One of my favorite places to spend time is at the Winterthur Museum about two hours away from me in Delaware. I have visited many times during the winter (I like the Christmas display) and this year I also got to go with Suzy when she was here in April. As luck would have it, a couple of weeks ago, I had the opportunity to go when the Tiffany Glass: Painting with Color and Light exhibition was starting. This was super timely because going to see this display coincided with our taping of the video for the Arts & Crafts module of our “Sketch, Spin, Scribe” aka S3 course. The exhibit was aptly named because Louis C. Tiffany considered himself first and foremost a painter. Below is an example of one of his glass palettes:
And, from the careful selection from an extensive stash highly crafted glass, creations such as the lamp below would result:
I knew that Tiffany glass was special. But, I was still really stunned by the beauty and especially, the workmanship of the pieces on display. Most of us are pretty familiar with what Tiffany glass looks like; however, seeing the “real deal” was truly remarkable.
And, I guess I had a bit of an epiphany as a result of seeing these pieces. I am fascinated by the Arts and Crafts movement but I couldn’t really have explained why up until now. Oddly enough, everything became clear in looking at a lamp base…Yes, a lamp base…a common household object and yet, as produced by the Tiffany studios, these were not ordinary lamp bases, but rather, works of art.
Aha! My fascination is about the elevation of the mundane to something more and a love of fine craftsmanship. This is also what fuels my fiber practice whether I’m dying fiber, spinning yarn, weaving, knitting or crocheting. I like making things by hand and making everyday items like hats, bags, shawls, etc. special and unique. By no means do I approach the level of artistry as was expressed by Tiffany Studios, but, my fiber practice is my heart’s desire nonetheless.
And, this is why though I’m fairly certain I will never attempt to make stained glass items, I still felt so much inspiration from these amazing pieces. As the title of the exhibit correctly described, these are true examples of painting with color and light much as we paint with color and yarn! I hope you enjoy the images I captured.
Pretty amazing, huh? Well, frankly, I saved the best one for last…this was the only piece that was encased in glass. This piece is the perfect marriage of art and craft:
You can see these as colorways, weavings, freeform knitting…But most of all, a level of artistry for which to strive.