GGW "e" Vignettes • Vol. XVII, No. 1 • March 2010
 
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Founded in 1979, the glass art studio of Gong Glass Works is directed by artist Nancy Gong. Gong Glass Works specializes in the design and fabrication of glass art work including smalti mosaics, leaded, etched, carved, chipped and painted glass. GGW is also the distributor for UltraGlas Inc. The primary focus is on site-specific installations, embracing fine art, decorative art, architectural ornamentation, signage and graphics. GGW designs for residential, commercial and institutional applications with emphasis on customer satisfaction; sensitive, responsive and enduring designs and quality craftsmanship.
Master in Mosaic at Orsoni Smalti Veneziani
The Venice Experience
Seeing Smalti Mosaics and More Mosaics
Blue Vitreographs
"Community Roots" at CNB's Alexander Park branch
Best of the Web
Gung hai fat choy! Happy Chinese New Year! Year of the Tiger. It will be a year of adventure as new and exciting art evolves from new vitreographs, vitreous painting (new kiln just arrived) and smalti mosaics!
Master in Mosaic at Orsoni Smalti Veneziani
Angelo Orsoni-s timeless award winning work exhibited at Exposition Universelle of 1889 in Paris. Photo by Nancy Gong.
Angelo Orsoni’s timeless award winning work exhibited at Exposition Universelle of 1889 in Paris. Photo by Nancy Gong.

When presented with the fortuitous opportunity to be part of an international group at Vivre Orsoni's Bottega Veneziani in Italy, I couldn't pass on the enlightening adventure to enrich my artistry and life. Accredited through the International Interior Design Association, under the keen and insightful eyes of Maestro Lucio Orsoni, Artistic Director and 4th generation mosaicist, Antonella Gallenda, Orsoni’s 30 year protege and Primary Teacher and Mirta Baratto, Translator and Student Coordinator I lived and experienced an intimate gathering with four artists at Orsoni’s foundry, studio. school and Domus Orsoni, a bed and breakfast once the family home. It was here that I was brought back to 13th, 16th and 19th centuries and immersed in the history, theory and application of the art of mosaic making.

I flew over the breathtaking Alps into the Marco Polo Airport and on to Venice where I boarded a vaporetto (public water bus) to Del Sotoportego Vedei on the Cannaregio Canal. Domus Orsoni would be my home for the next two weeks. Five unique guest rooms all filled with beautiful mosaic headboards, furniture, lights and walls designed by Seniori Lucio Orsoni. A daily walk through Orsoni’s Mosaic Gallery was a study of Angelo Orsoni’s timeless award winning work exhibited at Exposition Universelle of 1889 in Paris, Lucio Orsoni’s celebrated gold mosaics and new work including the "Shirt" by last year’s Orsoni Prize winner Julie Richie. The studio, attached to the B & B was accessible 24 hours a day. Rich in history, the Orsoni Smalti Veneziani foundry was just a few steps from the courtyard. The Orsoni world, a jewel just off the Cannaregio Canal – a turn from the Grande Canal, is in this very special place called Venice.


The Venice Experience
Maestro Lucio Orsoni and Antonella Gallenda with Nancy receiving her completion certificate Friday morning, To see what this picture looked like before Photoshop visit the Nancy Gong, Gong Glass Works FaceBook page.
Maestro Lucio Orsoni and Antonella Gallenda with Nancy receiving her completion certificate Friday morning, To see what this picture looked like before Photoshop visit the Nancy Gong, Gong Glass Works FaceBook page.

Joining me were artists from Switzerland, Belgium and South Africa. A fifth artist from the U.S. joined us for a week. And a sixth, a university student from Spain, was there for six months. I came to learn smalti mosaic making for its unique aesthetic which is very different from other mosaic materials and techniques. As a totally enduring art form, it would be a perfect addition to my current artistic approaches to architectural art glass as well as fine art. For over 30 years I have been designing with transparent and translucent glass – a combination that comes to life with both transmissive and reflected light. I would embrace a new way of seeing since smalti is mainly opaque glass which comes to life with reflected light. It is also a micro way of working – up close, yet for the full visual effect the finished art is viewed from a distance.

Wow! 15 days immersed in the zone without interruptions: color selections and access to over 2000 colors, cutting tiny bits of smalti into even tinnier bits with a hammer and hardie, design and blending deliberations combined with first hand insight into seeing how the gold and colored smalti is made, access to the sample room, historical studies, and hands on fabrication techniques for interior and exterior applications and more were all part of the experience.

Above photo by Mel Miller, Nancy Gong.

Seeing Smalti Mosaics and More Mosaics
'Tibetan Prayer Flags,' smalti and filati mosaic designed and created at Orsoni's Bottega Veneziani, Italy. Photo by Nancy Gong.
"Tibetan Prayer Flags," smalti and filati mosaic designed and created at Orsoni's Bottega Veneziani, Italy. Photo by Nancy Gong.

This enthusiastic two week commitment very quickly turned into the equivalent of four weeks of total mosaic immersion working 14-16 hour days, 7 days a week. No caffeine. Pure adrenaline. There was a class tour of the Basilica at St Mark’s where we studied 13th and 16th century glass and stone mosaics. I took one quick excursion to see Murano (an outer island) because I knew you’d all ask if I’d been to Murano. With coveted glass recipes, as world wide suppliers of smalti since 1880, Orsoni’s handmade smalti is the source for elite mosaic workshops around the world including the Vatican's and the Basilica at St. Mark’s Workshops. Clearly to learn from the best, Orsoni’s was the place for me to be. I can't wait to see how my work evolves!

If you would like to consider a mosaic application, contact me at the studio, 585-288-5520 or e-mail Nancy@NancyGong.com and I'll be happy to talk with you about the possibilities. To see photos of my experience at Orsoni’s Bottega Veneziani, you may visit Nancy Gong, Gong Glass Works on Facebook by clicking here. Sign in is not required, although I’d love it if you would join me and became a fan!

 

Blue Vitreographs
          'The Prize', 8' x 18' Photo by Nancy Gong.

 

"The Prize", 8" x 18" Photo by Nancy Gong.

Introducing a new series of hand pulled vitreographs - the Blue Vitreographs. These vitreographs are one of a kind prints made from plate glass which has been meticulously carved, etched and hand painted. These very special little prints are hand rubbed and hand pulled adding to their character. You can see the Vitreographs at the Gallery Store in the Memorial Art Gallery http://www.mag.rochester.edu/

To see more: here.

"Community Roots" at CNB's Alexander Park branch
'Interior view of Community Roots.' Photos by Christopher Maggio.
"Interior view of Community Roots." Photos by Christopher Maggio.
Canandaigua National Bank recently celebrated its grand opening for the Alexander Park Branch. With architecture designed to fit the neighborhood by Mossien Associates Architects, it is dubbed the Arts Branch because of its close proximity to the Cultural District and arts community. Etched and hand painted architectural glass art work that builds on the brand image is permanently installed. The branch will also exhibit local art on a revolving basis. Jim Allen's photos of jazz musicians is currently on display. I am gratified that the CNB has chosen to utilize my art to convey to the community, what is important to them while adding beauty and character to their new branch. Thank you George Hamlin IV, Canandaigua National Bank and Daniel E.Mossien, Mossien Associates Architects for having the vision!
Best of the Web

The Rochester Business Journal has selected www.NancyGong.com as finalist in the Arts Category of The Annual Best of the Web. Thank you RBJ and jurors for recognizing the site's design and navigability by Christopher Maggio Design and for including a category for the Arts! Congratulations to AlbertPaley.com for being selected as The Best of the Web in the Arts Category. And thank you Chris! Great job! Let us know what else you'd like to see on the web pag, e-news or on Facebook.



In the Works

There are lots of exciting things happening in the studio. I'm nearing completion of an eighteen foot wall depicting a state park design for an urban residence. The detail is incredible. Painting will begin in a few days. Watch for this in the next newsletter.

Also in the works is a mosaic design for the exterior of an entryway of a community building, a donor recognition wall made of UltraGlas, annual updates for St. Ann's naming wall and several small works creations for speakers, presenters, donors and other special people.

Art Glass Blessings continue to be popular across the U.S. Note: If you are hand carrying an Art Glass Blessing as a gift traveling by air, place it in an accessible part of your carry on. The Blessings scan as unidentifyable round objects. Airport security will want to inspect your bag.

 

You can see recently completed projects and new work at Nancy Gong.com. Please join me as a fan on Facebook here. I'll be posting insights about my work and the studio that will not be included in the e-news or web site, It's a great way for us to stay in touch! For those of you who may be Facebook shy, you can visit the page without signing up for Facebook.

I've seen and heard Canadian Geese migrating to the north. The snow is wet and heavy because of the warmer temperatures. And Oliver, one of our Bassett Hounds is shedding, he always sheds early. Spring is on the way. Enjoy and let me know if I can help with your next art glass project! Artfully yours, Nancy

GGW "e" Vignettes is published by Nancy Gong, Gong Glass Works. All glass designs, contents and photos ©2010 Nancy Gong unless otherwise noted. To be sure to receive Gong Glass Works' "e newsletter" add gong@gong.pmailus.com to your address book. Do NOT send e-mails direct to the pmail plus address, it is a server address. To contact Nancy at Gong Glass Works, e-mail to Nancy@nancygong.com or call 585-288-5520. I'd love to hear from you. To see more newsletters, or to join the mailing list, click here. Your email address will not be sold or distributed in any way. With GGW "e" Vignettes vs. the studio post mail program, you'll get to see and hear more about exciting studio projects 4-6 times a year. To see more of Nancy's work, visit: http://www.NancyGong.com. Please pass this on!

Nancy cutting smalti with hammer and hardie. Photo by Gerald Briggeler.