The Snowflake Warrior Vase: Experiments to understand snowflakes and their suspension

Snowflake Warrior Vase, possibly Beijing, China, about 1825-1875. Gift of Benjamin D. Bernstein. 57.6.10.

I was intrigued and somewhat baffled when introduced to the Snowflake Warrior Vase and other snowflake glass objects in the Museum’s collection by Dr. Shelly Xue, our 2019 Carpenter Foundation Fellow for Asian Glass, and Astrid van Giffen, associate conservator at The Corning Museum of Glass. I was aware of the vase in our collection but can honestly say I had never given the background glass (the interior layer of glass) much attention. They were researching the Snowflake Warrior Vase and similar snowflake glass objects (read more about the Warrior Vase carvings and snowflake glass here) and asked me, a glassmaker, to suggest how such an unusual glass might have made.

Harry Seaman discussing samples with Dr. Shelly Xue (middle) and Assistant Conservator Lianne Uesato, in the Conservation Lab.

Looking closely, the inner layer of the Snowflake Warrior Vase is a glass unlike any other. This colorless glass not only contains a great density of fine bubbles (seeds) but also a significant amount of undissolved inclusion material. This “snowflake” material is in suspension evenly throughout the seedy glass. The seeds and inclusion material show up in varying densities in different objects, but the Snowflake Warrior Vase is a stunning example with a significant density of both bubbles and snowflake material.

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Virtual Journeys into our Collection: Thoughts from a Photographer

This recurring blog series will feature virtual gallery walks with staff members from The Corning Museum of Glass. Everyone at our Museum interacts with the collection in different ways depending on the job they do and the perspective they bring. Hear from fascinating people and learn about their favorite objects as they provide a virtual peek at some of the treasures in our collection—and make plans to come see them in person when we reopen! This next comes from Andy Fortune, collections photography department manager.


 
Andy Fortune

I first came to The Corning Museum of Glass as a photography assistant in 1996. I had photographed glass before, both personally and for another museum, but I was never satisfied with the results. I loved the way glass responded to light, but I struggled to capture it effectively. The Museum’s head of Photography at that time, Nick Williams, generously shared his knowledge and introduced me to a whole new world of approaches to tackle the challenges of lighting and photographing glass well, and I have been hooked ever since. My own way of paying that generosity forward has been a series of blogs on the subject to help others with the same interest in photographing glass.

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Next Stop, ‘America for Beginners’: a novel comes to Corning

This blog post comes to us from guest contributor, Leah Franqui, a Philadelphia-native now living in Mumbai, author of the debut novel ‘America for Beginners’ (2018). The fascinating story of a wealthy widow from India who takes a tour of America in search of her long-lost son, ‘America for Beginners’ weaves its characters into the very fabric of America, and makes not least of all, a stop at our very own Corning Museum of Glass.

Get your summer reading started early while you continue social distancing, and find out what inspired Franqui to set a scene within the Museum’s galleries and the affect it has on her characters.


 
Leah Franqui

It’s probably not every bachelorette party that includes The Corning Museum of Glass on their itinerary, and frankly, that might be for the best. It is a glass museum, after all. But my bachelorette party knew me well, so they knew that while I would love the wine tastings they’d organized for me in the Finger Lakes, the real star of the show would be in Corning, where I would finally visit the museum in real life that I had been looking at online for months.  

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Virtual Journeys into our Collection: Behind the Glass with our Curators

This recurring blog series will feature virtual gallery walks with staff members from The Corning Museum of Glass. Everyone at our Museum interacts with the collection in different ways depending on the job they do and the perspective they bring. Hear from fascinating people and learn about their favorite objects as they provide a virtual peek at some of the treasures in our collection—and make plans to come see them in person when we reopen! This next comes from the curatorial team.


 

The curators at The Corning Museum of Glass come from backgrounds as diverse as their specialties. But something they have in common is their love for the collection and being able to share and talk about it with our guests; through the exhibitions they curate, the tours they give, and the lectures they present.

The Museum’s curators. Left to right: Alexandra Ruggiero, Christopher Maxwell, Susie J. Silbert, Katherine Larson, Marvin Bolt, and Linnea Seidling in front.

So, if you’ve already binge-watched everything on Netflix or simply can’t remember the last time you geeked out on an unusual topic, then our curators have some ideas for you. Several times a year, the Museum hosts a lecture series called Behind the Glass and invites amazing artists, researchers, and deep glassy thinkers to the Museum to give cool talks to our members and guests. Fortunately for us, many of these talks were recorded and are available on our YouTube channel for times just like these when we can’t stray far from the couch. We asked our curators to share their favorites.

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From CMoG with Love: Five Feel-Good Stories

The Corning Museum of Glass may be closed temporarily to guests and staff alike while the COVID-19 pandemic affects our community, but that doesn’t mean the work stops. Our staff and their families have been hard at work in many wonderful ways to ensure that they are doing everything they can to protect our institution, our collections, our communities, and ourselves while maintaining our position as a world leader on glass.

Here are just a few of the things that we’ve been up to.

Masks and gloves boxed up and ready for donation.

1. When the Museum temporarily closed to the public on Monday, March 16, 2020, and asked its staff to work from home, an assessment was made of ways that we could continue to operate and send aid to the local community. Our Operations team searched the campus and located 2,000 masks, 1,000 gloves, and some safety glasses, that could all be donated.

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CMoG Keeps You Busy: Things You Can Do at Home

Are you at home and in need of new sources of inspiration? Have you already exhausted your to-do list of house projects, cleaned the kitchen multiple times, finished several books, and asked everyone you know what’s good on Netflix? Well, don’t worry, The Corning Museum of Glass has some fresh ideas for you and the whole family.

We’ve searched our blog archive for a selection of unique things you can do from the comfort of your own home while still practicing social distancing, so let’s see what’s on the agenda for today.

 

Perhaps it’s time you dusted off all the old Pyrex you have stored away in various cupboards and hidden in the attic and gave everything a thorough clean.

Read this blog about how to correctly clean your Pyrex collection and restore everything to its former glory. Maybe you’ll want to start baking afterward!

 
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Connect with The Corning Museum of Glass from your Couch: A Guide to our Digital Offerings

Dear blog readers,   

We are in the midst of an unprecedented moment for museums and cultural institutions across the country. With widespread closures due to COVID-19, our most direct way to reach the public is no longer a viable option. We are all doing what we can to make sure the visitors who would normally walk through our doors know that they can still engage with us from the comfort of their homes.  

The Corning Museum of Glass

Currently, The Corning Museum of Glass is closed, and all scheduled classes, events, and programs are canceled until further notice. It’s vital that we do our part to promote social distancing and limit the spread of COVID-19. And while you’re doing your part to stick close to home, we know you’ll be in need of some educational entertainment.   

With our vast and myriad collection of online resources, we’ve got you covered.  

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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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