Viewing: Curiosities

Tuesday May 30, 2017 | by Andrew Page

CURIOSITY: A new species of glass frog with translucent skin discovered in Ecuador

Filed under: Curiosities, News

"Glass frog" is a term given to a group of South and Central American arboreal frogs distinguished by a uniquely translucent skin, with some having a practically transparent underside of the abdomen which allows a clear view of working internal organs. A newly discovered species of glass frog, Hyalinobatrachium yaku, has been identified in Ecuador, according to an article recently published in the journal ZooKeys. One of the special features of this newly discovered variant is an almost completely see-through belly, where the heart, stomach, and blood vessels are on vivid display, albeit covered in some kind of white coating.

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Leana Quade, Release (video still), 2017. Glass panel and strap. courtesy: artist website.

Thursday May 11, 2017 | by Gabi Gimson

OPENING: Leana Quade’s anxiety-producing experimental glass projects on view in Pittsburgh exhibit

The Pittsburgh Glass Center has unveiled an exhibition by glass artist and self-proclaimed mad scientist, Leana Quade, best-known for her coiled glass springs and shattering a flat piece of tempered glass by ratcheting it into a tighter and tighter curve until it explodes. You can experience the nerve-rattling effect of her performance piece Release (2017) in the video below.

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Thursday July 7, 2016 | by Sarah Canny

CURIOSITIES: Slide 1,000 feet above Los Angeles latest architectural glass gimmick

Filed under: Architecture, Curiosities, News

Following a top-floor renovation, The U.S. Bank Tower in downtown Los Angeles has just opened a unique and tourist-friendly architectural feature called "The Skyslide," an unusual way to access the expansive new observation deck on the building's 69th floor (which can also be reached by elevator). More dramatic (and somewhat silly) is to slide down from the 70th floor, enjoying the sights via a glass chute 1,018-feet above ground. The transparency of glass heightens the views from highest public vantage point in Los Angles, and the tallest building west of the Mississippi. While a ride on an empty sack down to the outdoor observation deck is not the most elegant way to get there, the glass slide is a headline-seeking way to get publicity, at which it has been quite successful. The official website of the OUE Skyspace deck and Skyslide can be found here.

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MIT Glass Lab head Peter Houk consulting with MIT Director of Collections Deborah Douglas.

Wednesday November 18, 2015 | by Andrew Page

CURIOSITIES: MIT’s Peter Houk interviewed about unearthed 1957 glass time capsule

Even before construction of the new nanotechnology lab at MIT has been completed, the facility is already yielding unexpected discoveries. Workers digging into the campus near Building 26 unearthed a sealed glass time capsule that had been buried in 1957 by students and their famous MIT professor Harold Edgerton (1903 – 1990), best known for his strobe photography that froze splashing liquid or the impact of bullets and explosions. The flameworked capsule stuffed with paper and scientific samples bears clear instructions not to open until 2957, or 1,000 years from its time of burial. In an official MIT video, director of collections Deborah Douglas talked about what remains enclosed in the sealed capsule. Whether it will be opened or not is unclear from the video.

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Vesna Jovanovic. "Elisabeth Morrow," 2014, 24"x36," Gouache, Ink, Watercolor, Graphite, and Colored Pencil on Paper

Friday November 6, 2015 | by Sia Lenaburg

EXHIBITION: Medical glass takes center stage at Chicago’s International Museum of Surgical Science

Advances in glass technology have paralleled the development of modern medicine since Anton van Leeuwenhoek's breakthroughs in optical lenses and microscopes in the 17th century began to unravel the mysteries of blood flow, yeasts, and the how small parasites can affect human health. Glass instruments in medical science are directly or indirectly responsible for a substantial number of the improvements the world has seen in health and health care, and glass participates in forwarding expansion of the human lifespan. Just how indispensible the material is to the medical field is brought home in an exhibition currently on view at the International Museum of Surgical Science in Chicago, a great detour for those in town for the big SOFA art fair this weekend. The GLASS Quarterly Hot Sheet recently interviewed Collin Pressler, curator at IMSS, to discuss the museum’s take on how glass is both an historical and aesthetic display of beauty and purpose.  

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Number 4, the fourth iteration by Brian Chivers of an all-glass guitar that is functional and catching the eye of rock stars.

Friday August 22, 2014 | by Andrew Page

CURIOSITIES: Wisconsin glazier carves all-glass electric guitar that is getting notice

Filed under: Curiosities, Design, News

Brian Chivers plays drums, not guitar. For most of his 35-year career in the city of Waukashaw, Wisconsin, he has worked as a glass glazier replacing storefront windows rather than as a designer of musical instruments. But Chivers' uncanny ability to cut flat glass with a standard wood-handled glass cutter into intricate shapes led to him making glass guitar wall sculptures for his friends. When Chivers decided to present one of his guitar sculptures to fellow Waukashaw native and musical legend Les Paul after a 2007 concert in Milwaukee, the innovator of the solid-body electric guitar encouraged Chivers to develop a working glass guitar. Though Paul died in 2009 before Chivers felt he had perfected his prototype, the glass glazier found his calling. He has continued to develop his innovative glass electric guitar with his company BC Glass Studio in successive prototypes, and he is now on the fourth generation model which is as light as a wooden electric guitar (Chivers models his glass axes after the Gibson Les Paul wooden guitar) and far more eye-catching. The clear tone and uniquely transparent appearance of the guitar has won the attention of rock stars including Mick Jones, guitarist and founding member of the band Foreigner, who Chivers met backstage while showing off his guitar at a music festival.

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Pyrex glass sculptures by Jane D'Arensbourg

Thursday July 17, 2014 | by Paulina Switniewska

OPENING: Jane D’Arensbourg’s borosilicate creations debuting in Manhattan retail space tonight

Glass and jewelry artist Jane D’Arensbourg, known for her unique styles of wearable glass and multimedia art and sculpture, will be showcasing her work tonight at retail store and gallery “Project No. 8” at 38 Orchard Street, New York. D’Arensbourg possesses many items in her repertoire, including smaller sculptures, rings, earrings, bracelets, necklaces, and other etceteras. The exhibition will commence at 6 PM, with refreshments provided by Fung Tu restaurant. 

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CUD's shoe mosaic in the making

Thursday May 29, 2014 | by Paulina Switniewska

On heels of Norway residency, John Drury opens Brooklyn exhibition

Elgin Gallery, a gallery focusing on local talent and international Outsider Art in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn, will be showcasing the work of John Drury in a solo show entitled "My World is Not Your World." Opening June 13th and running through July 11th, 2014, the exhibiton will be a departure from Drury's typical collaborations with Robbie Miller in the project known as CUD. In May, CUD completed a residency and exhibition in Bergen, Norway, that culminated in a public art installation. Drury is also a frequent contributor to GLASS: The UrbanGlass Art Quarterly.

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Friday June 21, 2013 | by Gina DeCagna

GLASS CURIOSITIES: A beer bottle is engraved with a music track

Filed under: Curiosities, Design, News

Beck’s “Edison Bottle” is an opportunity to market the company’s iconic green beer bottle, in addition to breaking new ground in musical recording technology. courtesy: becks brewery

The German-based beer company Beck’s is publicizing their new “record label” based in Auckland, New Zealand with a distinctive musical playback system: a glass variation of the old-fashioned phonograph technology invented in 1877 by Thomas Edison (the same year Beck’s was founded in Europe). Replacing the 19th-century phonograph’s wax cylinder with a machine-made green glass beer bottle, the process is also highly contemporary as the music is etched into the glass bottle using a hard drive arm to encode the digital track as the Beck’s bottle was turning on a lathe. The result is being billed as the world’s first glass bottle to be encoded with a music recording, and was unveiled at the Semi-Permanent Design Conference in Auckland, New Zealand last month.

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Friday May 31, 2013 | by laguiri

Glass Curiosities: Lewis Hine’s child-labor photos document the early 20th-century American glass in

Filed under: Curiosities

Lewis Hine, Glass Blower and Mold Boy. Boy has 4 1/2 hours of this at a stretch, then an hour’s rest and 4 1/2 more: cramped position. Day shift one week: night shift next. (see label on photo 162.) Grafton, W. Va. Location: Grafton, West Virginia. 1908 October

Best known for his images of children who worked in other perilous trades—as textile factory workers or oyster shuckers, for example—photographer Lewis Hine took more than 150 photographs of children employed in American glass and bottling factories, a fraction of the roughly 5,000 photographs he took to document working and living conditions for the National Child Labor Committee.

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GLASS: The UrbanGlass Quarterly, a glossy art magazine published four times a year by UrbanGlass has provided a critical context to the most important artwork being done in the medium of glass for 35 years.