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The UN has designated the year 2022 as a “United Nations International Year of Glass” to underline the contributions of glass for its scientific, economic and cultural roles. This was a successful petition by the International Commission on Glass (ICG), the Community of Glass Associations (CGA), and ICOM-Glass.

The History of Glass

Brychtova Libensky, Open Pyramid

From Earth’s early beginnings, an event happened in the Libyan Desert that was so hot that a vast stretch of the landscape was coated with a layer of what we now call glass. Ten thousand years ago, someone traveling through the desert stumbled across a large fragment of this glass resulting in it being circulated through markets and the social networks of early civilizations. It finally ended up as a centerpiece on a brooch carved into the shape of a scarab beetle.  This brooch was uncovered four thousand years later in a burial chamber of Tutankhamun.

The journey of glass is an astonishing story from glass panes and glass vessels to what it is today: one of the most versatile and transformative materials in all of human culture.

The history of glass as a fine art medium didn’t emerge until the 1950s forward when artists began to experiment with glass outside of the factory settings. Harvey Littleton in America, his father a Corning Inc. engineer, started experimenting with glass having come from a ceramic tradition. Stanislav Libensky, a painter from Czechoslovakia with a background in factory glass also was experimenting with glass for his personal artistic expression.  They both ended up teaching the methods and techniques of creating glass sculpture in the 1960s and ‘70s originating a foundation for artists from around the world to study, explore, experiment and create some of the finest examples of contemporary sculpture in the 21st century.

Tagliapietra Mandadra

Imagine Museum’s Collection of Glass Art

From these humble beginnings, artists working with glass have continued to grow and expand across borders and countries establishing a network of colleagues, mentors, collectors, gallerists, curators, and museums. The TJF Collection at Imagine Museum is composed of over 1600 of the finest examples of contemporary glass art assembled in the United States. Currently, 240 artists are represented in the collection from over 20 countries. You’ll find varying techniques from glass blowing, to casting, fusing to flame, all representing the unique visions of the artists. There are over 400 pieces on display from the collection at the Museum providing an aesthetic experience unmatched.

Young-B.K. Across A Crowded Room

Celebrate the International Year of Glass with Imagine Museum

Etude.11.g.A HR 04 Karen LaMonte
Karen LaMonte, Etude.11.g.A-HR-05

Throughout 2022, thousands of activities from across the planet will be planned in accordance with this UN designation. Imagine Museum in St Petersburg, Florida will base their 2022 theme to align with this international honor. We will be showcasing remarkable glassworks from the TJF Collection, host panels, zooms, artist’s talks, and special events to bring attention to this ordinary material that can accomplish such extraordinary outcomes.  We look forward to sharing the wonderment, the beauty and the accomplished skill of these amazing artists who create with this astonishing material, glass.

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