A Tribute to Max's Skill|
Posting Number 3447 Date: 09/10/20 Return to Posting List
Mark Chamovitz, you had a wonderful memory capture in a wonderful piece of Carder Steuben. I'm so happy you had this done by Max Erlacher. He has a way of engraving a piece like no one else. I'm so happy that you purchased this piece all those years ago. Beth Shaut
Mark Chamovitz's #6756 opal over rose cintra vase story was heartfelt. The pictures enhanced the story. Thank you for sharing.
Glass Influencer--Frederick Carder
Marvels At The Museum--Studio Glass Pioneer Edris Eckhardt Consulting With Frederick Carder on Cire Perdue Process
from The New Bedford Museum of Glass
In 1953 artist Edris Eckhardt (1905-1998) was in mid career. She had established herself as a ceramist for more than thirty years, being closely associated with a gifted circle of colleagues who established Cleveland, Ohio as one of the leading centers in the country for ceramic art. Her work represented a rich mixture of stylistic influences, including the famous Russian sculptor Alexander Archipenko and Eckhardts distinguished teacher, Alexander Blazys. Eckhardt won dozens of juried awards, her ceramic sculptures were represented in museum collections around the world, and her work was widely published in books and periodicals. As the head of the WPA ceramics program in the early 1930s, and as an instructor in ceramics at the Cleveland School of Art beginning in 1932, she already had fostered generations of young protégés. Yet in 1953, at age 48, Eckhardt decided to make a radical change. Inspired that year by the shimmering optics of a few small bits of ancient glass, she undertook to rediscover the lost technique of Roman gold glass production. The technique involved fusing decorated gold leaf between layers of colorless glass an extraordinary challenge given the different melting temperatures and expansion rates of the two materials. Energized by the success of her experiments, Eckhardt dedicated the remaining thirty years of her career to the exploration of glass as a medium for artistic expression.
The New Bedford Museum of Glass is fortunate to have one of the most comprehensive collections of Edris Eckhardt glass in the country. Many of our works came from Eckhardts personal collection and that of her leading patron, Dr. Paul Nelson of Cleveland. Some were featured in a landmark 1968 special exhibition at the Corning Museum of Glass, the museums very first contemporary solo-artist show. Others appeared in the retrospective exhibition Edris Eckhardt: Visionary and Innovator in American Studio Ceramics and Glass, presented in 2006 by the Cleveland Artists Foundation. Here in New Bedford, they will serve as an exciting focal point for the contemporary glass displays in our soon-to-be-opened new home at the historic James Arnold Mansion!
Eckhardt* deserves the prominent attention. She is believed to be the first American artist to mix and melt her own glass batch. She expanded beyond gold glass production into the area of cire perdue sculpture, having discussed the intricacies of the technique with its foremost practitioner, Frederick Carder. Carder, then in his 80s, was the legendary founder of the Steuben Glass Works of Corning, New York. In 1956 Eckhardt was awarded the first of two Guggenheim Fellowships to acknowledge and encourage her glassmaking pursuits, and in July of that year she delivered an address to the International Glass Conference in Paris. Other awards followed, including a prestigious Louis Comfort Tiffany Fellowship in 1959. In 1961 she traveled to the University of California, Berkeley, where she helped introduce glassmaking to the schools art department and where she developed a revolutionary process for casting bronze sculptures with glass inclusions. During the 1960s and 1970s, she added to her long list of technological innovations. She developed new processes for laminating hundreds of colored glass segments into a single panel, for entrapping plant material between fused sheets of glass, and for drawing with molten glass using a mysterious glass pen of her invention. The exact nature of this pen remains a subject of speculation among historians of glass. In 1957 she was one of three artists to address the subject of glass at the First Annual Conference of American Craftsmen held in Pacific Grove, California. This conference is thought to have been the earliest gathering where glass received formal consideration as a promising new medium for contemporary artists. Curator Suzanne K. Frantz, in her 1989 catalog of contemporary glass at the Corning Museum of Glass, noted the groundbreaking nature of Eckhardts position. According to Frantz, Eckhardt and her two colleagues at the conference were the principals in American studio glass at the time. Apart from the glass-casting activities taking place in Czechoslovakia (generally unknown in the West), some lampworking in Germany, and pate de verre in France and Japan, there were no known equivalents.
*Edris was born Edythe Aline Eckhardt, but changed her first name to Edris in 1930 after having been passed over for an important award because she was a woman. The award committee, she claimed, believed that travel abroad would be wasted on women because they were likely to leave their careers early to bear and raise children. The name Edris, she said, came from a genderless angel in a biblical source, and helped her to avoid gender discrimination throughout the remainder of her career.
-- Kirk J. Nelson, Executive Director
Click to view image one: Chamovitz22.jpeg
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