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The Golden Anniversary of Studio Art Glass

Harvey K. Littleton; Ruby Conical Intersection with Amber Sphere, 1984.
10.75 x 7.6 x 3.75 in. Image courtesy of Corning Museum of Glass.

The year 2012 marks the 50th anniversary of the studio art glass movement in America, and the Washington Craft Show (Nov. 16-18) celebrates with a series of events designed to pay homage to the founder of the movement, Harvey K. Littleton (born June 14, 1922).

Littleton’s daughter, Maurine, will bring to the show a special exhibit, which will include work by her father and other notable glass artists.

Professor and author Joan Falconer Byrd will also be on hand to sign copies of her recently released book, Harvey K. Littleton: A Life in Glass: Founder of America’s Studio Glass Movement (Rizzoli).

The show will also give visitors a look at the evolution of the studio glass movement, with a lecture by noted contemporary glass artist Josh Simpson and daily screenings of “A Not so Still Life: The Ginny Ruffner Story.”

Harvey K. Littleton. Image courtesy of Corning Museum of Glass.

TOLEDO MUSEUM OF ART STUDIO GLASS WORKSHOP 1962. Image courtesy of Corning Museum of Glass.

The American Studio Glass Movement can trace its origins to a pair of glass workshops held at the Toledo Museum of Art in 1962. The workshops were led by Harvey K. Littleton, who introduced, along with scientist Dominick Labino, a small furnace built for glass-making that allowed artists to work alone, and that made it possible to shift production from a sizeable factory setting with numerous assistants to a studio setting.

With the introduction of that small furnace, a movement was born – one that has captivated the hearts and minds of collectors and art lovers the world over.

Dominick Labino. Image courtesy of Corning Museum of Glass.

Following the success of those initial workshops, Littleton would go on to establish a glass program at the University of Wisconsin. He was followed by Marvin Lipofsky, who introduced a glass program at the California College of the Arts.

The movement continued to grow with the establishment of a glass program at the Rhode Island School of Design, led by artist Dale Chihuly.

Since 1962, glass art has become a popular and exciting medium for museums, galleries, collectors, artists and students. Unique glass sculptural art is found all over the United States in museums, hotels, cruise liners, botanical gardens, parks, restaurants and many other notable public spaces.

MEET THE AUTHOR

Professor and author Joan Falconer Byrd (Harvey K. Littleton: A Life in Glass: Founder of America’s Studio Glass Movement -Rizzoli Publications), will sign copies of her book at the Washingotn Craft Show Friday, November 16 – 5pm-8pm and Saturday, November 17 – noon-2pm.

FRIDAY LECTURE WILL EXPLORE LIFE AND WORK OF HARVEY K. LITTLETON

Professor Byrd will also present, along with Maurine Littleton, a lecture and visual presentation on Friday, November 17 detailing Harvey Littleton’s life and work.   Byrd teaches ceramics at the College of Fine and Performing Arts, Western Carolina University, in Cullowhee, North Carolina. A member of Littleton’s first glassblowing class at the University of Wisconsin in 1962, she is the author of numerous essays and articles on glass and ceramics.

DAILY SCREENINGS OF “A NOT SO STILL LIFE”

Daily screenings of “A Not So Still Life: The Ginny Ruffner Story.” Friday & Saturday – 5pm; Sunday – 10am.

In keeping with the theme of The Golden Anniversary of Studio Art Glass in America, a documentary titled “A Not So Still Life: The Ginny Ruffner Story” will be shown daily, with screenings at 5pm on Friday and Saturday and 10am on Sunday.  Ginny Ruffner can’t be summed up in one word, but the most commonly used term is “inspiring”.   A world-renowned artist at the age of 39, she was involved in a near fatal car accident, which left her in a coma for five weeks and confined to a hospital for five months.  Doctors were convinced that she would never walk or talk again, but true to her indomitable spirit, Ruffner transformed a potentially tragic accident into a career of even more imaginative creations.

LECTURE BY JOSH SIMPSON

Josh Simpsom “Megaplanet.” Solid spherical glass sculpture of an imaginary Planet with filigrana cane and precious metals.
Dimensions: 12″X 12″ W X 12″ Image courtesy of the artist.

Internationally renowned and exhibited glass artist Josh Simpson, whose glass sculptures of the seas, skies and heavens are celebrated for their extraordinary beauty, will discuss his work and his artistic process Sunday, November 18 at 1pm.

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