Biography: Toots Zynsky
Toots Zynsky (born Mary Ann Toots Zynsky) received her BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1973. In 1971, she assisted Dale Chihuly and others in the founding and early development of Pilchuck Glass School. From 1980 to 1983, she was a key participant in the rebuilding and development of the second New York Experimental Glass Workshop, now UrbanGlass. While living in Europe in the late 80s and 90s, Zynsky collaborated with Mathijs Teunissen Van Manen to create a glass thread-pulling machine. During these years, she developed her unique “filet-de-verre” technique. Among other awards, she has been a recipient of two National Endowment for the Arts grants and the Pell Award for Excellence in the Arts in 2006. Zynsky’s work is represented in more than 70 museum collections around the world. In the words of Tina Oldknow, curator of modern glass at the Museum, “She is one of a small, core group of pioneering artists who made contemporary glass a worldwide phenomenon, and her distinctive kiln-formed vessels enjoy widespread popularity for their often magnificent, and always unique, explorations in color.”
In 2016, Zynsky was selected as the third artist for a new specialty glass residency program offered by The Corning Museum of Glass and Corning Incorporated. Her residency followed others by metal sculptor Albert Paley from 2014-2015, and glass artist Tom Patti in 2015.
During her Specialty Glass Residency, Zynsky worked extensively at Corning Incorporated’s research facility Sullivan Park. “I am approaching this residency with great curiosity and a wide open mind as to the new possibilities I am about to encounter upon my first visit with the scientists and engineers I will be collaborating with at Corning in the specialty glass research center,” said Zynsky. “As I learn more, I am sure it will ignite new ideas and experimentation for my work.”