All About Glass

All About Glass

This is your resource for exploring various topics in glass: delve deeper with this collection of articles, multimedia, and virtual books all about glass. Content is frequently added to the area, so check back for new items. If you have a topic you'd like to see covered, send us your suggestion. If you have a specific question, Ask a Glass Question at our Rakow Research Library.

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Mechanical Glass Theater
Video

Listen as curator Dedo von Kerssenbrock-Krosigk describes this mechanical glass theater, which depicts the Wedding at Cana. Figurines in Venetian and Turkish costumes are seated in the loggia of a Rococo palace. The heads and limbs of each figure are lampworked in glass, and they can be moved by

Bertil Vallien, Unknown Destination II
Video

Listen as curator Tina Oldknow, describes Unknown Destination II by Swedish artist Bertil Vallien. Unknown Destination II reflects Bertil Vallien's interest in Sweden's Viking heritage. He uses boats as a metaphor for the journey (both physical and psychological), time, exploration, and

Hilton Innerland (Family App)
Video

Scottish artist Eric Hilton designed Innerland and master engravers at Steuben Glass translated Hilton's dream into tangible form. Wherever you look, you will find a different inner land.

Musler Cityscape (Family App)
Video

Artist Jay Musler took a hemisphere of industrially produced Pyrex, cut the rim in the form of an urban skyline (think of the skyscrapers of Manhattan), sandblasted it, and airbrushed it with oil paint.

Chihuly Fern Green Tower- Family
Video

Listen as curators Tina Oldknow and David Whitehouse describe Fern Green Tower by American artist Dale Chihuly. Northwest native Chihuly calls glass "the most magical of materials." He is probably the best-known artist working in blown glass today, and his sculptures and chandeliers are

Toso Chess Set- Family Technique
Video

The pieces in Gianni Toso's Chess Set, made in about 1981, are in the form of Jewish and Roman Catholic worshippers. The kings are a rabbi and a bishop. The tiny details of the figures were made by softening glass in a flame and molding it into the desired shapes.

Libenský Installation- Family Technique
Video

Listen as glass artist William Gudenrath describes the techniques used to create Meteor, Flower, Bird by Czech artists Stanislav Libenský and Jaroslava Brychtová. Libenský and Brychtová convey three messages with this sculpture: Meteor, on the left, represents Corning as an international center for

Ruffner Shirts, Cherries, and Snowflakes, of Course
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Curator Tina Oldknow describes Shirts, Cherries, and Snowflakes, of Course  by American artist Ginny Ruffner.

Contemporary Chairs- Family
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Some of this furniture was designed to be used, while other pieces are purely decorative. Ghost Chair, on the left, is sturdy enough for use; likewise, Danny Lane's Etruscan Chair on the far right was also designed for sitting.

Steuben Cascade Wall- Family
Video

Cascade Wall was designed by George Thompson and made in Corning by Steuben Glass for its New York City showroom. When it was installed in the showroom in 1959, it had a reflecting pool at the bottom. Gift of Steuben Glass, Inc.

Tagliapietra Endeavor- Family Technique
Video

Listen as glass artist William Gudenrath describes the techniques Italian artist Lino Tagliapietra, one of the greatest living glass artists, used to create Endeavor. These 18 boats evoke the gondolas of Tagliapietra's native Venice. Each boat was blown and then cold worked to create the

Quagliata Melancholia- Family
Video

This image of a man sitting in an airplane and gazing out of the window evokes feelings of sadness and loss. Who or what did he leave behind? What does the future hold at his destination?

Light Bulb Tester (Family App)
Video

The single light bulb is a replica of the first light bulb blown in Corning, N.Y., for inventor Thomas Alva Edison. The large object is a light bulb tester. Before purchasing light bulbs in a store, you would use the tester to see if your light bulb worked. 

Verzelini Goblet
Video

Listen as curator Dedo von Kerssenbrock-Krosigk describes this glass goblet. Venetian glassmakers were hired in England during the 16th century. One of them was Giacomo Verzelini. In 1571, he was brought to London by Jean Carré, a French native and owner of the Crutched Friars Glasshouse. Carré

Electric Cut Glass Lamp
Video

Listen as curator Jane Shadel Spillman describes this electric cut glass lamp. Six lamps in this style are known, and all of them are cut in the same pattern. The manufacturer has not been positively identified. One of these lamps was purchased in Chicago in the late 1930s or early 1940s, and

Darin Denison Guest Artist Demonstration
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Watch Seattle-based glass powerhouse Darin Denison demo in the Amphitheater Hot Shop on August 30, 2018. See the final piece out of the anneler at 1:54:46. Originally from New York, Darin Denison has called Seattle home for 22 years. For the last 19 years, he has been blowing glass with many

English Folding Screen- Family
Video

This screen, made in London, England, is decorated with birds, frogs, and fish—even a spider and a butterfly. Sixteen birds are shown; 13 are easy to spot, but three are more difficult. How many can you find? Clara S. Peck Endowment.

Jäavuori (Iceberg) Vase
Video

Listen as curator Tina Oldknow describes this vase created by Tapio Wirkkala, one of Finland's best-known designers. He trained as a sculptor in Helsinki and he approached the decorative arts as a sculptor, but he also appreciated fine handcraft. He worked with a variety of materials,

Replica of Portland Vase
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Listen as curator David Whitehouse describes this replica of The Portland Vase, an ancient Roman cameo glass object that was taken to England from Italy in 1783. The fame of The Portland Vase and of Josiah Wedgwood's replicas, played a major role in the establishment of cameo glassmaking in

Reynolds Family Matter
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Listen as curator, Tina Oldknow, describes the object Family Matter  by American artist Jill Reynolds.

Richard Wistar Bottle- Family
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The first successful glassmaker in America was Caspar Wistar who began a factory in New Jersey. Before his factory, all glass was imported from England and Europe. This bottle is one of three that are known to come from his factory.

Whimsies- Family
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Whimsies are what modern collectors call pieces that were made by individual glassmakers for fun or for show. Glassmakers would make these after their regular work shifts.

Catherine Labonté Guest Artist Demonstration
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Watch as Catherine Labonté unveils her new, never-before-seen glass animal — a rabbit — during this Guest Artist demonstration in the Amphitheater Hot Shop on September 1, 2018. See the final object out of the annealer starting at 1:59:10. The Guest Artist Series features world-class visiting

Fakes & Forgeries
Video

Listen as former curator David Whitehouse describes glass fakes and forgeries. A fake is a genuine object that has been altered or "improved," usually to enhance its value. A forgery is a copy or imitation of an object, made to deceive people (usually prospective owners) into believing

The Corning Ewer
Video

Listen as former curator David Whitehouse describes the Corning Ewer, an outstanding example of Islamic relief-cut cameo glass. A layer of transparent light green glass was applied to a layer of colorless glass. Most of the outer layer was then cut away, leaving the decoration in relief. Although

The Corning Ewer (Technique- Museum App)
Video

Listen as glass artist William Gudenrath describes the technique used to make the Corning Ewer, an outstanding example of Islamic relief-cut cameo glass. A layer of transparent light green glass was applied to a layer of colorless glass. Most of the outer layer was then cut away, leaving the

Lalique Snake Vase
Video

Listen as curator Tina Oldknow describes Snake Vase created by glass artist René Lalique. This vase in the form of a coiled snake, one of Lalique's iconic designs, expresses the energy and elegance of the Art Deco style. Lalique's first and very successful career was as a jeweler. In 1890

Bertil Vallien, Unknown Destination II- Family
Video

Listen as curator Tina Oldknow describes Unknown Destination II by Swedish artist Bertil Vallien. Vallien created a series of boats that remind us of journeys. He filled the boats with objects that reference the past and time.

Flask with Mold
Video

Listen as curator Jane Shadel Spillman describes Flask with Mold produced by Stebbins and Stebbins. The manufacture and decoration of hand-blown tableware was a slow and costly process. Glassmakers soon sought ways to speed production and to decorate their wares more inexpensively. One way to do

Hedwig Beaker
Video

Listen as curator David Whitehouse describes this object, a typical example of a puzzling group of glasses known as Hedwig beakers. They are unlike any other medieval objects of glass or rock crystal from the Islamic world, Byzantium, or western Christendom. These colorless or nearly colorless

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