Although separated by the vast Pacific Ocean, there’s a bond that unites the glass artists, educators and entrepreneurs of the Pacific Northwest and those in Australia.
An influential network started in the 1970s, allowing the artists on the two continents to evolve in ways often unseen in the art community. The bonds forged have had a significant influence, helping to form the Australian and American studio glass movements.
To showcase the bond that has been forged, the Palm Springs Art Museum is featuring LINKS: Australian Glass and the Pacific Northwest, an exhibition of nearly 100 glass works created by Australian and American glass artists.
“There has been a lot of innovation with ideas and techniques that move back and forth,” said exhibited Australian artist Nick Mount, whose expertise lie within blown glass.
The exhibit weaves two narratives, with the first focusing on cast, fused or cold-worked creations, areas where the Australians shine. The second is the movement in blown glass, where Mount excels, that is very common in the Pacific Northwest, a style of artistry that has migrated into Australia.
The Studio Glass Movement was started in Toledo, Ohio, in the early 1960s, as more artists experimented with studio crafts. Artists began to travel abroad, networking and sharing skills, especially in Australia.
“You can see different people that have been influenced more or less by the culture of glass blowing in the arts field in Australia,” Mount said.
The evolution of kiln-formed glass plays out much the same way, with artists sharing techniques and embarking on trips across the Pacific Ocean. These partnerships forged in the 1980s, changed the thinking of kiln-formed work. The Americans helped develop a range of fusible glass to help Australian artists create mosaic compositions.
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