Garden of the Forgotten and Extinct

Garden of the Forgotten and Extinct

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Object Name: 
Wall Sculpture
Garden of the Forgotten and Extinct
Accession Number: 
Overall H: about 77 cm, W: about 111 cm, D: about 30 cm
Not on Display
Credit Line: 
29th Rakow Commission, purchased with funds from the Juliette K. and Leonard S. Rakow Endowment Fund
Web Description: 
A pair of lambs, a lion, a double-humped camel, and a swan. All of these are hidden within the dense layers of flowers, patterned leaves, and floral elements that form this sculpture, which is made entirely from mass-produced vintage American pressed glass that Amber Cowan has transformed. The original pressed glass objects, including candy dishes, teacups, and plates made between the 1940s and the 1980s, are picked up by Cowan at thrift shops and flea markets or on eBay. This sculpture is made primarily of snack sets (consisting of a plate and a cup) in the “Colony Harvest” pattern produced by the Indiana Glass Company in Cincinnati, Ohio. Cowan breaks and then reheats the glass, flameworking and hot-sculpting it into tiny leaves, fruits, roses, and abstract spirals, bits, and spikes. By creating something new out of something old, Cowan says that she “reincarnates” the glass, giving it a “second life.” The title, Garden of the Forgotten and Extinct, refers to the fact that the commercial milk glass (called “milk” for its opaque white color) that Cowan repurposes is no longer made. Originally traded for S&H Green Stamps, this common, inexpensive glass has been discarded and forgotten by contemporary culture, whose interests, styles, and fashions are vastly different from those of the era that the original glass represents. Signed: “Amber/Cowan/14,” in pen on back of sculpture and on back of metal mount. The most recent article on Cowan is Elizabeth Maskasky, “Amber Cowan Repurposes Glass Knickknacks for Elaborate Sculptures,” High Fructose, http://hifructose .com/2014/01/24/amber-cowan-repurposes-glass-knickknacks-for-elaborate-sculptures/, posted January 24, 2014. For more information, see
Cowan, Amber (American, b. 1981), Source
Amber / Cowan / 14
Pen (b) on back of wall cleat
Amber / Cowan / 14
Pen (a) on back of wall sculpture
Primary Description: 
Wall Sculpture, "Garden of the Forgotten and Extinct". (a) Opaque white found pressed milk glass objects, opaque white glass, metal, silicone, wood, paint; flameworked, hot-worked, fused, sandblasted, assembled. Rectangular wall sculpture with roughly scalloped outer edges. Sculpture constructed of various flameworked and hot-worked flowers, leaves, thorny branches, and curls that frame a three-dimensional scene including several found glass objects. Found objects include: two swans, two sheep, a lion, a camel, two koala bears, a rabbit, a hand, and a teacup. Some sculptural elements are fused, others are pinned and siliconed onto a wood mount painted white. (b) Wooden wall cleat.
Notes: The Rakow Commission (New Glass Review, 36) (2015) illustrated, cover; pp. 99-101; BIB# AI99414
The Corning Museum of Glass: Notable Acquisitions 2014 (2015) illustrated, pp. 66-67 (#47); BIB# AI100547
Amber Cowan: Bringing New Life to Secondhand Glass (2015) illustrated, pp. 24, 26; BIB# AI102625
The Corning Museum of Glass Annual Report 2014 (2014) illustrated, p. 9 (bottom); BIB# 706293