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Glass Studio Visiting Artist: Toots Zynsky

Come visit.

September 10-13

Come visit.

SHOWN ABOVE: Toots Zynsky, Sfida, filet de verre (fused and thermoformed glass threads), 2008. Click image to enlarge.

The glass art career of Toots Zynsky began at the beginning of the American Studio Glass movement.

In the early '70s at the Rhode Island School of Design she was studying glass art under Dale Chihuly, and to underscore what a momentous time this was, her fellow classmates read like a who's who of modern glass art—Therman Statom, James Carpenter, Bruce Chao, and Dan Dailey. She was part of the pioneering group that helped Chihuly establish the Pilchuck Glass School in Washington state.

Zynsky, known as Toots but offically Mary Ann, was working in Brooklyn in the early '80s when she began to fine-tune her signature technique of working in glass threads. Formally known as heat-formed filet de verre vessels, she combines centuries-old glass cane techniques with molds used inside a kiln to achieve the final shape.

In 1983 Zynsky left for a three-week trip to Europe and wound up living abroad for 16 years. She's been based in Providence, R.I. since her return.

While known for her skillful use of color, much of her work has been done in black, grey, and red, what she calls "powerful colors, life-and-death colors." She has work in more than 70 museum collections around the world.

To watch a short YouTube video featuring an interview with Zynsky, click here. The video was produced by the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the Renwick Gallery.