Exhibitions Podcast Episode 2: Tiffany Treasures - February 10, 2010

The Corning Museum of Glass presents Tiffany Treasures: %%Favrile%% Glass from Special Collections, an exhibition featuring blown-glass works by Tiffany Studios, on view at the Museum through October 31, 2010 and Tiffany Treasures: Design Drawings by Alice Gouvy and Lillian Palmié, featuring recently restored design drawings by two of Tiffany's women designers (on view through April 30, 2010).

For more info about these and other exhibits, visit www.cmog.org.

In this podcast, Bill Gudenrath, the Museum's resident adviser to The Studio and a glass historian, interviews the Museum's (now former) curator of American glass, Jane Shadel Spillman, and (now former) head librarian of the Museum's Rakow Research Library, Diane Dolbashian.

Gudenrath: Hello, I’m Bill Gudenrath, resident adviser at The Studio of The Corning Museum of Glass and we’re here to talk about Tiffany today with two of my colleagues from the Museum: Jane Spillman and Diane Dolbashian. Jane, what do you do at the Museum?

Spillman: I’m Jane Shadel Spillman and I’m the curator of American glass at the Museum. I deal mostly with before 20th century but I do come into the early 20th century with Tiffany and, and other glassmakers of that period.

Gudenrath: I see, and we have a temporary exhibition up that I believe you curated.

Spillman: Yes. It’s called Tiffany Treasures: %%Favrile%% Glass form Special Collections and it’s borrowed from two local museums.

Gudenrath: Wonderful. And you said a name that I’ve never really understood: Favrile glass. What on earth does that mean? I’ve never understood that.

Spillman: Well, it’s what Tiffany called his blown glass vessels. He started out calling them Fabrile, F-A-B-R-I-L-E, which is based on a Latin word for handmade. And then that apparently was a little difficult for people to grasp and it was just easier to say…to substitute a “v” for a “b” so after about two years he started advertising it as Favrile glass.

Gudenrath: Great, well thanks. I’ve never understood that. We’ll get back to that—to details like that in a few minutes. Did you say the dates of your show?

Spillman: Ah, the show opened November 1, 2009, and it will be open until October 31, 2010, so for a year.

Gudenrath: Great, thank you. Diane, what do you do at the Museum?

Dolbashian: I’m the chief librarian of the Rakow Research Library, which is the Museum’s extraordinary collection of paper-based materials, meaning literature and design drawings among other things. And the Tiffany Treasures that we will be exhibiting are in fact eight design drawings from the early 1900’s.

Gudenrath: Wonderful. Great. Now you refer to “extraordinary collection.” Isn’t the Rakow Library the library of record on the subject of glass?

Dolbashian: We are. We are. And many of our collections are unique so, um, scholars and people who just want to use the Library for whatever purpose they have come from all over the world to, ah, use these unique items.

Gudenrath: Wonderful. And the Museum Library, the Rakow Library, now has an incredibly visible presence on the web, right? It’s really easy to use the Library from the web.

Dolbashian: Yes. We have an online catalog, which is accessible from anywhere in the world.

Gudenrath: One of the things I look forward to being able to do with this podcast is to learn more about Tiffany because everybody knows the name. I think Tiffany and Company, the store, on 5th Avenue and 57th street has been identified as the world’s most successful retail operation with the longest history of a retail operation. So everybody knows the name Tiffany. And I think everyone knows Tiffany windows and people know Tiffany lamps and Tiffany blown glass, to some degree. He’s a really enigmatic figure for me because I understand that he never made a drawing himself, he never actually designed anything, he never actually picked up a blow pipe and blew anything, so I’m really looking forward to getting to know this character a little bit better.

Spillman: Well, he was the son of Charles Lewis Tiffany, who founded the jewelry store. And he was born in 1848 after the founding of the store. He knew from fairly early in his youth that he wanted to be an artist; he did not want to join his father in the store. And, for reasons I can’t really understand, his father sent him to military school, apparently to sort of get out the idea of being an artist. But Tiffany was persistent—that’s what he wanted to do, and so after he got out of school he went off to France and studied painting. And then he got interested in interior design and he formed a company called Associated Artist with two other designers. And for a period of 10 years or so they did interior decoration and design for some of the richest families in New York City, like the Havermeyers. They did some beautiful things, and I think that’s how he got interested in stained glass, because some of the homes had stained glass windows. And one of the earliest stained glass windows we know that he designed was for his own apartment in the Bella Building in Manhattan, which he designed in 1879.

Gudenrath: And so it’s safe to say that Tiffany started with stained glass?

Spillman: Yes. Very definitely. He did not do vessels until he built his factory, Corona, in the Queens area of Long Island, and that opened in late 1892.

Gudenrath: Ok, and just so we get the big picture, when did the lamps come in?

Spillman: Ah, well, ah, he was making blown glass lamps probably in the late 1880’s—late—sorry, in the late 90’s. We have actually the one piece in the exhibition which is ours and not borrowed is a lamp with a blown glass base. It’s a kerosene lamp and a blown-glass shade. And that we think was made between 1898 and 1902. After 1902 he made nothing but electric lamps. And those all have stained glass shades which we think are mostly made of leftovers from the stained glass windows. We think that why, that’s how he started…got started making lamps. Because there were so many small pieces left over from cutting the glass for the windows. That, you know, that was the logical thing to do, and it went well with this new electricity. Before that, you know, electric lamps scarcely existed. Ah, kerosene lamps were what people had and they were very elaborate kerosene lamps.

Gudenrath: Jane, in passing you mentioned something that’s really interesting to me because it involves another member of our staff. That very tall lamp with the blown-glass top has an interesting history. It’s one of the first things you see when you walk into the exhibition. And, ah, something terrible happened to that. Would you tell us about that?

Spillman: Well, it also has a blown-glass base, which is decorated with peacock feathers and that’s one of the rarer parts. It was a gift to us from Jay and Micky Doros, who are collectors of Tiffany, and have given us some other objects as well. It was unfortunately broken by…they were having some construction done to their house and the lamp was packed in a couple of boxes, but, one of the workmen knocked over the box and broke the lamp base and it broke into more than 140 pieces. So they gave it to us and our conservator, Stephen Koob spent three months fixing it. And honestly now when you look at it, you wouldn’t know it had been broken. Fortunately, the donor saved all the pieces. I mean they didn’t even unpack it, they could just tell (laugh) from the tinkle sound when they picked up the box, that it was broken. The shade, fortunately, was not damaged. I think it was in a different box. So, everything was there, Steve unpacked it and it took him about three months to put it together because he could only glue one or two pieces a day and let the glue dry and then he’d come and put in another one. And, I think it looks great. And it’s especially nice for us to have because it’s a very unusual Tiffany lamp as I said, it predates the electric lamps. And Tiffany kerosene lamps are extremely rare. So we’re delighted to have this.

Gudenrath: Wonderful. And there are a couple of photographs of this in restoration. And it’s kind of amazing to see all the pieces then see it gradually grow into this thing. And like you said, when you go up the escalator and turn left and see this object it’s not at all evident that it’s a restored piece and that it was in these hundreds of fragments.

Spillman: Yeah. I think that’s really wonderful.

Gudenrath: So, Diane, one of the things that is fascinating to me about Tiffany is that I’ve read and I’ve heard from people that he never picked up a blow pipe, there are no design drawings by him, but he was a painter. Is that right?

Dolbashian: That’s correct. Yes. And we actually do have some of his work on paper in the Library. But the design drawings that we’re showing as part of the Tiffany Treasures exhibit were, um, actually executed by two women: Lillian Palmié and Alice Gouvy, who both worked in the enamel department at the furnaces. And Tiffany did a lot of enameling and he created beautiful, utilitarian objects for the home. You have to remember that this period in American history, um, the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, was one of growing wealth and the industry in the country brought  wealth to many people who never had it and, helped the wealth of those who already had it to grow. So, people had now had expendable funds to buy beautiful things for their homes and Tiffany fit perfectly into that context. So, he made marvelous objects and he had this enameling department with a whole group of women working there, designing and drawing for him, and as we’ve said, he’s taken credit for most of that or all of that. So, the drawings that we have are exceptional and really special, because they actually bear the signatures of these women who worked there and typically these women would go unacknowledged. There would be no trace of their creativity or their contribution. And yet we have this, you know, documented. I mean, as you said earlier, the drawings are almost like documents because they bear the signatures of these ladies.

Gudenrath: And these are the celebrated, these are the Tiffany Girls…

Dolbashian: Yes.

Gudenrath:…to use the politically incorrect term these days, but they’re often referred to—in the readings I’ve done, the books that I’ve read—as the Tiffany Girls.

Dolbashian: That’s correct, and in fact the New York Historical Society mounted an exhibit called A New Light on Tiffany: Clara Driscoll and the Tiffany Girls. So at that time, that is, in fact how they were known.

Gudenrath: Mhmm, Mhmm.

Dolbashian: Yeah.

Gudenrath: There are a lot of precedence historically for artists and designers and craftspeople working in anonymity. Ah, for me, he…the great Venetian maestros of the Renaissance were working in anonymity, never signing their work for the glory of the Venetian Serenissima is a good example of that. But we have lots and lots of examples much more recent than that. But it’s interesting to see that you have that of the Tiffany girls.

Dolbashian: Yes. Ah, Tiffany was, above all else, an entrepreneur. So his name, he made his name paramount. And that of course was a smart move because when you market something under the Tiffany name, it has that cache that is sure to sell.

Gudenrath: Mhmm. And Jane referred to his having been an interior designer and designing objects for the cream of the crop of New York City, for example. The very most upper strata of society. Um, I’m a glass artist, a glassblower and it’s unlikely that Tiffany would be amused sitting down and having a cup of tea with me, right?

Dolbashian: Well, Tiffany very cleverly would have exploited your talent, Bill.

Gudenrath: Like another well-known, very famous glass person who’s around today. Ah, Dale Chihuly is famous for bringing expert glassblowers, people whose color sensibilities are extremely refined, and getting them all together to make work that he signs and, very often, though, he acknowledges the people behind the scenes, so to speak. But, sounds kind of similar to Tiffany, in a way.

Dolbashian: Yes, yes, and, I should explain that these drawings were not drawings of objects, they were actually drawings of floral and botanical elements that were used in the design of objects. One drawing is particularly outstanding because it’s, well, because it differs very much from the others. Most of the drawings are of plants and flowers, in the blue, and yellow, and green tones. But one in particular, which is of a group of peonies, is red. And so you have that splash of red among all these other very muted softer colors. But the reason I’m mentioning the peonies is that they were also a really common motif in Tiffany’s designs. So, that happens to be my favorite of the drawings. And these elements then were used almost as a reference library for the designers, for the enameling departments. So, I would have loved to have been alive then and been a fly on the wall watching all of this take place. But it seems to me it was a busy bee hive of activity, and that the ladies who were actually drawing these, these botanical elements were probably doing it from life. From a garden, maybe there was a garden somewhere. They could have…The New York Botanical Gardens were already in operation at that time, so maybe they made field trips to the Botanical Gardens. But their sketches were definitely drawn from life, from real plants, rather than copied from books and things. And that adds so much charm to them.

Spillman: Tiffany didn’t do anything small, and, you know, he hired Arthur Nash to come from England. And one of the things the Rakow Library has is Arthur Nash’s notebooks, which has all of the formulas for the Tiffany colors. Because Tiffany didn’t know a thing about glass chemistry, he was smart enough to get Nash, who did. And Nash, one of the interesting things is that a lot of the formulas in the Nash notebooks are in a sort of code. ‘Cause Nash didn’t want to share the secret of how he made these colors and the various designs.

Gudenrath: Even with his boss?

Spillman: No. Well, I, I, actually, it probably would have been okay to share it with Tiffany because Tiffany, I don’t think, knew anything about chemistry, so he wouldn’t have known how to duplicate it anyway. But I think Nash just wanted to make sure that no one, you know, could copy it. His son,  A. Douglas Nash, also worked as a supervisor at the factory. And several years ago there was an auction and we bought the Nash notebooks at auction. Ah, part of it… we just thought it was very important to save those in a museum and not have them go to a private collector and then just disappear. Some of the other Tiffany papers in that auction were purchased by the Tiffany Company, the jewelry store, because they wanted to keep them for their archives. They have extensive archives of their previous designs and they just decided, I think, that they wanted to have, ah, a lot of the designs back. One of the things I think is interesting when we talk about, ah, I think there’s no such thing as a Tiffany—as a design—that’s totally created and signed by Tiffany. But, a number of the designs that were in that sale, the notebooks with designs in them, and the designs, many of them have a signature that says, “approved: LCT.” So obviously he wanted to approve every design—vase design or window design—before it went into manufacture. And, ah, I think that’s kind of interesting. As I said, as far as we know, he did not design a single piece of Favrile glass himself, but he wanted to approve every design. And my impression is that he told the designers, he told the Nashes, sort of what he wanted, and then they would come out…you know, they’d blow a series of things, and he’d say, “I like this one, I don’t like that one, try to improve this one.” He, I’m sure that he knew exactly what he wanted; he just didn’t design it himself.

Gudenrath: One of the things that comes to mind when I hear Tiffany, and I think of the blown glass vessels, is the iridescent effect that he so obviously loved. I know that he was friends with Horace Havermeyer who had a major collection of ancient glass, now on display at the Metropolitan Museum in New York, much of which is covered with that, that beautiful iridescence that you see in ancient glass. Can you just talk a little bit about, ah, that connection?

Spillman: Yes. As far as we know, Tiffany was influenced by the ancient glass, which was being excavated and sold at that time. In the 1890’s, there was a collection from the island of Cypress, which was purchased by the Metropolitan Museum, and got a lot of publicity. That was referred to as Cypriote Glass, because it came from Cypress, ah, although it wasn’t necessarily made there, but that’s where it was found. And so when Tiffany started making iridescent glassware a couple of years after the factory opened, he marketed it as Cypriote Glass. And we have several Cypriote vases in the exhibition. However, he wasn’t the first to make iridescent glass. It’s kind of interesting because, when Steuben Glassworks was set up in 1903, and Fredrick Carder, another Englishman, was brought over from England to run that, he started making iridescent glassware, which was either blue, or gold, and Tiffany promptly sued him for copying and basically said, you know, you’re copying my iridescent glassware. And, Carder’s response to that in court—or in legal documents, rather, because it never went to court—was, “you didn’t invent iridescent glassware, and neither did I. And you don’t have any patient on it.” And that was the truth, so Tiffany dropped the suit and it never went any further. And, in fact, ah, iridescent glassware was first patented by a Hungarian in the 1860’s, and it was made extensively in Bohemia in the 1870’s and 1880’s. So Tiffany had seen it. Ah, we don’t know if the iridescent glassware that was made in Europe was inspired by the ancient pieces, or not, because it, it isn’t mentioned. But I think there is no doubt that Tiffany was inspired by the ancient pieces.

Gudenrath: For somebody who comes to Corning and visits your show, Jane, or your show, Diane, they can go across the parking lot that also contains The Studio, to see our primary gallery for Carder Glass. Because, for somebody like me, when I look at Carder Glass and I look at Tiffany, I see a lot of similarity. Would you just talk about how Tiffany and Carder, ah, coexisted? Because you mentioned a lawsuit. And they were working at just about the same time. Just talk a little about the two together, ok?

Spillman: Ok, um, actually, Carder was about 10 years younger than Tiffany, and, ah, of course, he didn’t come to this country until 1903, when Tiffany had already been making stained glass windows for 20 years, and blown glass for 10. Actually, Tiffany made stained glass for almost 50 years. I didn’t realize that until I started working on this show. It just sort of stunned me that the production was that long. Carder didn’t make stained glass. Tiffany had that market pretty well wrapped up. And Carder was interested in…he was hired by Thomas Hawkes…who was, head owner of the largest cut glass firm in Corning. Because Hawkes wanted a reliable source of blanks. So he set up the Steuben factory and hired Carder to come from England and make it. And Carder was willing to come if he didn’t just have to make blanks for cutting, which is kind of dull if you’re a glass designer, if he could develop his own colors and own designs in much the same way Nash did. Now, Carder had undoubtedly known Nash in England. Nash was older than he was, but they had worked in the same area…not in the same factory, but in the same area. And since the Stourbridge area of England had a dozen glass factories, I’m willing to bet the chief designers in several of the different factories must have known each other. They must have belonged to the same social organizations. So, ah, I’m sure Carder and Nash knew each other. And I think it’s more likely, quite honestly, that if there was any socializing done in, in New York City, it would have been between Carder and Nash than between Carder and Tiffany.

Gudenrath: Is it accurate then to say that Tiffany was definitely aiming for the upper strata of society and Carder was aiming his production more at the middle-class?

Spillman: Well, to a certain extent. Yes, Tiffany was definitely aiming at the Vanderbilts and the Havemeyers, and that class of people. Carder was not quite as… his pieces of blown glass were, pretty much in the same price range as Tiffany’s. Maybe a little bit less expensive. They certainly weren’t more expensive, but they weren’t a lot less expensive. We look at 10 prices of these things now and you look at a vase and it costs 10 dollars and you don’t think of that as expensive. But, 10 dollars was a week’s wages for a workingman—at least a starter. It could go up to 50 if you were in your 60s and you had been working for 30 years. You might earn 18 to 20 dollars for a week. And that was enough to feed a family of four, or five. So a vessel that looks not so expensive to us, actually was pretty expensive.

Dolbashian: But I think you do need to note that the…that the, um, a broader swath of the population had more money than ever before. So, as wealth was spreading around, more people could actually afford these luxury goods. The Nash and the Carder notebooks are endlessly fascinating in that to me. I’ve touched every single one of them and there are 35 Carder notebooks altogether, many of them containing recipes, many of them containing sketches, and the same is true for the Nash notebooks, which were belongings of both Arthur Nash and his other son, Leslie Nash. And, they were small enough to put in the breast pocket of a suite jacket, or the shirt, you know. And they were like diaries. And, one particular entry by Leslie Nash in January of 1929 will always stay with me, because he was just, um, ranting about the decline of the economy and he predicted the crash, which took place in October of 1929. So, from many points of view, not just class history but also social history and economic history, these personal notebooks are really quite rich. So many, many types of researchers might enjoy looking at them.

Spillman: Yes, we’ve had several museum curators come in and look at them, and I expect other Tiffany researchers as well. One of the things I think is interesting in the show part of the collection on the West Bridge is borrowed from the Rockwell Museum of Western Art and was given to them…left to them, ah, by some collectors. But the other part comes from the collection of the, Cornell, the Museum of Art at Cornell. And that was actually a gift to them in 1927 from A. Douglas Nash. Because, his son had just graduated from Cornell and he wrote a letter to the president of Cornell and said, ‘you gave my son a wonderful education and Mr. Tiffany and I would like to donate a selection of Tiffany glass to, to Cornell, as a thank you.’ And so they sent, I don’t know, 50 pieces or something. And it’s kind of fascinating because, at the time, Cornell didn’t have an art museum. So I suppose those pieces sat around on people’s window sills for a while, because they weren’t accessioned until 1954. They all have 1954 accession numbers.

Gudenrath: It’s also ironic that it ends up in Corning, because when it was done there was no Corning Museum of Glass, as there was no museum at Cornell. Cornell’s only a 40-minute drive from here, Ithaca’s a 40-minute drive. And it is ironic that they wind up so close together. The Corning Museum of Glass opened in 1951, and you said the first acquisition date is 1954.

Spillman: Right, although they had them since 1927. And they have a gallery of these Tiffany pieces, at the Johnson Museum in Cornell…the Herbert Johnson Museum. So, they were willing to loan us the pieces that were in storage and that were not on display. But they do have a selection on display.

Gudenrath: And so, if somebody comes to Corning to see your show and, yours at the Library, Diane, they can, in about 35 to 40 minutes get to Cornell and see more Tiffany…

Spillman: Yes.

Dolbashian: Yes.

Gudenrath: When objects come to the Museum—glass objects, books, paintings—ah, they often arrive in a state that’s not ideal. Diane, the Tiffany drawings, I understand have gone through some problems. Tell us about the Tiffany drawings that the Rakow Library owns. 

Dolbashian: The sketches, which, of course, are paper-based, were subjected to water damage. And paper is its own thing and has its own microchemistry and it’s something that when you are dealing with anything that is damaged that is paper-based, you have to take it to the experts. So, we did that. And, in fact, it was our archivist, Nive Chatterjee, who took the initiative, because she immediately fell in love with these sketches. She took the initiative of hiring the Westlake Conservators, up in Skaneateles, to work on these, to do the conservation, and this is part of the story that is so remarkable because we, we did not know for sure what the signatures were, until they were cleaned up. We could see them very, very faintly, but not as clearly as we can now, after the conservation. So, the water lines on the paper were cleaned up, not completely, because it’s been many years that they’ve been like that. And the signatures came to light. But mostly these colors that I was talking about earlier, these lovely blues and greens and violets, and the reds, all came back to life, as well. So, kudos to Nive for really taking those sketches to Westlake Conservators, which we did. And I think we did that in 2007 as a matter of fact. And then after that we just waited for the opportunity to show them off and now we have that, so we’re very pleased.

Gudenrath: And, that’s one of the things the Museum does when it gets a broken lamp or water-damaged paper, the Museum has to do something about it. It’s not just a matter of putting it in a vault and keeping it for all time.

Dolbashian: Yes. Yeah. Yes. Because you want to extend its life. You want to give it new life and, ah, prolong its life so that it will be there for future generations to enjoy.

Gudenrath: Jane, Tiffany died in 1933. The Studio Glass movement has arrived and is now in full bloom. Where would you place Tiffany in the history of glass? Was he…in a couple of hundred years, how will people look back and see Tiffany?

Spillman: Well, I think he was very influential in the Art Nouveau movement. He was somewhat influenced, probably, by Emile Gallé, the French who was probably the first Art Nouveau glass artist. Ah, but Tiffany was equally influential. There were a number of smaller companies that were, (Quizale, ah, Qublah), who were clearly influenced by Tiffany and were making the same kind of glass, but were much smaller companies. So I think, because he was such a good salesmen and publicist, and he published brochures, he advertised his wares, ah, I think he was very influential in the history of American glass, blown glass in 1893–1930, or so. Ah, he actually retired in 1918, but the company kept going and then it closed around 1930. By that time, fashions had changed and I must say, he didn’t change with it, particularly. So, the company started making less and less money. And it eventually, I think, went bankrupt around 19… after the crash of ’29, it went bankrupt around 1930. But he was very influential in the early days. And as I said, a lot of other glass factories copied his work.

Gudenrath: Tiffany died in ’33, he retired to a palatial estate on Long Island, ah, it had a sad end, would you tell us a little bit about that?

Spillman: Yes. He set up a Tiffany Foundation and he was giving fellowships to artists to come and stay at Laurelton Hall and study art. And, so he, when he retired, he was there, and ah, a number of artists… the man who started the Morse Museum, had actually been one of Tiffany’s first fellows at Laurelton Hall. But, unfortunately, after Tiffany died, eventually the family sold the house. And it was not particularly appreciated by its next owners and it burned. And so there’s…although it was an absolutely gorgeous house, and there are fortunately some photographs of it, and some parts of it survived, so that the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, they have some of the elements from Laurelton Hall, which they built into the American wing. And the Morse Museum down in Florida also has some elements from Laurelton Hall. Because the, that collector bought the remains, and had them shipped to Florida. But, the house itself obviously was just gone. And it was a wonderful example of the architecture and the decoration of the day. Tiffany was very interested in Japanese art and Oriental art in various kinds. He had a collection of Japanese pottery. I think he had a collection of swords, and Samurai art, and all of those were influential in his designs, or in his work.

Dolbashian: You know I think we can say even more broadly that Tiffany was a major force in the decorative arts, not just in glass. And, I know him as a lover of nature. And I believe at Laurelton Hall, Jane, there were beautiful gardens as well?

Spillman: Yes. Yes. Very extensive gardens.

Dolbashian: And so here was a man who felt close to nature and interestingly in the same way Emile Gallé did. And so, incorporating nature into his decorative art, manufacturing was, um, very important to him, but it came from the heart. And, so, that’s what I take away. Especially when I stare at these lovely floral botanical sketches. I feel Tiffany’s nature connection there.

Gudenrath: And he was a competent painter, as far as I can see.

Dolbashian: Yes, yes.

Gudenrath: You have to love your subjects to take the bother to paint them in oils, don’t you?

Dolbashian: Very well said, yes. (Laughs).

Spillman: And he did mostly landscapes. And, a lot of pictures of flowers and that sort of thing…

Dolbashian: Yes.

Spillman: …so there’s no doubt he was…

Dolbashian: Yes.

Spillman: …he did love nature very much.

Dolbashian: Yes.

Spillman: And some of the objects we have in the collection—I mention the morning glory shade—we have several vases with morning glories, because that was something he was particularly fond of. And we have a couple of beautiful vases…one with daffodils, and another one with narcissus…so a lot of his pieces have, flowers, either enclosed within the glass, or applied on the outside.

Gudenrath: Thank you, Jane, for telling us so much about Tiffany. You’ve obviously had a long connection and interest in Tiffany.

Spillman: Well, I’ve enjoyed very much doing the research on the Favrile glass and putting the show together. And it’s a really nice collection. So I hope that people enjoy coming and seeing all the different kinds of glass, of Tiffany glass. The different colors and techniques…I think they’ll really enjoy that.

Gudenrath: Diane, thanks so much for telling us about the Rakow Library and your fantastic collection, and the show.

Dolbashian: Well, it was my pleasure, Bill. And I really appreciate having the opportunity to do that. I hope that our visitors will enjoy seeing the watercolor sketches, which are on display for the first time, ever.

Diane Dolbashian, head librarian of the Corning Museum of Glass’s Rakow Research Library. Earlier, we also heard Jane Shadel Spillman, the Museum's curator of American glass. The interviewer was Bill Gudenrath, the Museum's resident advisor to The Studio and a glass historian.

They discussed two Tiffany exhibitions: Tiffany Treasures: Favrile Glass from Special Collections, an exhibition featuring blown-glass works by Tiffany Studios, on view at the Museum through October 31, 2010… and Tiffany Treasures: Design Drawings by Alice Gouvy and Lillian Palmié, featuring recently restored design drawings by two of Tiffany's women designers (on view through April 30, 2010).

For more info about these and other exhibits, visit www.cmog.org