7th Annual Glass National

The Workhouse Arts Center is proud to present the 7th Annual Glass National — an exhibition highlighting the depth and breadth of contemporary functional and sculptural glass artworks being created throughout the country.  This year’s juror, Jack Wax, reviewed over 80 artworks and select 28 which incorporate a combination of a contemporary spirit and technical mastery of the material. Glass National is a unique opportunity to view and experience a variety of styles and techniques encompassing the glass artwork field today.

The exhibit is on view at the Workhouse Arts Center Vulcan Gallery from October 23, 2021 – January 9, 2022. Reception: January 8th, 2022, 6 – 8 PM.  The gallery is currently open Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday 11:00am – 6:00pm and Sunday Noon – 5:oopm.

Jurors’ Statement:

There is quite an idiosyncratic nature to the application and implementation of individual “choice” in the jurying of a small exhibition of “artworks.” 

I find this especially true when the parameters set forth limit the “words” that I person may “speak.” That is a novel that is circumscribed in advance to never employ the letter E certainly can “say” many things…but can it in the end range quite as far or as deep as a book without such constraints? We all make “rules” for ourselves in our studios, other-wise we’d quickly be overwhelmed by the entire world being invited in through the door! And…I know as well that certain of us welcome working under the onus of restraint. It is somehow freeing! Yo-yo Ma chooses not to play all of the instruments in the orchestra but to truly master but one.

The artists in this exhibition represent a wide range of experience in using GLASS as their primary language of self-expression. Some have come to it only recently, while others have invested decades in the ever-illusive pursuit of true fluency. It has been quite heartening to see the scope of the endeavors successfully undertaken here within. The wide spectrum of inherent possibilities understood in utilizing glass towards achieving prescribed  purposes has manifested itself here, on so many levels … from the prosaic to the profound.

My congratulations to all of the chosen participants, and my hope is that you (and your works) continue to epitomize and make manifest what might otherwise be seen as simple transitory concerns, and that your commitment to materializing your individual vision(s) never waivers.  

Jack Wax

Richmond Virginia

October 2021

Studio Talk with Sandi Martina

Studio Talk with Trish Kent

Studio Talk with Jenifer Halvorson

Studio Talk with Paul Messink

Studio Talk with Dawn Moore

Artists and Artist Statements

For purchase inquiries, please contact Gallery Manager, Audrey Miller at audreymiller@workhousearts.org or (703) 584-2911.

April Shelford, Washington DC
Almondine, 2020

Fused Bull’s Eye glass, pattern bar

8 ½ in x 8 ½ in 2 in


For several years, I’ve been working at the Washington Glass School. Most of my work explores the many possibilities of pattern bars. The central element of this bowl results from the “puddle” technique. Here alternating opaque and transparent glass gives depth to it, which I’ve stressed by tack-fusing to a base of French white. To enhance the subtlety of my color choices, I went for a matte rather than a “glassy” finish.”

Brent Cole, Indiana
Becoming, 2020

Hot blow molded glass

30 in x 24 in x 15 in


I recently had the opportunity to do research in Poland. The salt mines from which Krakow derived its name and wealth have been turned into a tourist destination. The salt has a way of infiltrating everything in the mine. Man-made objects eventually succumb to the growth of the salt crystals from an ocean that died eons ago. Can we repair and bridge distances that we have created or does atrophy start to settle in?”

Brent Cole, Indiana
The Infinite Possibilities in a Finite Universe,  2019

Fused glass murine

96 in x 84 in x 36 in


Personal and cultural navigation methodologies have been at the heart of my work for some time. This star chart speaks both to the micro and macro involvement we have with the universe. We are daunted by the expanse but realize that our existence was contingent upon star dust.”

Cynthia Miller, Arizona
Summer Sky, 2019

Vitreous enamel glass kiln fused onto burnished coppere

40 in x 34 in


I have always been fascinated with brilliant, jewel-like color. Vitreous enamel glass, kiln fused onto copper panels, captures, and celebrates light and color like no other medium I know. I delight in exploring the scintillating array of hues and luminosity: each shift in light reveals another variation. I celebrate the wonders of the natural world: the colors, the seasons, how light plays on a leaf or a wave or emanates from a celestial nebula. I hope that my compositions will delight your senses and stimulate your imagination.”

Dawn Moore, West Virginia
Modern Camo Triptych, 2021

COE96 glass cut in strips, fused in cylinders, sandblasted & cut into circular segments, arranged & refused – shiny finish

Each panel – 23 in x 10 in x 1 in


Modern Camo is an example of what has become a signature design created with a technique that involves cutting down glass sheets into thin strips, loading the strips into ceramic tubes lined with fiber paper & kiln firing to form glass cylinders resembling thick candy canes. The cylinders are sandblasted & sliced into small segments using a wet saw, the segments are arranged on the kiln shelf within ceramic or stainless steel dams or molds & fired to create a solid piece of glass. The unique pattern is created when the small cross sections melt into the negative spaces. Subsequent firings are made to shape the glass by slumping or draping. After cooling, the one-of-a-kind art piece is finished by grinding, sandblasting & polishing. The following is a link to my YouTube video showing a time lapse view of the process. https://youtu.be/roe6fGlrnUU

Ian Kessler-Gowell, Virginia
Flasks, 2019

Soda-Lime glass

Purple – 5 ¾ in x 7 in, Green – 5 ½ in x 6 in, Blue – 2 in x 3 ½ in


Working with glass I try to find balance between careful making and playful exploration. I attempt to focus on simple clean functional ware. But often veer into weirdness. I find object making to be a very abstract form of storytelling, the building blocks of a cultural identity. Whether it the richness of ancient objects worn with use or the crispness of modern design, it is how they capture a sense of time and place that speaks without words.”

Janet Wittenberg, Maryland
Breathe, 2020

Layered sheet glass with multiple kiln firings

18 in x 18 in


“Breathe” (Air) is a wall mounted diptych which was created in response to the pandemic’s toll on respiratory systems.”

As humans, we share a fundamental reliance on basic elements for survival which transcend geographical and cultural boundaries. That commonality has enabled us to form new communities, and ensure our survival during times of adversity, now and throughout history. During the pandemic, I began creating work that was inspired by those fundamental elements and explored new technical directions.

Janet Wittenberg, Maryland
Water, 2020

Layered sheet glass with multiple kiln firings

7 in x 10 in x 10 in


Water; pedestal mounted, multiple layers of opaque and transparent cool colored glass, multiple firings, pressed, cut and cold worked. Water’s quest and preservation has been paramount in ensuring survival of communities.”

Jennifer Halvorson, Indiana
9.4.2021, 2021

Crystallica Glass – hot blow mold, later slumped in kiln

3 ½ in x 14 in 10 in


9.4.2021 is the date, as written in the United Kingdom, that Prince Phillip died. Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip were married for 73 years before his death. One may only guess the mourning of such partnership and the support of remaining family.”

Jennifer Halvorson, Indiana
Beacon II, 2021

Crystallica Glass – hot blow mold, pick-up later to further alter with hot torch

22 ½ in x 7 in x 7 in


Examining everyday objects, I aim to alter or combine forms in ways to illustrate their significance. Some of my sculptures are designed to personify an object or display a human presence, while other pieces aim to evoke an emotional understanding with the viewer from the objects alone. Within this body of work, canning jars, being a common object of the past are recreated as portraits. Each sculpture began with a word, a word that was originally marked on a canning jar. These descriptive words were once used to market the jar and are now highlighted in a narrative. Beacon II illustrates how honesty is to be considered the highest virtue of someone able to give direction. Honest is a word that has been reviewed countless times in the realm of family, friendship, work, and leadership. On closer inspection, the viewer may notice the jar is not level or completely stable.”

Julia Dzikiewicz, Virginia
Doris Stevens, 2021

Stained glass mosaic

6 in x 14 in


Karen Wilson, Maryland
Inner Wisdom, 2020

Kiln formed glass, several pattern bars combined with murrini

26 in x 1 in x 26 in


Kate Barfield, Maryland
Urban Season, 2020

Plaster cast clear Bull’s Eye glass

17 in x 17 in


A sparrow was building a nest inside a rusted gridwork ceiling. I thought of that bird’s world inside industrial space. When casting this piece, I pressed everyday items into plaster — lightbulbs suggested cat tails and screws imitated briar in a sheaf of leaves, while a round gear and pocket watch offered a sense of time. An urban season.”

Mary Zoller Lightner, Georgia
Breaking Light, 2021

Fused Bull’s Eye glass

8 in x 10 in


Since being diagnosed with lung cancer this June, I have been seeking out light and have taken comfort in nature. This piece of light breaking through the trees reflects my hope for healing.”

Mary Zoller Lightner, Georgia
The Red Canoe, 2021

Fused Bull’s Eye 90 glass

8 in x 10 in without stand


I live in the mountains of northeast Georgia near Lake Chatuge. I spend many hours walking with my camera, prepared to capture a mystical moment in the silence. This day I found a red canoe in the early evening mist, alone on the lake, a catalyst for thoughts about my life’s journey.”

Matthew Fuchs, Maryland
Coalescence, 2021

Fused glass

11 ¼ in x 11 ¼ in x 6 ¼ in


Matthew Fuchs, Maryland
Momentum II, 2021

Fused glass

19 ½ in x 7 ¾ in x 5 in


Michaela Borghese, Washington DC
From Sand to Glass #2, 2020

Sand casted pate de verre

7 ½ in 7 ½ in


Paul Messink, California
Grand Mosque – Muscat, Oman, 2019

Kiln formed glass (20 layers of Oceanside glass sheets) with enamel decals

9 ½ in x 7 ½ in x 2 ½ in


Grand Mosque, Muscat, Oman was created by dividing an image into layers, and applying the enamel using printed decals. I created depth using 20 layers of glass that were then kiln-cast into a solid panel after all layers were complete. When viewed from an angle, the depth in this piece allows the viewer to see what is behind other objects. This created the need to “invent” new portions of the photograph in the decals (as an example you can now see what lies behind the front column).”

Paul Messink, California
Night Shadows, 2018

Kiln formed glass (14 layers of Oceanside glass sheets) with enamel decals

7 ½ in x 10 in x 1 ½ in


Night Shadows was created by hand-painting enamel on 14 layers of glass that were then kiln-cast into a solid panel after all layers were complete.”

Ruth Gowell, Virginia
10 x 15 Series, #7, 2021

Kiln formed glass with handwoven fiber

10 in x 15 in x 1 in


This new series involves combining fiber and glass. I match dyes for the fiber to glass that I can buy and dye and weave a warp that I then reproduce in glass.”

Ruth Gowell, Virginia
Optical Curve #22, 2021

Kiln formed glass with handwoven fiber

15 in x 10 in x 7 in


During the past couple of years, I have been exploring a technique of capturing bubbles between layers of glass using a grid of glass stringers – a “weaving” that produces texture in the glass. I am interested in the distortion of pattern using these bubbles. By placing the patterned glass (or fiber) behind the bubble glass, and by layering pattern pieces, I can create distortions of the underlying pattern. In this complex world we see through many “distortions”, many layers, many lenses. My work is an attempt to convey this confusion in a visual context.”

Sandi Martina, Virginia
Flock Together, 2021

Kiln formed glass, custom metal stands

4 in x 22 in x 15 in, 4 in x 22 in x 14 ½ in, 7 ½ in x 23 in x 1 ½ in


“A fascination with raptors, present day and paleo, inspired this kilnformed glass grouping, ‘Flock Together.’ Feathers and glass share both strength and fragility as does the ever present herd mentality.”

Sherry Selevan, Maryland
Polka Dots and Eyes, 2021

Fused glass

22 in x 5 in x 2 in


Sherry Selevan, Maryland
Traditions, 2021

Fused glass with powder printing and slumping

15 in x 16 in x 2 in


Inspired by events of Jan 6, this piece shows a base of a traditional wallpaper that’s distorted on the surface, in some places faded and others water stained, pulling away from the wall.”

Tali Grinshpan, California
Borders, 2019

Bull’s Eye glass powders and frits, pate de verre, mixed media

18 in x 4 in x 3 in


The ever-changing life of the land, especially that of Israel, where I was born, and that of my present home in Northern California, inspires me. As an immigrant, I search for connection between the land and my internal landscape of memory. These landscapes, simultaneously intimate and vast, come together in my work. Hope, loss, memory, and the fleetingness of time are recurring themes in my work. I strive to create intimate spaces that speak of our emotional existence and this ephemeral journey that is life: to tell a story of fragility and strength, vulnerability, and resilience.”

Tali Grinshpan, California
Somewhere, 2019

Bull’s Eye glass powders and frits, pate de verre

8 in x 8 in x 4 in


Trish Kent, Washington, DC
The Divided States of America #3, 2020

Fused Bull’s eye glass with handmade silicone stars and gun

19 in x 14 in x 1 in


I witnessed hate, fear, anger, crime, killings, distrust, and growing acceptance of these. I lashed out at all these things with my flags of “The Divided States of America”. I don’t want another child or adult killed through senseless or hateful violence. I want a “United States of America” to begin. With the new administration, I saw hope and a kinder feeling around. With that, I created new pieces of art from gifts that were given to me. Hopeful pieces that I enjoyed making.”

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