August 27, 2008

AGG2008- the quick overview

Hard to believe it's been over 3 weeks since I attended the 2008 American Glass Guild Conference - and I still haven't posted anything yet! Sorry. Crazy busy days. Fact is, I starting writing and it turns out I have enough material for several posts.

So today, it's just the quick overview. and a few photos.

Unfortunately, I could only make it for the one day - Saturday, August 2nd. Early in the morning, thanks to Ken Leap, I was lucky enough to be part of a group given a kind of practice tour of the Glencairn Museum - practice for the official stained glass tour the conference had on Monday. The house and its collection are truly amazing. I'd been to Glencairn before but it was great to see it again and to see some of the glass-making related stuff that Ken has unearthed. Longer post in process.

After the museum, on the way to the conference, we (Dan Maher, Nancy Nicholson and myself) stopped to pick up Judith Schaechter at her home/studio in Philadelphia, and we got a quick tour and a sneak peek at her now installed MAD commission before we were off to the conference. Again, longer post in process, along the lines of my open studio visits.

The first speaker I heard was Nicola Gordon Bowe talking about Wilhelmina Geddes. I wrote about the Wilhelmina Geddes St. Bartholomew War Memorial Window in Ottawa, Canada in a recent post, and I was looking forward to seeing the lecture by Dr. Bowe. It did not disappoint. Geddes' work is very strong and deserves more attention.

I got to speak a little bit with Dr. Bowe after the lecture as I had wanted to mention that I've seen the St. Bart's window. She was thrilled to know I'd seen it and as it turns out I was the only one at the conference who has seen it. No big surprise as Ottawa is hardly a major tourist attraction. More on this to follow as well.

detail, War Memorial Window, 1919, by Wilhelmina Geddes
St. Bartholomew's Anglican Church, Ottawa, Canada
photo taken by me in 1988

There was a talk by Carol Heidschuster, Cathedral Works Manager of Lincoln Cathedral on the ongoing restoration of the Cathedral. I wish I'd seen the talk the previous day on the restoration of "The Dean's Eye", a prominent rose window in that cathedral. I love rose windows.

My friend and colleague Nancy Nicholson gave an overview of her work and career. Her recent work veering away from the cityscape and toward tree forms was especially wonderful and fascinating. As always, great work.
Urban Tree Tile #2

I'd heard Ken Leap speak before, at the 2006 Glass Art Society conference and knew to expect a very professional, entertaining and interesting slide show... and he wore his medieval garb this time around... fun stuff.

One of his personal pieces, riffing on the idea of the silverstained roundel.

State of the Art Panel, moderated by Judith Schaechter -
I'd never met Judith Schaechter until this day though she and her work were well known to me for a very long time. I was a little nervous about the panel seeing that we were talking about something a bit on the bleak side - i.e. why is stained glass so out of fashion in the art world these days? On top of that, I had never met any of the other panelists. Well, of course, It went fine. I hope we left people with a few things to think about. Again, planning a longer post based on this as well.

After that there was a cocktail reception and a conference dinner and then I had to go. Still, in the short time there I remember a flurry of nice conversations with Sarah Gallin and Nicola Gordon Bowe and Mary Higgins, Ellen Miret and Drew Anderson, and more.

All in all, I got a warm and wonderful reception from everyone I met. Probably the best part is that there was a much greater sense of openness than I had ever experienced at a stained glass conference. A very good development.

Posted by Tom at August 27, 2008 07:30 AM