Reel glassy: 15 Movies to explore

Box of movie popcorn

If you are a red-carpet buff, you are no doubt anxiously awaiting the 91st Academy Awards ceremony and the chance to find out what films and film stars the Academy chose to honor this year with the golden Oscar statuette. If you’ve already watched all of the 2019 nominees for best films and are still hunting for something to see, enjoy this selection of movies that feature glass in a starring role.

**As a librarian, I feel compelled to foist this fun fact about Oscar on you: It was supposedly named by Academy librarian Margaret Herrick because the statue looked like her Uncle Oscar. **

Award winners

Age of Innocence movie poster

The Age of Innocence (1993)
Winner, Best Costume Design. Welcome to the extravagant luxury of Knickerbocker society, home to the Astors and Vanderbilts and Morgans. Martin Scorcese’s film is full of beautiful glassware, in luxurious historical settings. Be prepared to drool.

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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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Hearts for the non-romantic

Pile of colored candy hearts

Valentine’s Day is in the air—whether we like it or not. Store shelves are stocked with candy hearts, heart-shaped boxes of chocolate, and cards decorated with glittery red and pink hearts in various shapes and sizes. The Museum is offering visitors opportunities to make glass heart beads, heart pendants, and heart-shaped paperweights at The Studio.

We’ve posted on this blog about the symbol of the heart in pressed glass, but one of the first reference questions I fielded as a librarian at the Museum’s Rakow Research Library made me curious about anatomical hearts of glass: Did Leonardo da Vinci actually create a glass model to study how blood moved through the heart’s valves? When I started working at the Library, I wasn’t sure what kinds of questions to expect. This question, however, filled me with excitement and delight.

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New e-resource on Renaissance Venetian-style glass

The Corning Museum of Glass is launching a new electronic resource, The Techniques of Renaissance Venetian-Style Glassworking, by artist and scholar William Gudenrath. A follow-up to the Museum’s popular, first-ever scholarly e-resource, The Techniques of Renaissance Venetian Glassworking, which came out in 2016, this new resource presents 20 complete video reconstructions of the Venetian glassworking process.

Author William Gudenrath at work in The Studio of The Corning Museum of Glass.

While the first publication detailed the golden age of Venetian glassworking and its rise to prominence in the manufacture of luxury glass, the new publication follows the Venetian maestros as they fled isolation and restrictive conditions in the lagoon to set up workshops in a variety of locations across Europe—taking their masterful skills and technical prowess with them.

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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 →

Photographing glass, part 3: Lighting techniques for transparent glass objects

This is the third in a series of blog posts addressing photographic lighting techniques for transparent glasses. It builds on the techniques discussed in the first two posts, Photographing glass, part 1 and Photographing glass, part 2.

In the first two posts, I used colorless engraved glasses to demonstrate how we can reveal detail by exploiting the ways glass interacts optically with its surroundings in a carefully controlled lighting environment.

In this third post, I use two different objects without engraving to demonstrate how the same lighting principles can be used to capture more subtle elements like tooling marks and optic ribbing. I also present a few techniques used to define edges and introduce controlled reflections. My goal is to capture details that provide insight into the process of making the objects as well as the properties of the glass itself.

As with the first two posts in this series, all objects are photographed on a translucent white acrylic surface (PlexiGlas 2447 with a P95 matte finish). Read more →