This post comes from Ilaria Camerini and Erin Fitterer, Rakow Library interns during the summer of 2018 working on the conservation of Library collections, including the Whitefriars stained glass cartoon collection. Read more about this project and the collection in previous posts.
This summer, we’ve had the opportunity to work on objects beyond the Whitefriars collection. These objects represent a range of materials and techniques and have presented new and fascinating challenges for us.
Dandelion plant 95, Alice C. Gouvy for
Tiffany Studios, 1902, CMGL 89006.
Like the Whitefriars cartoons, these projects are also part of the planning process for creating pieces of glass. Artists often create drawings and watercolor sketches to plan out what they want to do in advance. Workshops hire artists and designers to create potential designs. These dandelions, for example, were painted by Alice C. Gouvy while she was employed by Tiffany Studios. Many of Gouvy’s sketches were later incorporated into windows, lamps, jewelry boxes, and other items produced by Tiffany Studios. Often these types of drawings and sketches were made without any particular object in mind.
Similar to Gouvy’s dandelions, this watercolor sketch by Frederick Carder features a pastoral scene with bathers. This image could have been translated onto a number of objects, including a stained-glass window, an enameled box, or etched onto the surface of a vase. We had the chance to work on Carder’s sketch this summer. There is a crack running from the left to right side. There are also additional cracks along the bottom edge. Fortunately, these cracks do not go all the way through the object. We were able to insert glue along the crack and carefully burnish the edges together. Read more →
This is the second in a series of blog posts addressing photographic lighting techniques for transparent glasses. It builds on the techniques discussed in the first post, Photographing glass: Lighting techniques for transparent glass objects.
Goblet, The Netherlands, 1760-1770. Gift of The Ruth Bryan Strauss Memorial Foundation. 79.3.993.
In the first post, I used an 18th century engraved wineglass from The Netherlands (CMoG 79.3.993, shown above), to demonstrate how we can reveal detail by exploiting the ways glass interacts optically with its surroundings in a carefully controlled lighting environment. This object was photographed on a photo table with a matte finish translucent white acrylic surface (Plexiglas 2447 with a P95 finish) using a combination of lighting both above and below the table surface. Read more →
Over the past few years, our demonstration teams have made a concerted effort to create new demonstrations that support our featured exhibitions and help our guests gain a deeper understanding of the artisan’s perspective. This typically involves our glassworkers trying to recreate an object or technique that is represented in our changing exhibitions. The exhibition Glass of the Architects: Vienna, 1900–1939, a cooperation of the MAK and LE STANZE DEL VETRO, presented a good jumping off point for a conversation about which our guests are often curious. On many occasions, as we step out of the flameworking demonstration booth, guests will ask us if the object we just hand-crafted could have been produced by a machine, or if the object could have been mass-produced somehow.
Museum flameworker, Caitlin Hyde, begins The Artisan’s
As we first began developing a demonstration to support Glass of the Architects, it occurred to us that this contrast between individually hand-crafted objects and those that are made by machine or mass-produced could make for a compelling demonstration. Then, I was struck by a quote from a 1905 exhibition card in which two of the designers and architects represented in the exhibition, Josef Hoffmann and Kolomon Moser, stated, “The limitless harm done to the arts and crafts field by low-quality mass production on the one hand and the unthinking imitation of old styles on the other is affecting the whole world like some gigantic flood … It would be madness to swim against this tide. Nevertheless, we have founded the [Wiener Werkstätte (Vienna workshop)].” This cemented the idea for the demo as we realized just how concerned some of the designers represented in the exhibition were with the results of mass-production. Read more →
This post comes from Allie Shanafelter, Public Services intern at the Rakow Library.
Stolen paperweights, daring and handsome glass workers, fantastical lands saved by magical beads – if these sound intriguing, you’ll be excited to know there is a whole world of glass fiction to explore.
The Rakow Library’s collection includes fiction featuring glass for both children and adults. If you have seen the Library’s current exhibition, Curious and Curiouser: Surprising Finds from the Rakow Library, you may remember Donna Baker’s Glassmakers Saga, a romance series which is partially set in Corning, N.Y. Baker’s books are not the only romance novels that feature glassmakers, and the Library’s collection includes books that span a variety of genres, including mystery, fantasy, and historical fiction.
Here are five novels to add to your summer reading list: Read more →