Glass is for more than windows and windshields. Glass can be a beautiful expression of an artist's vision and creativity. If you love glass, you will enjoy the Forsyth Galleries' magnificent exhibit, Aurene: Steuben's Iridescent Art Glass, which is on display through April 6. Also on exhibit through April 6 is Come to the Table: American Pressed Glass.
I you aren't familiar with Aurene glass, you are in for a treat. It was developed by Frederick C. Carder, chief designer and co-founder with Thomas G. Hawkes of the great American art company, Steuben Glass Works. In 1904, a year after Steuben was founded, Carder refined a process he had worked on in Europe, coating the surface of glass with a metallic glaze in the firing process. Since the first designs using this process were gold, he termed it Aurene, deriving the term from aurum, Latin for gold, and schene, a Middle English form of sheen.
According to a flier produced by the Forsyth Galleries, Carder later explained, "Salts of rare metals are dissolved in the glass and kept in an oxidized state. When a vase is made of this glass, and on the punty (the metal rod used in creating molten glass), it is subjected to a reducing flame. This brings to the surface a metallic coating. When developed in intensity, it is then sprayed with another metal chloride [tin salts dissolved in sterile water]. This puckers the surface [of the glass] into thousands of fine lines which reflect and refract light, giving it a luminous quality."
Beginning in 2005, other colors were added to Aurene glass, such as blue, red and green. An extremely rare color -- brown -- is on display in the permanent Runyon Collection of the Forsyth Galleries.
Aurene proved to be the most popular of the glassware produced by Steuben, which later was bought by Corning Glass Works during World War I and then sold in 2008. In 2011, the company closed its doors.
As with any product of even modest originality and beauty, cheap copies of Aurene glass, though hardly as gorgeous, began appearing and interest in the original began to fade by 1930. As Carder said, "When the maid could possess this gaily colored glass as well as the mistress, the later promptly lost interest in it." The last of the Aurene glass designs were created about 1933.
Another American original was pressed glass. Although the Romans had poured molten glass into molds, the process of doing so with a mechanized system was developed in America in the early 1802. There were many companies working on that process, although the first notable patent went to Henry Whitney and Enoch Robinson of the New England Glass Co. in 1826. Although pressed glass art often imitated intricate cut glass designers, the process was different and the machines could be operated by relatively unskilled laborers. By the 1840s, entire sets of pressed glass tableware were available at a modest price.
In making pressed glass, a bit of molten glass was dropped into a mold and a plunger used to force it into the various designs. It remained popular until the early 1900s.
Admission to the Forsyth Galleries is free. The galleries are open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays and noon to 6 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.
Area artists have been invited to participate in the first Wylde Woman Art Show, and the deadline to submit their works was Feb. 28. Now, Miriam Rieck, owner of Wylde Soul Photography is determining which works to include in the show.
The public will have an opportunity to view her selections from the April 3 opening night through April 12 at Jill Pankey's Square One Studio at 211 William Joel Parkway in Downtown Bryan. If you want to donate food or money for the opening reception, contact Rieck at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visitors to April's First Friday activity's in Downtown Bryan are invited to stop by the studio and view the works of art.
Each artist is allowed to enter two pieces. Rieck has encouraged the artists to showcase women of different sizes and colors. The only stipulation is the art cannot be pornographic or about a sexual act.
The art of medicine
We all know that medicine is a science, but did you know that many practitioners of the healing arts in addition to creating miracles also create beautiful works of art? Some of that art is on display through March 29 at the Texas Gallery in the Arts Center.
Arts-in-Medicine is a collaboration of the Arts Council of Brazos Valley and the Brazos-Robertson County Medical Alliance.
There is no charge for the exhibit, which is on display at the Arts Council building at 2275 Dartmouth St. in College Station. For more information, call 979-696-2787 or go to acbv.org.
Paint a masterpiece
Have you ever wanted to an artist, but don't know where to begin? Russell Cushman has solved that problem by offering another round of Oil and Acrylic Painting for Adults.
Sessions will be offered for beginners and those with intermediate skills, beginning March 29 at the Arts Council. The classes last six weeks and budding artists may choose the genre in which they want to work.
For more information, call 979-696-2787 or go to acbv.org.
Fantasy author Martha Wells will speak on Writing Speculative Fictions for Kids and Teens from 10 a.m. to noon March 22. You may find you are the next J.K. Rowling!
Sponsored by the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators Brazos Valley, the talk will be at the Arts Council Building, 2275 Dartmouth St. in College Station.
To register, email Liz Mertz at email@example.com.
Speaking of the Arts Council, it will host its anniversary party on March 29 at the College Station home of Denise Bermudez.
The event will run from 6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. and will feature live music, cocktails, hors d'oeuvres and door prizes. The evening will conclude with a raffle drawing for an exquisite piece donated by David Gardner's Jewelers.
Reservations are $125 each and must be made by March 21 by calling 979-696-2787 or going to acbv.org.
Lights, camera, keyboards
Our own incredible Brazos Valley Symphony Orchestra has forged a powerful collaboration with the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, held every four years in Fort Worth. Because of this union, local audiences were able last fall to hear Vadym Kholodenko, winner of last year's 14th annual competition. He joined with the Brazos Valley Symphony to perform Sergei Prokofiev's Piano Concerto No. 3 in C major, Op. 26.
There won't be another Van Cliburn competition until 2017, but talented amateur pianists are invited to participate in the Cliburn Amateur Piano Video Contest this summer.
The competition is open to any pianist 35 and older who does not derive his or her primary income from playing, teaching or composing piano music. Entrance must submit a performance video of 5 to 10 minutes via a portal at Cliburn.org. Entries must be submitted between July 15 and July 31. After that, the public is invited to view the videos and select the best between Aug. 1 and Aug. 15.
The winner will be announced Aug. 19. He or she will receive an automatic entry into the seventh International Piano Competition for Outstanding Amateurs, to be held in the summer of 2016.
The Cliburn.org website says, "The Cliburn's definition of an 'amateur' is one who plays the piano as a serious pastime -- sometimes having had to make the difficult choice between their profession and a potential career as a concert artist. Many past participants in our programs for amateurs have, at one time in their lives, received advanced piano degrees; others have never studied the piano professionally.
"Amateur Competition prizes have been awarded both to those with extensive public performing experience, as well as to those who have spent many hours playing mostly for their own enjoyment or for the pleasure of friends, family and their local communities. All, however, are united by their love of classical music-making and sharing this passion with others of like mind."
• Today -- Last chance to see Cheaper by the Dozen by the Navasota Theatre Alliance, 2 p.m., at the Sunny Furman Theatre, 104 W. Washington Ave. in downtown Navasota. Tickets $5 to $12 at the door.
• Through Saturday -- Going Dark, the inaugural presentation of This Is Water theater company, 9 p.m. Thursday and Friday and 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. Saturday, New Republic Brewing Co., 11405 N. Dowling Road in College Station. Pay what you can. (www.thisiswatertheatre.com)
• Through Saturday -- Fear & Folly: The Visionary Works of Francisco Goya and Federico Castellon, presented by the MSC Visual Arts Committee, The Reynolds Gallery in the Memorial Student Center, Tuesdays through Fridays 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturdays and Sundays, noon to 6 p.m.
• Through May 3 -- Monitor & Virginia: Ironclads at War, Brazos Valley Museum of Natural History inside the Brazos Center in Bryan, Tuesdays through Saturdays 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (979-776-2195, www.brazosvalleymuseum.org)
• All Month -- Children's Museum of the Brazos Valley in Downtown Bryan offers a rotating series of six programs weekdays at 10:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. $5 to $12. (779-5437, cmbv.org)
• Every Sunday -- Open mics and poetry slams sponsored by Mic Check Poetry, 8:30 p.m. Revolution Café in Downtown Bryan. (miccheckpoetry.com)
1. Your choice of Nos. 0692, 0957, 1007 1060.
Aurene Art/Pressed glass exhibit
Photo courtesy of the Forsyth Galleries
An example of Aurene glassware produced in the early decades of the 20th Century by Steuben Glass Works in Corning, N.Y. This and many other pieces are on display through April 6 at the Forsyth Galleries in the Memorial Student Center at Texas A&M University. Admission is free.
Photo courtesy of Navasota Theatre Alliance
During the 19th Century, pressed glass was a popular addition to any American home. This exaple is on display through April 6 in Come to the Table: American Pressed Glass at the Forsyth Galleries in Texas A&M's Memorial Student Center. Admission is free.
3. Choice of two from Navasota Theatre Alliance's production of Cheaper by the Dozen.
a. Anne, Mom and Dad
Photo courtesy of Navasota Theatre Alliance
Madeline Maske as Anne pleads her case to Bill Murray as Frank Sr. and Nancy Buckley as Mother in Cheaper by the Dozen, which has its last performance at 2 p.m. at the Navasota Theatre Alliance's Sunny Furman Theatre in downtown Navasota.
4. Father and 9 0f his dozen
Photo courtesy of Navasota Theatre Alliance
Bill Murray as Frank Gilbreth Sr. address nine of his 12 children in Navasota Theatre Alliances Cheaper by the Dozen, which has its final performance at 2 p.m. today.