Posted by: Kath Usitalo | November 26, 2012

A Half-Century of American Studio Glass

Two of the “Eight Heads of Harvey Littleton” by Erwin Eisch

It took “The Eight Heads of Harvey Littleton” to pique my interest in the American Studio Glass movement which, I learned, is rooted in the Great Lakes region.

I’d heard of the evolution of hot glassblowing and sculpting by individuals for artistic purposes rather than mass-produced use, but hadn’t really thought about it until I visited the Corning Museum of Glass (CMOG) in Corning, New York where special exhibitions recognize the 50th anniversary of American Studio Glass.

Masters of Studio Glass: Erwin Eisch is on view at CMOG through February 3, 2013. Among the 22 pieces is “The Eight Heads of Harvey Littleton,” the German-born Eisch’s eight-piece interpretation of the ceramic artist who was a founder of the American Studio Glass movement at the Toledo Museum of Art 50 years ago.

Eisch’s Littleton the Teacher (above left) espouses Harvey’s comment that, “Technique is cheap.” Littleton the Poet is at right.

Littleton was born in Corning, graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in industrial design, and earned his MFA in ceramics from Cranbrook Academy of Art, which is located north of Detroit.

In 1962 Littleton and Dominick Labino, a glass scientist and artist from Pittsburgh who was working in Ohio, conducted a glass workshop at the Toledo Museum of Art. With a furnace they developed and a low-temperature melting-point glass provided by Labino, they launched techniques that led to a revolution in hot glass application and appreciation.

The following academic year Littleton taught the first program for glass in the U.S. at the University of Wisconsin in Madison.

See the exhibition, “Founders of American Studio Glass: Harvey K. Littleton,” at CMOG through January 6, 2013; check out this short YouTube video with Littleton.

Eisch “Self-Portrait: Germany, Frauenau” (foreground) at CMOG

Until we started to explore the galleries I didn’t understand why admission tickets are valid for two consecutive days. There’s so much to see and appreciate it would be worth it to plan a leisurely visit.

Tickets are $15; $12.75 for college students, military and over 55; free for age 19 and under. Combination ticket with the Rockwell Museum of Western Art (a free shuttle bus travels between them) is another $5 or $6.

Watch for more at Great Lakes Gazette on the amazing collections at the Corning Museum of Glass.

Visitor Info Click:

Corning, New York



  1. I visited the Glass Pavilion at th Toledo Museum of Art earlier this year and have a story about it launching at Midwest Guest on Thursday that mentions Littleton and the Studio Art Glass Movement! The Glass Pavlion has a great glass studio where visitors can visit and take classes–or can keep cool by watching the artisans at work through big glass walls.

  2. Hi Dominique: You know what they say about “great minds!” 😉
    The trip to Corning has made me want to revisit the Toledo Museum of Art. Have not been there in years. Will watch for your story. Cheers!

  3. […] other day when I posted a story about the American Studio Glass movement and Corning Museum of Glass in Corning, New York, I heard from Dominique King, who has […]

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