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Keeping It Glassy

March 10, 2014 02:48 PM  

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Mark Reigelman II, New York, NY, Breaking the Bottle Collection, 2011, glass and wood. Private collection.

On a daily basis, we see glass used in menial things such as windows, drinkware, and eyeglasses. But the material takes on new meaning in a work of art. Distinctive pieces sculpted by glass artisans in New England and around the country are featured in Supercool Glass, an exhibit on view at the Shelburne Museum through June 8. It’s one of the first exhibits at the $7.7 Pizzagali Center for Art and Education, which opened last August. (“Of Its Time”, Design New England November/December 2013).

Supercool Glass showcases 19th-century pieces from the museum’s collection alongside contemporary work by artists including Ethan Bond Watts, Gary Bodker, Alyssa Oxley, Stephanie Pender, Mark Reigelman II, Charlotte Potter, Amber Cowan, Madeline Steimle, Bohyun Yoon, Steven and William Ladd, and Kim Harty. Having these pieces side-by-side allows visitors to evaluate the visual progression and technical advancements of glassmaking in America over the course of two centuries.

“Before the development and refinement of plastics in the 20th century, glass was a universal material,” says Kory Rogers, event coordinator and curator of design arts at the museum. “Its unique physical and aesthetic qualities made it the ideal substance for use in virtually every aspect of life, from dining to fashion, from architecture to medicine, from entertainment to marketing. Supercool Glass explores the multifaceted nature of this miraculous material and its manifold uses in daily life, both past and present.”

From the museum’s collection, there’s architectural glass, medical instruments, and beaded costumes. To take working with glass a step further, there are also paintings of glass objects.

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Edwin Romanzo Elmer, Magic Glasses, c. 1891, oil on canvas. Collection of Shelburne Museum.

Contemporary pieces include glass-encrusted chairs, a suit of armor, and sculptures by Eric Franklin influenced by human skulls.

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Eric Franklin, Skull #3 (detail), Portland, Oregon, 2013, flame worked borosilicate glass, ionized neon and mercury, wood, electronics. On loan from the artist.

Standing just 8 inches tall, a glass tricycle by Andy Paiko is cute and somewhat functional. While you won’t see anyone riding one of these down the street, Paiko says that the wheels do actually turn. It’s a model for a larger version Paiko hopes to create in the future.

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Andy Paiko, 8 inch tall glass tricycle.

Supercool Glass, Shelburne Museum, 6000 Shelburne Road, Shelburne, Vermont; exhibit through June 8; shelburnemuseum.org.

Great design is always at your fingertips! Read the March/April 2014 issue online!

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About this blog

An insider's look at must-have products, fresh trends, and inspired spaces from the team at Design New England magazine.

Gail Ravgiala is editor of Design New England and a fan of both the region's historic architecture and its growing inventory of modern houses and public buildings.

Courtney Kasianowicz is associate editor of Design New England who scouts the area for new design, charming products, and local artisans both innovative and daring.

Jill Connors, Design New England's editor-at-large, is an antiques maven and design scout and will post about trends and discoveries in the field.

Bruce Irving, Design New England's contributing editor for architecture & building, is a renovation specialist who will share his insights on design and construction.

Estelle Bond Guralnick, Design New England's style & interiors editor, will post about interior design and interior designers and her favorite finds.

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