We use glass every day. It’s so ubiquitous that most of the time it fades into the background. We literally look right through it and don’t even see it. That’s good when you are driving a car or staring through your bifocals. But, if you have ever walked through a plate glass window, you will quickly remember that glass is present. (Unless you’re Criss Angel.)
As I said in last week’s post, glass is basically melted sand. What I did not know when I wrote last week’s post was that the invention of the blow pipe made it easier to make glass and cheaper too. Now, even though I barely passed high school chemistry, I know from my own glass experience that mixing air with the fuel makes it burn hotter and cleaner and makes for more efficient glass melting. So the blow pipe was a big deal. And though we can trace the first glass back to 3500 BCE, transparent glass did not appear until Venetian glass maker Angelo Barovier created it in the 15th Century. Even then, having clear glass windows was an expensive proposition and there were many more advancements in glass technology and manufacturing before we got to the glass we know today. But if you think you know a lot about, glass you probably don’t know the half of it. That’s why you should take a trip to the Corning Museum of Glass.
The stated mission of the Corning Glass Museum is to “tell the world about glass.” Any comprehensive exploration of glass straddles the line between art and science. There’s probably no other artistic medium (aside from pottery) that does this so obviously and the scientific developments in glass have been dramatic. What I like most about the museum is that it pays attention to both sides of this fascinating substance.
We started the day with a glass blowing demonstration.
From there we went to the modern Art Glass
Then worked our way through the ancient glass and the history of glass exhibits.
From there, we hopped over to the scientific glass portion where I learned about lenses, telescopes, safety glass and glass with thermal properties.
The museum building itself is beautifully designed and a very relaxing space.
We only scratched the surface on our visit; there are all kinds of activities and classes including Master Classes for lamp workers and glass blowers taught by top artists from around the world. Click here to go to Corning’s YouTube site which contains dozens of videos on every aspect of glass you can imagine. Click here to go to my Flickr page and see the other pictures I took at the Museum