Museum of Glass

On January 8th my friend and I visited the Museum of Glass in Tacoma, Washington.  We live in Western Washington so it was a quick adventure south of us.

We spent a lot of time outside enjoying the balmy and sunny 50 degree weather, which is pretty great for January in Western Washington.  The reflective pond with its clear glass art was fun to photograph (both with and without sun).  The cone shaped building that houses the Hot Shop (where glass blowing demonstrations are held) is quite hard to photograph in my novice opinion.  Most of my pictures looked like I was holding the camera at a weird angle.  And, then of course there is the Chihuly Bridge of Glass.  While beautiful, it wasn’t that easy to photograph although I got a few nice images.

The buildings nearby were aged beautifully and gave me a new perspective of downtown Tacoma.  I always thought it was a ‘pit’ of a city…no offense…but some of the architecture is quite nice.  I see myself heading down there another time to walk around the entire area taking pictures.

There were five exhibits in progress during our visit.  Let’s start with what I liked and end what what I thought was just ok.  Keep in mind…these are just my opinions and I’m sure that every single person gets something different out of the exhibits/artists.

Glimmering Gone – Ingalena Klenell and Beth Lipman

All I can say about this work of art is…WOW!  It was all clear or nearly clear glass, but the textures and shapes made the piece sing.  It was a full room display of a landscape with mountains, trees, bushes, water, etc.  There were also smaller pieces by them, but honestly they were just ho-hum in my opinion.  The artists actually worked separately on this project and came together at the Museum of Glass to put it all together.  I tried to get a postcard of the landscape (because you can’t take pictures), but they were completely out in the gift shop.  Just another testament of its awesomeness.  I’d recommend going to the Museum of Glass just to see this.

Beauty Beyond Nature – Glass Art by Paul Stankard

This exhibit was smaller works of art and talk about detail.  Basically it was a collection of paperweights made by Paul Stankard.  He actually had a career making glass medical equipment and at night he would make glass art using the same equipment. His collections span about 40 years and they even have a few of his really early pieces.  The details in the flowers and insects within the paperweights is truly amazing and the added creepiness of the roots which show human faces and bodies is the icing on the cake.  I had a hard time choosing between Glimmering Gone and this exhibit as my favorite.

Parenthetically Speaking:  It’s Only a Figure of Speech – Mildred Howard

This was a completely different subject type than I’ve seen before.  It really is just punctuation marks made out of glass.  They were all either black or red glass.  Funny thing is, we hit this exhibit right after Glimmering Gone and I had just said ‘I actually prefer clear glass over solid colored glass’.  Well, this was a lesson…don’t make random comments about what kind of art you like.  Even though these were solid red and black I really liked their bold statement.

Transformation:  Art Changes a City – Peter Serko

This was an exhibit of Museum of Glass images taken over the years by Peter Serko.  We honestly didn’t spend much time looking at the images, but a couple caught my eye.  Now that I’m thinking about it, I should have spent more time on this exhibit since photography is something I want to get better at.

Gathering – John Miller and Friends

This was probably my least favorite exhibit, but even given that it will probably stick with me just as long as the others.  My best description of this exhibit is HUGE goblets comprised of beauty on both ends.  A few of the goblets were really pretty, but most were pretty at the top and bottom…let me explain.  In the middle of the stems of some of them were really strange objects (i.e. cheeseburger, rocket, bird, wrench…and, I think one even had a fire truck or something like that) made out of sculpted glass.  They just didn’t really connect with me.  Although a few looked like they would make nice lamps.

That’s it for my review.  If by chance anyone reading this has seen some of these exhibits, I’d love to hear what you thought.  Feel free to comment.

Click here to see the rest of my pictures.

3 thoughts on “Museum of Glass

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