Twelve years ago the Bullseye Glass Company launched its first Emerge competition as a way to showcase the talent of artists working in kiln-glass.
For the first time, the Bellevue Arts Museum is hosting the finalists’ work as the last stop on the Emerge/Evolve 2014 tour.
Stefano Catalani, BAM’s director of art, craft and design, said it was an honor to showcase the incredible works and a privilege to include additional works, expanded installations and educational programs, lectures, demonstrations and hands-on workshops.
Whether it’s a continual piece of glass spiraling out and back like a coiled ribbon, a glass tapestry or a gold etching spread out nearly 8 feet wide and 8 feet tall, the works draw the audience in to examine the exquisite details, he said.
“The pieces are quite striking,” he said. “They lure you in … they’re like honey.”
Unlike glassblowing, where the artist works quickly to inflate the glass using a blowpipe to shape the glass through rotation, swinging and controlling the temperature, kiln-forming requires binding and shaping layers of glass, Catalani said.
It requires fusing, slumping, kiln-casting and other kiln-related techniques in order to control the glass’s condition. The artist has to understand its manipulation intimately, he said.
The exhibit, which runs through June 14, is likely to be the first of many iterations returning to BAM, Catalani said.
“I think we have an interesting role in supporting new, emerging artists, Catalani said of the museum. “This exhibit not only goes back and revisits accomplished artists’ young careers, it also fosters the vision and career of all young emerging artists.”