Attention to detail: Tips for visitors from volunteers

April is a special time at The Corning Museum of Glass, and one of my favorites. Not just because the flowers are beginning to bloom and the leaves beginning to return, but because it is the celebration of National Volunteer Appreciation Week, April 7 through 13. This year we appreciate and recognize our volunteers by demonstrating how they contribute to our mission: To inspire people to see glass in a new light. Thank you to our docent Karen Biesanz for collecting the volunteer voices represented in this blog post, and to all of our volunteers and docents for continuing to delight and surprise us and our Museum guests.

— Jessica Trump, Volunteer & Internship Program Supervisor


The Corning Museum of Glass hopes our visitors have an outstanding experience. Our friendly volunteers help guests feel comfortable as they connect with the Museum’s displays on the science, history, and art of glassmaking through the centuries.

Here are just a few of the suggestions that volunteers like to mention to visitors:

1. Don’t miss the Hot Glass Demonstrations. Many volunteers strongly urge our guests to attend a glassblowing show to watch a blown-glass design materialize in 25 minutes.

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Beadmaking marathon

On Sunday, March 3, 2019, the energy in the flameshop at The Studio of The Corning Museum of Glass was buzzing as many experienced beadmakers gathered to participate in a beadmaking marathon in support of a wonderful program called Beads of Courage. Beads of Courage is an organization that distributes handmade glass beads to hospitals to be given to children in recognition of milestones in their treatment for severe or chronic illnesses.

Beadmakers participating in Beads of Courage at The Studio.

To make this event possible, The Studio opened its flameshop and all 10 torches, and provided all of the tools and materials to be used. Almost 20 beadmakers, both staff and volunteers, came together and got to work. In just eight short hours, they created hundreds of beautiful and unique glass beads, which will all be donated to Beads of Courage. Some participating artists even brought previously made beads for donation as well.

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33rd Rakow Commission is unveiled this week; Artist reminds us to look for the sunshine

Japanese artist and educator Rui Sasaki was selected to create the Museum’s 33rd Rakow Commission, which will be featured as the 100th work in New Glass Now. Sasaki will visit CMoG to deliver a Behind the Glass lecture about her work on March 28 at 6:30 p.m., after which, her work will be unveiled.

“The Rakow Commission is designed to assist emerging artists in pushing their practice and Rui’s piece, Liquid Sunshine/I am a Pluviophile is an excellent example of the process at work, said Susie Silbert, curator of modern and contemporary glass at The Corning Museum of Glass. “I’m incredibly impressed by her ambitious approach to material and concept, which she has furthered to great effect in this piece.” 

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Photographing glass: Using reflectors

An essential, but often underappreciated, bit of photography studio gear is the humble reflector card. In this post, I will show three examples of how we use reflectors with glass objects to demonstrate just how important they are.

What is a reflector card? Simply put, it is piece of card stock, foam board, paper, or foil used to reflect light from a source. It can be shiny, dull, satin, white, gray, etc. For our purposes, we only use neutral colors because, as a museum, we have a responsibility to faithfully reproduce accurate color of the objects we photograph. You can get reflector card stock and cut your own to size or buy assortments of common sizes (most of the reflectors in the examples in this post are made by LightRight). You can even use aluminum foil, which conveniently has a shiny and a dull side, attached to cardboard or foam board. Crinkling the foil and then smoothing it back out creates a third surface type. White card stock or foam board works well for softer fills.

In the three examples that follow, I will show how reflectors can be used to evenly light an entire object, showcase transparency and translucency, and subtly create highlights and define edges.

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The Corning Museum of Glass Partners on Glass Competition Show Blown Away 

The Corning Museum of Glass is thrilled to share news of an exciting collaboration on the forthcoming Netflix series, Blown Away, which will bring the art and beauty of glassblowing to television screens around the world. A visually compelling process often described as “mesmerizing” and “captivating,” glassblowing has never been the subject of any major TV programming—until now.  

The art glass competition show created by Marblemedia, an award-winning entertainment company based in Toronto, Canada, Blown Away features a group of 10 highly skilled glassmakers from North America creating beautiful works of art that are assessed by a panel of expert judges. One artist is eliminated each episode until a winner is announced in the tenth and final episode. A co-production with Blue Ant Media of Toronto, Blown Away will air on the Makeful channel in Canada before coming to the Netflix platform worldwide later this year.

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The Studio announces 2019 Residencies

Today, The Studio announced the 2019 Artists-in-Residence recipients: twelve artists from around the world who will each spend one month at The Studio, researching and experimenting with new techniques to further their work. Additionally, two artists and two scholars have been selected for the David Whitehouse Research Residency for Artists and the David Whitehouse Research Residency for Scholars, respectively. These recipients will spend up to three weeks in the Rakow Library, utilizing the vast holdings to inform their practice or area of research. Each resident will provide a public Lunchtime Lecture during their time at the Museum, describing their inspirations and work at The Studio and the Rakow Library.

2019 Artists-In-Residence at The Studio

Shinobu Kurosawa & Jim Butler
February 24-March 24; Public lecture on March 14

Shinobu Kurosawa, Happy Christmas.
Shinobu Kurosawa, Happy Christmas.

Translated literally, the Japanese word tonbodama means dragonfly ball. Since 2000, flameworker Shinobu Kurosawa has been making tonbodama beads that depict traditional Japanese landscape and nature scenes in glass.

In her March 2019 residency, Kurosawa will use The Studio’s resources to continue her research on tonbodama and expand her flameworking skills as she explores new possibilities in Japanese beadmaking.

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The Corning Museum of Glass Surveys Global Contemporary Glass in Special Exhibition Opening in May 2019

Today The Corning Museum of Glass (CMoG) announced that 100 artists—representing 32 nationalities and working in 25 countries—have been selected to exhibit in New Glass Now, a global survey of contemporary glass and the first exhibition of its kind organized by the Museum in 40 years. The show, which will be on view from May 12, 2019, through January 5, 2020, will include works ranging from large-scale installations and delicate miniatures to video and experiments in glass chemistry, all of which demonstrate the vitality and versatility of this dynamic material.

Problematica (Foam Rock), Sarah Briland

Sarah Briland
United States, b. 1980
Problematica (Foam Rock)
United States, Richmond, Virginia, 2016
Foam, Aqua Resin, glass microspheres, steel, concrete stand
With stand: 96.5 x 52 x 45.7 cm
Photo: Terry Brown

In spring 2018, CMoG welcomed submissions of new works, made between 2015 and 2018 in which glass plays a fundamental role, for consideration by a panel comprising Susie J. Silbert, Curator of Modern and Contemporary Glass at CMoG, and three guest curators, including: Aric Chen, curator-at-large, M+ museum, Hong Kong; Susanne Jøker Johnsen, artist and head of exhibitions at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, Schools of Architecture, Design and Conservation, Denmark; and American artist Beth Lipman. More than 1,400 artists, designers and architects working in 52 countries—from Argentina, Australia, Indonesia and Japan to the United States, United Kingdom, and beyond—submitted works, which draw upon flameworking, glassblowing, casting, neon, carving, and kilnworking techniques, among others. Read more →