oct/Nov American Craft Magazine. In the interview by Monica Moses, Garth urges crafters to emulate designers who partner with industry as a way to find success. American Craft asked him to elaborate in the interview – a few samples from the interview: 
You’ve said “the crafts are a threatened field,” suggesting that purely handmade work can’t compete with more scalable, cost-efficient work. What is threatening craft now? The big weakness is a failing economic studio model. Overheads rise constantly, but each maker has only two hands and can’t make more work to bring in more money. There is an output ceiling. This threat is self-imposed, coming from adherence to a medieval concept of craft and refusal to employ low-key industrial techniques to produce more inventory. Another threat: Craft galleries are withering and in some cases closing. Then, of course, there is the damage to the brand of craft done when institutions such as the flagship American Craft Museum [predecessor to the Museum of Arts and Design], drop the term craft and seek to join the fine arts world.

As you’ve suggested, for a number of years craftspeople aimed to be accepted in the fine art world, with limited success. Your view is that, in general, the design world is a more promising avenue for craftspeople. Why? Most crafters are not fine artists, even when they use fine art as their muse. The ones who have crossed over are about .0001 of the craft community. It’s a tiny handful: Ken Price, Josiah McElheny, Betty Woodman. The odds are hardly encouraging. On the other hand, designers and crafters do exactly the same thing; they make vases, jewelry, furniture, mugs, hats, fire irons. It’s exactly the same class of objects. Both are designed. The difference is the means of production: Crafters work by hand, while designers employ industry. Designers have learned to have it all – some unique works, some limited works, and some mass-produced works. Crafters can do the same. And the market is gigantic and growing.

What advice would you offer today’s aspiring craftsperson?
Decide what you want to be – be it fine artist, designer, or for that matter, crafter. And live there. If you believe you are, say, a sculptor and not a crafter, then the day you leave college, take the strengths of your craft education and head to a sculpture community and make your home there. Don’t remain in the relatively protected world of the crafts and whine that you are a misunderstood artist trapped in the craft world. Leave the nest, and learn to fly. 

Click here to jump to the full online version of the article – or look for in the Oct/Nov hard copy magazine at the shops. That American Craft issue also has a great review of the Smithsonian's 40 Under 40 Craft Futures exhibit.
Garth Clark at lecture on Ai Weiwei at University of Sunderland, March 2012
Garth Clark is one of the leading experts on design and craft. The blog has posted previous lectures that Garth has had on the changing nature of craft. 

While at the University of Sunderland, the WGS Fulbright directors were able to attend Garth Clark’s lecture on Ai Weiwei Ceramics. The lecture was most interesting and gave great insight into Ai Weiwei's work with clay.

17 October 2012

Congrats on Creative Cohesion Relaunch

Artists Phil Vickery and Roger Tye work in Creative Cohesion's hotshop.
Last spring, Washington Glass School Co-Directors Michael Janis and Tim Tate were in the UK on their Fulbright assignment to the University of Sunderland and the National Glass Centre. The guys also held workshops at the City of Sunderland’s professional artist center “Creative Cohesion”.
Fulbright Scholar Michael Janis introduces the Bullseye Roll-up technique to artists at Creative Cohesion.
UK artists gather for a talk with Fulbright Scholar Tim Tate at the Cohesion Center in March.
 Creative Cohesion is a center for creativity in Sunniside, Sunderland, providing not only studios for artists, but provision for community, arts and business activities, as well as a retail outlet for art. Creative Cohesion runs monthly workshops for professional creative practitioners and is home to graduates from the University of Sunderland who are recipients of the ‘Sunniside Graduate Scheme’.
The Creative Cohesion building was damaged by high winds that caused the adjacent building to collapse onto the center's roof  in April . 
Last Spring, high winds caused their neighboring building to collapse onto the center’s roof, resulting in a lot of damage. After months of disruption for the non-profit center and its tenants as the repair work was implemented, they are happy to be finally back in full working order, and are holding a Relaunch of the Center on Oct 18!
Artist Frank Styles was commissioned to create the visual graphics on the center's exterior shutters.
Their celebrations continue in welcoming new tenants, a new logo for the center, the launch of their new website and completion of the center's shutter artwork by graffiti artist Frank Styles.

There will be happy faces all round on the opening launch day with the building’s face lift, the opening of a new exhibition titled ‘Reconnection’ and entertainment with local glass blowers having a play day in the glass hotshop.

Congratulations to Creative Cohesion on making Sunderland a hotbed of creativity again!

Click HERE to jump Creative Cohesion's website.

Review < > Renew Exhibit Celebrates VisArts' 25th Anniversary

VisArts  - Rockville’s non-profit arts center is hosting a 25th anniversary celebration to recognize the many artists, teachers, partners and collaborators who have been integral to their success. As part of this celebration, VisArts presents Review < > Renew, co-curated by Judy  Greenberg and Jack Rasmussen. This group exhibition brings together renowned artists who brought critical regional success to the fledgling organization, Rockville Arts Place (RAP). The artists selected for the exhibition all exhibited at RAP while Greenberg was President of the Board and Rasmussen was Executive Director. The works will be shown in two galleries, the Kaplan and the Common Ground Galleries. 

In the Kaplan Gallery, works by Lisa Brotman, Manon Cleary, Sam Gilliam, Tom Green, Margarida Kendall, and Joe Shannon will be on display. Early paintings and more recent works by the artists will be exhibited alongside Paul Feinberg’s photographs of the artists 25 years ago and now. The paintings and photographs are accompanied by interviews with the artists conducted by Feinberg. An earlier version of this exhibition, inspired by the early RAP/VisArts shows, was recently exhibited at the American University Museum, Washington, DC. 

The Common Ground Gallery will feature outstanding artists important to the history of VisArts working in glass and clay, including Margaret Boozer, Robert Devers, Tim Tate, and Mindy Weisel. 

October 28 - December 29, 2012 
25th Anniversary Celebration (tickets required)
Saturday, October 27 from 7:30 – 10:30 pm
(VIP Reception at 5:30 with Curators' Tour)
(Free) Opening Reception Friday, November 9th from 7-9 pm

VisArts At Rockville / Kaplan & Common Ground Galleries
155 Gibbs Street, Rockville, MD  20850

16 October 2012

Report From Penland School of Craft

Penland School of Craft is a
center for craft education located in the Blue Ridge Mountains in Spruce Pine, North Carolina.
Tim Tate along with Sean Hennessey and  Rob Kincheloe have just returned from teaching a class at North Carolina's Penland School Of Craft for a fall session titled: 21st Century Reliquaries. Here are some comments and photos from the class.
The glass studio at Penland.
The guys said they hit the ground running on Monday working doing demonstrations on Rubber Mold Making, Wax Casting, Plaster/Silica Mold Making, Lost wax, Dry Plaster Casting, Painting Glass, Cutting Glass, Glass etching, Flameworking. 
Sean Hennessey outlines the process for Dry Plaster Casting to create bas-relief imagery.
Robert Kincheloe shows how wax components are used to create forms in the Lost Wax process.
The WGS team talked through ideas with students, help shape the directions of work, encouraged, excited, and admired all their interest and energy. 
Tim Tate outlines the process for creating personal reliquaries.
The class learned new techniques and worked at making artwork from the objects made.
Penland Boardmember Glen Hardymon shows off his new glass slippers made in the lost wax process.
Some surprises for the class - a special flamework demo by
Simone Crestani.
The class techniques taught included pretty much everything except glass blowing. But since the absolutely incredible glass artist Pablo Soto was teaching a glass blowing class in the next room, he had his class make domes for the reliquary class.
Pablo Soto's hot glass class blew the glass for the domes.
After the techniques were taught, learned, and employed, the part of the class where artists pulled it all together was explored - making the reliquaries. Stories of regret were created, stories of anger, stories of triumph, religion, lamenting the death of bees, cheering the death of squirrels, issues of money, sexuality, and hope were all created. 
After the students created their works, a "Show & Tell" exhibit.

Yes, thats a real (taxidermied) squirrel with a glass hand grenade.
The class made and presented Tim with a special reliquary. The "F" inside refers to Tim's prolific use of 'f-bombs' in his banter.
All in all a fantastic experiencefor all involved - we'd highly recommend taking a class there!

15 October 2012

Dragging From He to She -or- "How did Michael become Micaela?"

The wax figures show how our butchie-boy Michael Janis would look like as a girly-girl.
Washington Glass School blog outlines the transformation in "The Process" series.
Bit of back story  - Tim Tate is working on new cast glass sculptures and he often models the imagery on objects that he is compelled by. Tim had made a casting of Washington Glass School co-director Michael Janis previously, created to be an element in the collaborative work that he and Marc Petrovic had made in their work Seven Deadly Sins - as the top finial to the sin of  “Envy”.
Tim Tate & Marc Petrovic "Envy"
Tim wanted to create a cast glass, and he uses the lost wax process to form his elements. As the scale was similar, the original mold of Michael’s head was correct, but he needed to transform from dude to dudette. 
Michael Janis' mugshot.
A wax mold of the original “Michael” undergoes ‘the chop’ to the has the extraneous bits – losing his soul patch and porkpie hat.
Original clay figure of Michael's head.
Michael's head as cast in green glass in  top finial to "Envy"
The hat is replaced with a perky new ‘do, the lips are made fuller, and Michael’s chiseled features softened.
The wax head is modified, with a new perky 'do replacing the pork pie hat. And the soul patch is removed as the lips become softer and fuller.
The new wax Micaela is covered in plaster/silica and the wax melted out. The mold is then filled with glass and fired in the kiln. After annealing, the plaster is removed, and Micaela is revealed in her glory.
The new head in wax. Next, a plaster/silica slurry is poured around the head, hardened and the wax melted out. The form is then loaded into a kiln and glass melted into the void.
After firing, the molds are removed and the glass divested.
The new Michael... or is it Micaela?
 Other artists have dabbled in cross-dressing – notably:
Mick Jagger,  Andy Warhol,  Bugs Bunny
Ok - to finish out the blog post - The Kinks performing "Lola"