Addicted to Glass

Tidewater Women’s Fran Ward recently visited Ali Rogan at Cristallo Art Center. Ali is a glass artist, Peninsula Glass Guild Vice President and 26th Annual Exhibition Show Chairman, and owner of Cristallo Art Center

Tidewater Women (TW):  Ali, tell the readers about your fascination with glass.

Ali Rogan (AR): My first memory as a child is gazing at all the glass doorknobs in my grandmother’s house in Michigan. I remember how beautiful they looked and how I moved around so I could see them up close from every angle.

TW: Does glass still hold that fascination for you?

AR: Now more than ever! Everything I do is connected with my love of glass. I work with it, I study different methods, and I share my enthusiasm with everyone who comes near me.

TW: Your love of glass is contagious!

AR: It’s my mission to make everyone addicted to glass!

TW: How do you go about your mission?

AR: First, by spending time with artists already involved in the medium in Tidewater. The Peninsula Glass Guild (www.peninsulaglassguild.org‎) is filled with artists with unbelievable skills and abilities and ideas and motivations. Whenever we get together, the ideas start to flow. I like to merge mediums and techniques and try out ideas from other disciplines with glass.

TW: What is the Peninsula Glass Guild (PGG)?

AR: The Peninsula Glass Guild was founded in 1986 to promote art glass with nationally and internationally known artists in our community. We provide a forum for artists to support education and excellence in art. Our annual show introduces a lot of people to traditional and innovative glass works.

TW: Tell us about this year’s show.

AR: It’s a great show, and this is its 26th year. It’s at Charles H. Taylor Art Center in Hampton and is always full of visual and conceptual surprises. It’s a thoughtful show, and it reflects the creativity and technical expertise of the members. This year the solo show within the show is “Glass Bone Animals” by last year’s winner, Jude Schlotzhauer. You’ll love her fanciful, primitive animal skeletons!

TW: How long will it all be on display?

AR: The opening reception is December 7. Glass demonstrations start at 5 p.m. Some well-known artists in the area will show their skill in an area set up outside. There’s also a silent auction starting at the same time upstairs. Artists donate their work to help fund scholarships for glass courses and workshops throughout the country.

And there’s a special opportunity to hear one of the living legends in the glass world! This year’s Juror is Fritz Dreisbach. He’ll give a free lecture at the Chrysler Museum Glass Studio December 8, 4-5 p.m! Fritz has inspired so many artists to work with glass that he’s been dubbed the “Johnny Appleseed” of the American Studio Glass movement!

TW: What do YOU do to inspire artists to work with glass?

AR: Anyone can give it a try here. Cristallo gives instruction from beginners to advanced in work from fusing to casting, lampworking to kiln-forming, painting on glass and photographic techniques on glass. 

We reach out not only to artists but also to the community and teachers. We’re having a Teacher Appreciation Open House Day Thursday Dec.12, 2013, 4-7:00 p.m. The studio is offering Teacher Educational Scholarships for 2014. Applications can be requested at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Besides classes and workshops, Cristallo’s gallery  always features work by area and Virginia artists.

TW: What would you like the readers of Tidewater Women to know?

AR: They might be surprised by the caliber of glass that is created in the Tidewater area. We’re being noticed. In fact, the PGG is expanding to become the Virginia Glass Guild. It’s a lengthy process, but the appeal of glass is attracting more and more interest.

TW: Thanks for sharing your passion with Tidewater Women.

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For more info:

• Peninsula Glass Guild Exhibition: Opening Dec. 7: Demo’s and Silent Auction begin at 5 p.m., Opening Reception 6-8 p.m. • Attend Juror Fritz Dreisbach’s featured free lecture at Chrysler Museum’s Glass Studio December 8, 4-5 p.m.

• Exhibition: Dec. 7, 2013 - Jan. 26, 2014 • Charles H. Taylor Art Center Center Art, 4205 Victoria Blvd., Hampton • Charles H. Taylor Art Center, Hampton • 757.727-1490

• Cristallo Art Center—Gallery, Studios, Classes & Workshops •  11835 Canon Blvd. # C103 Newport News • www.CristalloArtCenter.com •  757.596.3551

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Fran Ward

Fran Ward is an artist and writer with a Ph.D. in Metaphysics (the body, mind, spirit connection). She is an active art and music lover who enjoys traditional cultural productions as well as seeking events off the beaten path. Reach her at arts@tidewaterwomen.com.

Website: peacegrid.com
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