Author Archives: Lee Gaizak

In Memoriam: Jane Osborn-Smith

The late artist and designer Jane Osborn-Smith was the wife of designer and sculptor Peter Aldridge.

The late artist and designer Jane Osborn-Smith was the wife of designer and sculptor Peter Aldridge.

A British painter, illustrator, and ceramist who specialized in delicately painted porcelain vessels, Jane Osborn-Smith died on October 1, 2013 in Old Chatham, New York. Though not her primary material, Osborn-Smith also worked with glass, designing engraved glass vessels and small-scale sculptures for Steuben from 1985 to 1998. Her Steuben design, Shakespeare’s Flowers, was selected by President and Mrs. George H. W. Bush as a gift of state to Queen Elizabeth II, commemorating the Queen’s visit to the United States in 1991. Her limited edition Swan Bowl, designed with her husband, Peter Aldridge, for Steuben in 1985, was an enduringly popular design for the luxury glass manufacturer. Continue reading

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OPENING: Hiromi Takizawa’s private emotion and public symbol at Box Gallery, UrbanGlass

Hiromi Takizawa, Shipping from California, 2009. Blown Glass, Neon, Wood.

Hiromi Takizawa’s mixed-media installations rely heavily on glass. With her work appearing in two group shows next month, Takizawa traces a thematic fixation of the artist: her cross-cultural experience as a Japanese woman in the U.S., separated by an ocean from her family and country, sifting through the kaleidoscope of West Coast American life. This personal narrative features prominently in the descriptions of her works — in titles such as Crossing the Pacific Ocean (2007), Shipping from California (2009), Parallel Lives (a reference to Takizawa’s twin sister in Japan) and in her method that Tazikawa calls “cultural self-portrait”: a work that attempts to give materiality to a moment or scene of cultural identity, cultural displacement. These cultural self-portraits are precarious, unstable, fragile, suggestive of a emptiness that is tenuously filled, but always retaining a constitutive lack. In her lighter moments there is also a dreamy playfulness. Continue reading

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SEEN: Scott Darlington’s glass hammer comes down at the Toledo Museum

Scott Darlington, Genetically Modified Corn Hammer, 2010.

Taking a first place award at the 92nd Toledo Area Artists Exhibition at the Toledo Museum of Art (and on display through August 22nd), Scott Darlington’s Genetically Modified Corn Hammer (2010) may be one of the artist’s most compelling works to date. The hammer’s self-descriptive title and simple premise belie (or perhaps, in an ironic reversal, actually attest to) the inquisitive nature of its content. More than simple juxtaposition, the work plays with the somewhat hazy distinction between natural and man-made, expressing the complex status of the “tool” and its development in human civilization. Continue reading


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2010 Ranamok Glass Prize awarded to New Zealand’s Sue Hawker

Sue Hawker, Too Much Is Never Enough, 2010. Pâte de verre. H 19 1/2, W 9 3/4 in. photo: ron hawker

Sue Hawker’s work Too Much Is Never Enough (2010) has beaten out 43 competing entries to win the 2010 Ranamok Prize for Contemporary Glass, Australia and New Zealand. The piece, a pâte-de-verre vessel composed of connected flower petals in vibrant colors, is accompanied by a short poem: “Too much gloom, too much doom./ Too much misery, too much!/ Enough!/ Drink of me,/ I am joy and vitality./ Now, too much is never enough.” Continue reading

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Glass Curiosities: Ten-foot solar-powered flower sculpture doubles as environmental tracking device

Heliotropis, a recently-completed work by Anthony Castronovo, is perhaps atypical even in the rather rarefied genre of ten-foot tall flower sculptures, given its LED technology, solar panels, sensors for monitoring temperature, humidity, wind speed, and ground vibrations, in addition to a sensor that tracks light, allowing for the flower’s glass petals to “bloom” in the morning and for an LED light-fixture to be activated in the evening. Take that, Balloon Flower! Continue reading


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OPENING: John Kiley & Dante Marioni at Traver Thursday

Dante Marioni, Heliotrope with Red Standing Leaf, 2010. courtesy: traver gallery, seattle

This joint exhibition of new works by John Kiley and Dante Marioni (opening August 5th and on display through August 29th), provides an ideal chance to reflect on the outsize influence of the Italian master Lino Tagliapietra. It was, of course, Tagliapietra who brought Venetian glassblowing to the United States in the late 1970s, revolutionizing glassmaking practice through the introduction of centuries-old techniques to a younger generation. Both Kiley and Marioni worked closely with Tagliapietra, and (like Tagliapietra, himself) have taken traditional Venetian techniques and expanded on them by bringing their own artistic sensibilities. The results deftly illustrate two different ways one can pay homage to tradition while expanding the range of possibilities of the tradition itself. Continue reading

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Call for Entries: California beer brewer seeks new designs for special-edition Oktoberfest glasses

In honor of the upcoming 2010 Oktoberfest, national craft brewer Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. headquartered in Chico, California, has initiated a search for an original glass beer stein design with the Sierra Nevada logo. The winning design will be sold in a limited-edition run at the brewery gift shop, and possibly via the brewing company’s online gift shop. Officially entitled the “Ein Stein Design Vendor Search,” the company is looking for a designer with the capacity to produce a limited edition of 200-300 glass steins. Continue reading

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