This blogpage first made its appearance in at the beginning of 2005, on another of my blogs, and I transferred it to its present location sometime in 2007, so this is a loooong-running post. Unfortunately, I don’t have as much time as I’d like to keep it up….so if you know of some installations on this page that are no longer available to the public…or you’ve found new ones I haven’t mentioned, please PLEASE let me know by dropping me a note. I promise I’ll get around to the updates…thanks!
Was just over on warmglass, reading yet another request for information about glass-related attractions of glassland. The problem with such lists, though, is that they appear in the ephemeral part (Spab) of warmglass.com, so after we get this really great list going it’s gone in a couple of weeks and has to be rebuilt.
So since I appear to be into developing lists lately, thought I’d perhaps compile a list of attractions for glassists touring through Portland. I’ll divvy it up into glass installations, glass art museums and galleries, and glass shopping, with maybe some miscellaneous thrown in. If it works, maybe I’ll add in Seattle, then the Bay area, New York, DC..etc.
Please, please, please chime in with stuff I’ve missed and I’ll be happy to add it. This list is by no means comprehensive at this point; if you know of a cool piece of glass art in a restaurant (permanent installations or galleries, please), a glass architectural wonder in a public space, or other spots to buy glassmaking supplies, lemme know. Here goes…
There’s a cooking school servicing this little restaurant, and it sports a Mondrian-esque wall mural of glass, some interesting architecture and a few glass oddities throughout the restaurant. Haven’t tried the food yet, but supposedly you can find wonderful meals here for a very low price (since students are doing the cooking).
Gerding (Armory) Theater
I’ve only been here once, and missed the glass (was late, as usual), but according to Bullseye’s kilnformed architecture map there’s a 72-panel wall mural here by Christy Corbett, Bonnie Celeste, and John Tess. Hmmmm. I’ll see what’s playing, and check it out.
Want to spend $600K on a smallish 1-bedroom, 1 bath apartment in the Pearl? (Hint: There’s a glass chandelier in the lobby downstairs that might just make the price more reasonable. They WILL throw you out if you walk in to see it) According to the Bullseye list, it’s by Deca Architecture.
The arcade of the Justice Building, on SW 3rd between Main and Madison, houses Liz Mapelli’s glass tile ceiling. Another venerable installation (it’s now been up there for 25 years or so), it’s beautiful and one of the artworks that inspired me to move from glassblowing to kilnforming.
Mary’s Woods Retirement Community
Call first; I’m not sure they’re open to a bunch of visitors coming in. Linda Ethier, however, has done an absolutely beautiful wall of hundreds of glass tiles here that’s worth seeing.
There’s actually more glass at the massive OHSU hospital complex than just Christy Wyckoff’s panel wall of Oregon scenes, as Lynice (below) reminded me, but it’s a lovely one. I saw it when my mom was in the hospital there. It’s in OHSU’s admitting lobby which is NOT on the ground floor. According to a list Bullseye Glass put out last year, the OHSU’s Bond St. offices also sport glasswork by Alex Hirsch and Fireart Glass.
Paley’s Place Restaurant
Check out the hand-made glass bar and other accoutrements (and I highly recommend the specials here). Lani McGregor tells me it (and the wall sconces) were made by noted Portland artist and production studio owner, George Bathos.
Portland State University
PSU has a number of glass sculptures scattered throughout its downtown campus. Ed Carpenter’s Tecotosh, a massive dichroic glass suspension, is one of the newer ones. Dale Eldred’s Levitated Light is over by the Business School. Frederic Heidel, who was featured last year in Glass Art Quarterly, has a sculpture in front of the main Science building.
Portland’s public transportation system makes a point of using (preferably) local artists to enliven its stations, and a number use some form of glass (although, disappointingly, very few are kilnformed glass). The coolest part, though, are the bus shelters: Whenever vandals damage the glass windscreens on Tri-Met bus shelters, artists sandblast the damage away and turn the glass into a work of art…that goes back on the bus shelter.
Oregon State Office Building
You’ll find one of the most spectacular fused glass murals around in Portland’s state office building. Actually, it’s two separate murals, both in the main lobby area: “A Legend of Multnomah Falls” (6’6″ x 23′) and “The Bridge of the Gods.” (6’6″ x 26’5). They’re by Ruth Brockmann, one of the pioneers of the fused glass movement. 800 NE Oregon, in downtown Portland.
George Batho’s great big glass walls by the mailboxes of these high-rise condos by the river, very cool (and you can’t get in, so just peek wistfully through the windows). BTW, if you turn and face the river with the window at your back, turn left, walk past the circle and down onto the river dock, you’ll run into a very nice little houseboat restaurant that sells tasty salmon and bar-type food.
Not a whole lot of glass here, but it’s a nice, centrally located restaurant with a fused glass mural in front. Lani (again) tells me it’s by Liz Mapelli of ceiling tile fame. If you can get the chef to cooperate, try the steamed vegetables vinaigrette (it’s not on the menu) that tastes far more wonderful than it sounds.
921 SW 6th Ave
Kiln-cast glass bar, fireplace elements by Neidhardt, Inc. Hmmm. Generally I head straight for any glass art within a 1 mile radius and I’ve been in the Hilton a lot, haven’t seen this. Will have to go back and look.
Museums and Galleries
Not your average fused glass platter establishment by a longshot, this place specializes in pushing the glass envelope (not surprising, since it’s owned by Bullseye). Always interesting, sometimes exquisite glass, definitely worth a look.
The famous Marty Kremer says “Butters Gallery has glass sometimes,” which is a bit of an understatement. They list glass by Debora Moore and Janis Miltenberger, two of my current favorite glass artists, in their inventory, which is enough for me.
Just down the street from the Benson, this gallery fits into what I’d call a “shotgun” space, for those of you familiar with Louisiana architecture, and offers a wide variety of functional and non-functional glass art.
Museum of Contemporary Craft
This one reopened in the Summer of 2007 and as far as I’m concerned is still on its shakedown cruise. However, their gift shop can be a religious experience, with some extremely talented glass artists (and even more talented ceramicists and metalworkers). Definitely put this one on your list.
Portland Art Museum
Portland’s art museum is very respectable for a town of this size, although I’m always disappointed that it doesn’t have more glass. What it does have, though, is impressive: The William Morris wall, AKA “Artifact Panel.” This collection of hundreds of blown glass artifacts is well-hidden, but spans three stories. To find it, head back toward the Native American exhibit, walk through the doorway and look up, to your right, into the atrium. Take the elevator opposite up each floor for a different view. You’ll also find more glass in the contemporary exhibit upstairs.
The Real Mother Goose
Real Mother Goose specializes in contemporary crafts, and has wonderful examples of glass alongside ceramics, textiles, wood, jewelry and other stuff. I discovered them at the Portland Airport, where I learned to pick return flights arriving before RMG closed so that I wouldn’t have to drag my purchases to wherever I was going. Took me two years to get to the downtown store, which is almost too much of a good thing. I actually prefer the “less is more” presentation at the airport.
Glassmaker shopping & tours
Bullseye offers tours of its factory, one of the few US colored glass manufacturers that still does a significant portion of its wares by hand. One of my houseguests still raves (three years later) about the well-muscled guy racing from furnace to table with ladlesfull of molten glass, although I suspect that she wasn’t all that interested in Deep Cobalt Blue. The tour is free; call in advance to schedule a tour. (And no, they don’t allow pictures or pass out free samples of glass. Drat.)
Bullseye Resource Center
Turning a kilnformer loose in the Bullseye RC is akin to giving third graders the key to a candy store. There’s a full selection of BE products and accessories, including glass, molds, kilns, tools, books and publications. There’s also a tremendous amount of inspiration upstairs in the gallery, and generally some kind of class or activity going on in the lab and teaching facilities. The real reason to go, however, is downstairs: the “seconds” glass, AKA “furious” glass. Great bargains.
You may not find a full selection of every type of glass, but you will find Spectrum 96, Bullseye and Uroboros 90 and 96 side-by-side here, along with a nice assortment of lampworking glasses and other kilnforming supplies. Cline’s real heart is stained glass work, but they’re worth a kilnformer’s visit (especially if they’re having a sale on kilns).
OK, it’s primarily for ceramics, not glass, but there’s a lot of overlap there, particularly for casters. And Georgies does carry glass kilns and a modest selection of frits and stringer. Glorious selection of clays and sculpting tools, as well as an extensive selection of slipware, which is pretty easy to turn into slumping molds.
This is a borosilicate glassmaker, don’t think they give tours but they do offer classes.
These folks make Borocolor, a variety of borosilicate glass for torchworkers. I have no idea if they give tours of the factory–would be interesting to see boro rod made. Since I’ve not done much with boro (mostly because I need yet another bunch of glassmaking tools and supplies like I need an IRS audit), I don’t know much about these guys–a colleague told me the founder is about to start another glass business in the city somewhere, so I’ll investigate. But it *is* intriguing to have them so nearby.
This stained glass shop also sells supplies and teaches fusing, mosaics and other glass stuff. I haven’t been in, so can’t say much more right now except that Bob Heath, new prez of the Oregon Glass Guild, tells me they also do kiln repair, and to look for a bright red building when you go.
This is a working studio and manufactory that used to be next to Uroboros and is now on NE Oregon. It was kinda cool when they were together because you could call ahead and tour both. Still, these guys do some of the most amazing, fabulous, drool-worth dichroic and other specialty glasses and art, custom architectural stuff in Portland, and are a great place to find inspiration if they’ll let you in.
Exceptionally nice folk selling good products, Uroboros straddles the kilnforming compatibility fence since they sell both 90 and 96 glass. It’s a smaller operation (but in some places more automated) than Bullseye, and worth a tour if you call ahead to arrange it. My biggest complaint is that they DO NOT sell their glass direct-to-consumer (except, apparently, for billets and samplers), and in my opinion it’s their biggest failing. (Others will disagree, I’m sure)
Glass schools, organizations and other stuff
Aquila Art Glass School
Primarily a glass gallery with instruction in fusing, casting and torchworking, they have some fairly well-known teachers. (Leah Pellegrini on the torch, Dennis McConnell in fusing, for example) The facility is a little crowded, thanks to the myriad processes they support, but they’ve expanded into a waterjet cutting facility next door, and they’re really nice guys. Call ahead if you want to visit, just to make sure the place isn’t full of students.
If it’s a cool building in Portland, seems like sooner or later McMenamins will turn it into a pub, and then into a kind of beer aficionado’s Disneyland. Edgefields is probably the most magnificent of the McMenamin’s installations, having everything from a grassy rockstar ampitheatre to a movie house…and a glassblowing studio. My friend Zoe blows there occasionally, and I must confess I’ve never seen it. I have done the rock concert thing out there, and it was nice (except that the people in front of us would NOT stop singing). But I’ve got to get down to the glass studio.
These guys are mostly into blowing, but thanks to a pre-GAS 2008 makeover and expansion, they have a very cool facility and a gallery upfront. They also teach classes, and sometimes you can slip back to where the gloryholes are and watch some nice glassmaking.
Eugene Glass School
OK, Eugene is a bit of a drive from Portland (about two hours), but the glass school may be worth it. There’s a small gallery, and they frequently host big-name glass artists for demonstrations and classes. The great hotglass sculptor Pino Signoretto was there, for example, my beloved goblet-maker Robert Mickelsen has been known to teach a class or two, and Patty Gray, who for my money jams more great info into a fusing class than anyone I’ve ever met (and is darned nice, to boot), frequently shows up.
Firehouse No. 12
They don’t do the full school and multi-artist gallery anymore, but you can still stop by this bank-building-turned-hotshop and watch blowers making glass objects (through the windows if nothing else). Call first and see what they’re up to. Owner Greg Lueck makes some beautiful blown work that’s usually on display in the gallery, and I believe his facility is still available for private classes.
Oregon Glass Guild
We meet every month in Beaverton. Check the website for details. Very active guild with good programs, open to the public, and if you’re in town on the last Wednesday night of the month, there’s usually a meeting worth going to. The subjects range from how to build an artist website for free to big-name artists giving lectures to technical product and process discussions for the glassmaker.
Portland Community College
It’s not likely the average tourist will come to a PCC campus to look at glass (except in any installations I’ve mentioned above), but PCC does offer some classes in glass casting, blowing, boro torchwork and fusing. Most of them are at least eight weeks long, one night or weekend class per week, so this is mostly for locals.
Portland Open Studios
Every year this artists’ association publishes a calendar that’s also a guide to 100 Portland artists’ studios. They’re open to visitors for two weekends in October, and the calendar includes two tickets for the tours. There aren’t a lot of glass artists on the tour, but the one there are usually choice and well worth the visit.
Glassblower Lynn Read owns this studio, and I’m told he sometimes gives classes or tours of the facility, or rents out his space to other artists. He’s primarily doing classic vessel forms in gorgeous colors, and his work has been seen in lots and lots of galleries, magazines and stores.
More. I need MORE!