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Glass Catalyst

All of the artists represented in the exhibition take a conceptual approach to their work, ushering glass beyond the functional realm where its traditional roots lie.

Alex Bernstein, Aqua Fin, cast and cut glass, fused steel, 21 x 21 x 2.75 inches, Image courtesy of the Artist


Glass Catalyst: Littleton's Legacy in Contemporary Sculpture

Exhibition: June 14 - December 7, 2018
Opening Reception: June 14th from 5-7pm*

The Exhibiting Artists 

Carol Milne, Knit Knot, 2014, kiln-cast lead crystal knitted glass and needles, 10 x 15 x 8 inches, Collection of the Asheville Art Museum, Image courtesy of the Artist


Celebrating the efforts of Harvey Littleton, one of the greatest proponents of using glass as an expressive medium, the exhibition explores the work of contemporary artists concentrating in glass and how they are building off the foundations laid by Littleton during the early years of the Studio Glass Movement. Artists featured in the exhibition include Alex Bernstein, Carol Milne, Hayden Wilson, Matt Eskuche, Shane Fero, Robert Burch, Carmen Lozar, Carole Frève, Einar and Jamex de la Torre, Shayna Leib, and Dean Allison. Glass enthusiasts, sculptors, lovers of innovation, and even knitters will especially enjoy this display of works ranging from cast figures to blown glass to delicate lamp-worked forms.

Hayden Wilson, Drones, 2017, kiln-formed glass with glass powder prints, 4 feet x 8 feet x 12 inches, Photographed by Steve Mann


The majority of the artists in the exhibition represent a younger generation of glass sculptors who did not directly work with or study under Littleton, yet each of them, like Littleton, works glass to its fullest potential by creatively expanding the medium. Carol Milne, for example, constructs intricate networks of knitted glass that symbolize social structures and speak to the power of solidarity, while Hayden Wilson's Drones are giant "paper" airplanes fashioned in glass that evoke childhood memories of play and also look critically at episodes of violence in our culture.

Harvey Littleton Explored 

A key work in the exhibition is a new acquisition to the Museum's collection: a glass sculpture by Harvey Littleton entitled Terracotta Arc. Donated by the Littleton Family in honor of WCU Professor Emerita Joan Falconer Byrd, this sculpture serves as a focal point in the exhibition and a reminder of how Littleton's impact reverberates through the generations.


Born to a physicist who worked at Corning Glass Works, Harvey Littleton encountered glass in a factory setting at an early age. Believing that glass had creative potential outside its applications in industry, Littleton set out to make it possible for artists to experiment with glass in their individual studios. He built a small-scale furnace and other equipment that could be used for blowing glass. This initial experimentation inspired Littleton to share his findings with others. In 1962, he led a watershed glass workshop at the Toledo Museum of Art that would eventually spark the creation of glass programs at universities, craft schools, and art centers throughout the world. He is often credited with making information about glass widely available. Coming out of an era when glass techniques and formulas were concentrated in Europe and largely kept secret, Littleton took a democratic, and arguably American, approach to his art form by sharing ideas and techniques freely amongst a community of interested artists. His efforts led to the elevation of glass as an art form and the creation of a viable market for artists working in glass.


Wednesday, September 12, 2018 

Experience this excellent opportunity to learn more about the process of blowing glass and see this dynamic method in action with visiting artist Devan Cole. Get a chance to learn how to make a glass piece yourself and maybe even leave with your own item! 

Located in the Bardo Arts Center Courtyard from 10AM-1PM & 1:40-4PM. Drop in anytime!

Saturday, September 15, 2018 

Don't miss the Baby Dragon Glass Furnace Demonstration at Jackson County Green Energy Park’s Youth Art Fest. A celebration of art, music, green energy and community fun for the entire family!

The festival begins at 9:00 AM at the Jackson County Green Energy Park 100 Green Energy Park Rd. Dillsboro, NC.

Sunday, September 16, 2018 

Join WCU's Arts & Cultural Events (ACE) for an unforgettable evening in the Biltmore House and Gardens. Students will have an opportunity to take in the sites and sculptures of glass artist Dale Chihuly, set among the world-famous Biltmore House and Gardens. This trip is being offered exclusively to WCU students at an incredibly discounted rate of $25. Registrations are limited and open on August 27th at the UC Guest Services Desk. For more information contact Brandon Lokey at 

The bus will depart from WCU at promptly 6PM, with a meet-up time of 5:30PM. 

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Guest lecture by WCU Faculty Emerita and scholar of the American Studio Glass Movement, Joan Falconer Byrd, on the life, work, and influence of Harvey Littleton. Byrd will be available to sign copies of her biography of Littleton, Harvey K. Littleton : A Life in Glass, after the talk.

Lecture begins at 5:00 PM in Bardo Arts Center Room 223 followed by the book signing in the Bardo Arts Center Atrium beginning at 6:00 PM.

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