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Cat Burns

Talking Out Your Glass podcast

Release Date: 05/19/2021

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

Cat Burns: Not Your Grandma’s Glass

Whether creating her signature Nesting Bowls, a dazzling murrine sculpture Windows of Truth, or an unforgettable glass fashion statement Forbidden Twizzlers, Cat Burns captured viewers’ hearts and minds as a contestant on Blown Away 2 – Netflix’s glassblowing competition show produced by marblemedia with the support of The Corning Museum of Glass (CMoG). As runner-up of the competition, she scrambles to keep up with the overwhelming interest of the general public in supporting her art through acquisition.

A defiant artist who uses flamboyant, sarcastic humor to illustrate her internal narrative, Burns touched the Blown Away 2 audience with her honesty and vulnerability. She cultivates her work very slowly and uses it as a visual diary, creating audacious imagery as a way of communicating and synthesizing the often perplexing, manic experience of living with depression. The work explores the delicate strength of glass as a final object, as well as its use as a personally therapeutic tool. By destigmatizing personal demons, her work explores what it means to “go a little crazy.”

Some of Burns’ glasswork centers around her failing eyesight and how this impacts her world as a maker. She has needed glasses since age two for extreme nearsightedness, and her mother was almost completely blind by age 40, so losing her vision was something the artist understood as a possibility all along. For the past few years, retinopathy has plagued her, forcing a reevaluation of exposing the eyes to melting glass. 

As a production glassblower Burns put herself through school, earning her associate degrees in Glass Fine Art and Glass Craft and Design from Salem Community College, Carneys Point, New Jersey. She subsequently worked as a full-time assistant to other glass artists in the Philadelphia area and at The Studio at CMoG, where she learned from the constant stream of master glassblowers. She says: “I got paid to learn first-hand from people at the top of their field, and I could not be more grateful for the lessons the Museum has taught me.”

Aside from making her own work, Burns loves to teach and has helped teach classes all over the country in places like Pittsburgh, Penland, Salem, Corning, Pilchuck, and Snow Farm. A full-time glassblower since 2009, the artist has travelled the world, working for many years with CMoG’s Hot Glass Show at Sea team. 

Making work at The CMoG Studio, Burns sells a lot of her glass at The Museum Shops. Though 2020 began with mass cancellations of all of her scheduled work, The Shops presented the artist with the idea of taking a color concept she had developed earlier and reworking it to fit the Pumpkin of the Year. After a few inceptions, Burns landed on the right rainbow for the 2020 Unity Pumpkin. The first order in June was for 50 and by the end of the year, she had made almost 600.

Burns says: “They just spoke to everyone; that need for some color, joy, and unity. The rainbow felt a little defiant and unifying at the same time, racking up millions of TikTok views and totally changing my year. The love the TikTok community had for the Unity Pumpkin was completely unexpected and overwhelming at times, and because of that, I went from losing all my work to growing my business to where it is now in just five months. I will forever be grateful to my TikTok followers.”  

Though her one-month 2020 residency at CMoG has been postponed due to COVID-19, meanwhile Burns works hard to keep up with demand for her work. After Blown Away 2 was released, the artist’s order limit on production pieces was met in only five days. 

From functional glass bongs to Tits and Glass sculptures that reference the artist being told she was only valued in the hot shop for her tits, to Vagina Sculptures, which allow one to reclaim their sexual past – this is not your Grandma’s glass! “Through humor we heal and find strength,” says Burns.