Oh what an absolute treat it was to visit the Toledo Museum of Art this past week! It was Spring Break in my neighborhood, so I took three out of my four kiddos, and met up with Uncle Paul and Aunt Judy to survey the glassy offerings at the Museum’s amazing Glass Pavillion. It was quite an eye-opening and drool inducing experience for me, like a kid in a candy store. At one point it felt like the heavens opened up and angels began singing as I got to see up close examples of glorious glass work I have only seen on the internet or in books.
The titillating experience began in the bathroom where they had the most wonderful sinks! Of course this glass geek had to capture them on film. Love! My girls were equally impressed. It definitely set the tone for an amazing day of discovery in glass!
And so we journeyed forth to wind our way through the glass Pavillion. The large, curvy windows on the building were most remarkable architectural glass specimens. Apparently we chose a time in transition for our visit, with many items having recently been moved around. Some, like this breath-taking glass sculpture on the left were missing labels leaving me wanting to know whodunit? I’m not complaining however, because part of the collection was closed off entirely the week prior.
I am now fully immersed in a copy of “Harvey Littelton: A Life in Glass”. YUM!!!!! I’m savoring and appreciating every word as my awareness of Toledo’s historic connection to the studio glass movement and of the key players in the movement continues to expand. This wall of glass installation to the right is titled “Vitrana” by Dominick Labino, a co-conspirator of the studio movement, was outstanding. It’s difficult to convey in words exactly how exciting it was to wander through the Contemporary glass section. I think I was most blown away by seeing Toots Zynsky’s Filet-de-Verre Fused and thermo formed colored glass threads creation up close. So inspiring! It ALL was. I could have been content to spend the rest of the day camped out in there, drooling, taking it all in, and being introduced to glass artists work I have not yet had the pleasure of meeting. As it was, my family had to pry me away from this room so we could have a bite to eat before the glass blowing demonstration.
My girls very much enjoyed seeing glass blowing up close. In fact, it’s interesting and historically cool to note that they found three stray marbles on the floor that had likely come from the visiting resident artists’ work during the days prior. Now I have come to learn that these are quite noteworthy Johns Manville #475 marbles, which I understand Dominick Labino had suggested Littleton use when the original batch of glass failed during their history-in-the-making 1962 workshop.
There is a very interesting blog post from Glass Quarterly which talks about the Art residency that took place this past week in Toledo commemorating the 50th Anniversary of Littleton’s 1962 workshops. Those stray marbles my girls came across (and kept after we asked permission) are about the best souvenir I could dream of my girls having to remember this special field trip!
Our dreamy visit came to a close as we took a little time to cross the street over to the main building where I was ecstatic to see this glorious glass sculpture by Venetian maestro Leo Tagliapietra. Though it reminds me of an epididymis (forgive…lol), it is titled “Dinosaur”, where, inspired by the fishes that inhabit the waters in Venice Leo’s homeland, he has attempted to integrate the fluidity of fish with the strength of the dinosaur. This was created in May of 2006 when the Museum’s Hot Shop opened up in the Glass Pavillion.
Well, what a most memorable way to spend a day! So inspiring and humbling at the same time. My work may pale in comparison, but seeing a larger picture of how the Studio Glass Movement has lead to me being able to more easily utilize glass as an artistic medium, and seeing the explosion of creativity that resulted from that movement, gives me huge sense of appreciation and a healthy dose of courage to want to keep up with my little experiments and improve the best I can along the way.
If you are a total glass geek like me, then I encourage you to take the time to watch this informative video on Harvey K. Littleton and the Studio Glass Movement.