Is glass experiencing a renaissance in 2022? With the UN-designated Year of Glass well underway, the hit Netflix show Blown Away bringing glassblowing to the masses, and glass design being celebrated from Design Miami to the Venice Biennale, glass is undoubtedly in the spotlight. And along for the ride is glass artist Cedric Mitchell (@cedricmitchelldesign).
Mitchell is a fresh, friendly, earnest, and talented new voice in the glassblowing world, all qualities that Nike recognized when they made him one of the faces for the rollout of their 2022 Air Max campaign, but more on that later. A Los Angeles-based artist from Oklahoma, Mitchell discovered glass as an art form while studying business at Tulsa Community College. He was so enamored by glass, he immediately enrolled in classes. Inspired by an eccentric mix of Hip Hop, Graffiti Art, Pop Culture, and Memphis Design, Mitchell now creates work that ranges from functional to decorative, combining simplicity in design with bold colors to craft hand-blown vessels and sculptures.
Two months on from the unexpected passing of Max Erlacher, colleagues and dear friends at The Corning Museum of Glass have shared their thoughts and memories of working alongside the legendary glass engraver.
Born Roland “Max” Erlacher in Austria in 1933, Max began working with glass at a very early age. He entered a glass technical school in Kramsach, Austria, at the age of 14. It was only ten years later that Max, now certified as a Master Engraver by Lobmeyr, a glassware company in Vienna, Austria, arrived in Corning to begin working for Steuben Glass. Over the years, Max became one of the most renowned engravers at Steuben. He was a master of cold working techniques and copper, stone, and diamond engraving.
Josh Simpson has spent 50 years creating some of the most intricate and vibrant works in the world of contemporary glass. He has developed his own distinctive style inspired equally by outer space and the natural world and is recognized for his innovative Megaplanet series, as well as his signature blue New Mexico Glass, Corona Glass, and much more.
To celebrate and honor his legacy, we have gathered quotes from several people who Josh has worked with and inspired throughout his impressive career.
Karol Wight, president and executive director, The Corning Museum of Glass:
“When I arrived in Corning in 2011 to work at the Museum, one of the first pieces that caught my eye in the galleries was Josh Simpson’s Megaplanet. Even though the work is rather cheekily displayed next to an array of paperweights, I recognized it for the piece of virtuoso sculpting it is, rather than assessing it as a 500 lb. paperweight. And when I learned that Josh was married to astronaut Cady Coleman, a deeper meaning behind the design of the sculpture was made clear. I’m a science fiction fan, and by looking examining the miniature universe created within ‘Megaplanet’, as well as in many other globes made by Josh, my interest in space and the universe was sparked in a new way.
This week’s blog post is written by Madelynn Cullings, a current Ph.D. candidate at Binghamton University, who spent this past summer working as the Public History Intern at the Rakow Research Library at The Corning Museum of Glass. Madelynn’s work and research will aid in creating a documentary focused on the B Team, a glass performance troupe active in the 1990s. One of her favorite aspects of this research has been studying the B Team’s Spontaneous Combustion series, which is the focus of this blog.
“Failure, the future, myself—that’s my fear too,” jokes B Team member Thor Bueno as he reads fears written on small slips of paper during the B Team’s production of “Fear Jar.” Incorporated into the B Team’s 1996 performance of Spontaneous Combustion, “Fear Jar” encouraged audience participation. During the show audience members wrote down their deepest fears on sheets of paper. The artists then collected the slips and encased them in an oblong glass vessel—incinerating the fears in the process. “Fear Jar” was a consistent part of the B Team’s repertoire, signifying the radical form of experimentation that characterized the artistic collaborative.
It has been over three years since the phenomenal launch of Blown Away on Netflix and now we’re back for Season 3! Joining host Nick Uhas and resident evaluator Katherine Gray, are 10 new contestants all competing to be crowned Best in Glass and awarded the coveted Blown Away Residency at The Corning Museum of Glass.
Join us as we check in with this season’s glassblowers to find out what makes the show so special.
What expectations did you have going into season 3?
“In all honesty, I didn’t expect to go as far as I did, especially with the all-star lineup they had this Season.” Trenton Quiocho – Tacoma, Washington (IG: amocat_lowlife)
Lino Tagliapietra may be retiring, but not before one final visit to The Corning Museum of Glass. Last weekend was a monumental one for Lino, the glassblowers and staff at the Museum, and all the guests who filled the Amphitheater Hot Shop to see the Maestro at work during what will be his final performance in Corning.
To celebrate Lino’s enduring legacy, we asked those lucky enough to know and work with him, to describe the impact he has made on the glass world. To no surprise, the response was fervent and unanimous: Lino’s impact is, and will always be, extraordinary!
As the world’s foremost glass museum, we often entertain some interesting ideas—but perhaps the wildest one yet was a call we received two years ago from Red Bull. “We’d like to have a stunt motorcyclist drive around The Corning Museum of Glass—kind of like a ‘bull in a china shop.’” Sure, it would have been easy to see the impossibilities in that simple concept. We’re a glass museum! Motorcycles and glass absolutely do not mix. But… could they? Often, it’s the out-of-the-box ideas that yield the biggest rewards. And so, we embarked on an exciting collaboration that culminated in a video released today on Red Bull’s channels.
Red Bull athlete and stunt motorcyclist Aaron Colton was engaged to create a custom-built, all-electric bike for this unique exploration of our galleries and hot shop. Colton’s Bike Builds series is a staple of Red Bull’s offerings, and this episode would follow his journey of not only building a type of bike he hadn’t built before—during a global pandemic, no less!—but would show the effort it takes to turn “no”s into “yes”s. Too many times, an exciting idea comes about, and it stops in its tracks because a location can’t accommodate a traditional, combustion motorcycle complete with fuel and noise. Colton and Red Bull would literally be creating a way to turn ideas into realities.
It seems obvious to say it out loud, but we see glass everywhere these days. Funny, right?
For centuries we’ve thought about glass as something to be looked through but not seen. The cleaner the window, the clearer the uninterrupted view. Or glass is utilitarian to the point of invisibility. After all, it’s about the wine and not the vessel; it’s our reflection, not the quality of the mirror that is important. Often—if glass does its job correctly—it goes unnoticed, working not to draw attention to itself but to instead bring everything else into sharp focus.
But that’s not necessarily true anymore, and perhaps never was. Glass has long been changing the game. From early obsidian tools to revolutionary advancements in modern science and technology, from the Venetian masters to the American Studio Glass movement and beyond, glass has been a trusted tool and commodity, shaping cultures on almost every continent. Whenever the proverbial “lightbulb moment” happened, glass has transformed and illuminated the world we live in, right up to and including the COVID-19 pandemic, during which optical fiber was essential to keeping people connected virtually and Valor® glass vials have delivered life-saving vaccines to millions across the globe.
For America, the 1950s was a decade of highs and lows. In the wake of the second world war, the nation experienced a booming economy, a rapidly growing population, and watched as its cities and suburbs spread across the land to house a new generation. But the 50s were also the dawn of new conflicts, including the Cold War and the fight for Civil Rights.
In the spring of 1951, five people witnessed the unfolding of this new America from the small galleries and offices of the newly opened Corning Museum of Glass. Those five made up the entire staff back then! Conceived as an educational institution entirely separate from its benefactor, Corning Glass Works (now Corning Incorporated), the Museum sought to expand the world’s understanding of glass. And ever since, the Museum has inspired people to see glass in a new light, a mission that remains at the forefront of our institutional culture 70 years later.
To celebrate the Museum’s 70th anniversary, we’ve taken a trip through the archives to highlight some unforgettable moments.
The lightbulb. Pyrex®. Optical fiber. The catalytic converter. Gorilla® Glass. Valor® Glass. You’ve likely heard of most of these revolutionary innovations in glass, all of which came out of Corning, NY. And although the last one may be unfamiliar to you now, it’s about to serve a very significant purpose: housing and transporting the life-saving vaccine for COVID-19.
Corning Incorporated has been on the cutting edge of glass innovation for nearly 170 years, providing solutions to problems and shaping the way we live our daily lives. It’s a company many across the world have never heard of, however, nearly everyone has interacted with technology developed here in this small town of 11,000 people.
Although you likely don’t realize it, Corning’s technologies have played a role in how we’ve adapted to the COVID-era from the beginning. Never before has there been such an intense need to remain connected while we’re apart. And how have we done that? By interacting with each other through glass displays and transmitting all communications with co-workers, loved ones, and others, via optical fiber. We are literally connected by glass, and so it’s somehow unsurprising—yet immensely remarkable—that Corning’s technology is also on the frontlines of the fight against the virus itself.