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Katherine Gray

Talking Out Your Glass podcast

Release Date: 04/30/2021

Between Us: John Littleton and Kate Vogel’s Contributions to Glass show art Between Us: John Littleton and Kate Vogel’s Contributions to Glass

Talking Out Your Glass podcast

Well-known early on for their signature blown glass Bags, the subsequent cast glass work of John Littleton and Kate Vogel provided a new outlet for complex contemplations, questions and reflections. In this dramatic departure from their lighthearted Bags, faces and hands are used in various poses and combinations to explore states of mind, relationships, and even spiritual themes.

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Robin Grebe show art Robin Grebe

Talking Out Your Glass podcast

Inspired by Cycladic fertility icons, early Byzantine paintings, and folk art, Robin Grebe’s figures serve as a canvas or setting for her narratives. Using birds and plants as metaphors for mythic flight, spirituality, the intangible, and nature’s uncontrollable forces, Grebe transforms her personal search into a shared exploration.

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Joshua Opdenaker aka JOP! show art Joshua Opdenaker aka JOP!

Talking Out Your Glass podcast

The first in Philly’s Fishtown area to make a name for himself in the field, today there are at least five glass studios and 18 glassblowers on Opdenaker’s street alone. From group builds such as those of the Molten Art Classic to individual skill-building works such as goblets, JOP! glass’ pioneering spirit continues evolving with the scene.

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Sylvia Nicolas show art Sylvia Nicolas

Talking Out Your Glass podcast

One of the leading ecclesiastical artists in the United States, Sylvia Nicolas is a member of an illustrious and prolific stained glass family. She is the fourth of five generations specializing in the liturgical arts and the daughter of Joep and Suzanne Nicolas, both famous artists who immigrated from the Netherlands to the U.S. in 1939 to escape the rising tide of Nazism. Joep Nicolas was sometimes referred to as “the Father of Modern Stained Glass.”

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Crista Van Slyck-Matteson show art Crista Van Slyck-Matteson

Talking Out Your Glass podcast

Crista Van Slyck-Matteson’s multi-media art speaks of her love for wild spaces and deep connection to the Pacific Northwest. An accomplished sculptor, she allows her finely-honed intuition to guide spontaneous sculpting of natural world observations. Matteson’s work also utilizes technical mold-making skills to create exact replicas of found botanical forms. She combines these skills to create magical-realist sculptures.

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Jason McDonald: Investigating Identity, Racism and Representation show art Jason McDonald: Investigating Identity, Racism and Representation

Talking Out Your Glass podcast

In his current work, glassblower Jason McDonald tells important stories about social inequality through his intentionally made, well-crafted objects. His successful interweaving of those two trajectories continues to evolve through life-changing experiences such as his participation on the popular Netflix competition series Blown Away 2 and his recent week-long Murano, Italy, study with Maestro Davide Fuin as the recipient of the Windgate-Lamar Fellowship.

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Scott Ouderkirk: From Autonomous Panels to Wooden Boats show art Scott Ouderkirk: From Autonomous Panels to Wooden Boats

Talking Out Your Glass podcast

In this ToYG interview, Captain Scott Ouderkirk discusses his successful combination of fusing and stained glass in autonomous panels, unique marketing ideas and suggestions for stained glass artists, thoughts on the creative process regardless of genre, and his love of wooden boats and boating.

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Susan Taylor Glasgow show art Susan Taylor Glasgow

Talking Out Your Glass podcast

Susan Taylor Glasgow’s work embraces feminine ideals of sensuality in a seductive but unforgiving material, offering conflicting messages of comfort and expectation. Some of her sculpture pays tribute to the era of June Cleaver and Betty Crocker via images appropriated from the world of ‘50s and ‘60s television and advertising.

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Remembering Benjamin Moore show art Remembering Benjamin Moore

Talking Out Your Glass podcast

Seattle glass art legend Benjamin Moore died on June 25, 2021. A seminal figure in establishing Seattle as a contemporary glass center, Moore provided his studio and top-notch glassblowing team to make the work of the world’s finest artists and designers.

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Mark Peiser show art Mark Peiser

Talking Out Your Glass podcast

Since 1967 when Mark Peiser became involved with the Studio Glass Movement, he has been recognized for his uniquely individualized approaches and accomplishments in glass. Continual investigation of the expressive implications of glass properties and processes has led to his distinctive bodies of work. Recently Peiser published the book, Thirty-Eight Pieces of Glass – with Related Thoughts, pairing his glass with brief writings of resonance.

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More Episodes

Katherine Gray: Reconciling Polarities

Drawing on the rich traditions of glass blowing, fearless experimentation, and a fascination with glass as both a visual and experiential encounter, Katherine Gray creates work that ranges from blown glass sculptures to assembled installations of found glass. A visitor favorite at The Corning Museum of Glass is her Forest Glass, a large-scale installation comprised of found glass arranged to create the illusion of trees. Whether celebrating a prosaic material through installations or her Iridescent Entities, stylized hearths and campfires, or clouds and orbs, Gray forces us to appreciate glass anew. 

She says: “I use a material that we don’t generally see. It is often flawlessly clear and colorless, hence invisible in that regard, but it can also be so ubiquitous and banal that it does not register in our psyches either. It is a material that allows us unparalleled connectivity (via smart phones and fibre optics) yet also serves to separate us. To my mind, these two polarities are what set this material apart from so many others, and one of the reasons that I feel compelled to keep working with it as an artistic medium. It is both present and absent, known and unknown, and vacillating between a state of mundane familiarity and otherworldly perfection.”

In Heller Gallery’s 2020 exhibition, Radiant Mirage, Gray turned her considerable glass-making skills to creating objects that served two purposes: to bring beauty into a dire moment in the world, and to express her frustration over the loss of our collective sense of security and well-being. The common thread was her use of iridescence, an optical phenomenon seen in nature and inspired by unearthed ancient glass. Like natural phenomena that are caused by the refraction of light, Gray’s Entities and Tubes emphasized the elusiveness and shiftiness of iridized objects and projected an ephemeral shape and play of color our eye does not fully grasp.

Educated at the Ontario College of Art and the Rhode Island School of Design, Gray serves as the Resident Evaluator on Seasons 1 and 2 of Netflix’s reality TV show Blown Away.  Her works are held in the permanent collections of public institutions including the Toledo Museum of Art, Toledo, OH; Corning Museum of Glass, Corning, NY; Museum of American Glass, Wheaton, NJ; the Museum of Glass, Tacoma, WA; New Mexico Museum of Art, Santa Fe, NM; and Toyama City Institute of Glass Art, Toyama, Japan. Reviewed in the New York ObserverArtforum, and the Los Angeles Times, Gray has been nominated for the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Award, and has garnered many accolades including the Award of Merit from the Bellevue Art Museum in Washington. 

In addition to making work, Gray has written about glass, curated and juried multiple exhibitions, and has taught workshops around the world. In 2017, she received the Libenský/Brychtová Award from the Pilchuck Glass School for her artistic and educational contributions to the field. She was also honored as a Fellow of the American Craft Council (ACC), a national nonprofit dedicated to advancing American craft. To be named a fellow, an artist must demonstrate leadership in the field, outstanding ability as an artist and/or teacher, and 25 years or more of professional achievement as an American craftsperson. Currently, Gray lives in Los Angeles where she is a professor of art at California State University, San Bernardino.

To Gray, glass is a material of both otherworldly perfection and mundane familiarity. She says: “I’m trying to play off of polarities between usage of material and the sphere it exists in, who makes it, who uses it, who values it, and trying to point out some of the inequalities.”