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Brooklyn glass business in second decade of employee art show

by: RITA A. LEONARD - Ian Stevens sculpture, 'So the Wind Won't blow it All Away, won first place in Non-Functional art, as well as the first place award as a First-Time Participant.More than thirty glass artists contributed work to the 11th “Working Glass” art show at the Bullseye Glass Company in the Brooklyn neighborhood. The annual exhibition showcases company employees and their creative work – made with Bullseye glass. The latest show, before this past Holiday Season, featured many attractive bowls and wall décor – although there were also several thought-provoking pieces incorporating elements of wood, metal, plaster, and even a video recording.

Half the fun of the exhibit, held on the mezzanine at Bullseye’s Resource Center at 3610 S.E. 21st Avenue, is in reading the amusing artist bios and artwork descriptions. Wide-ranging talents make use of many Bullseye glass products, and employees run the gamut from beginners to staff of more than 30 years. Award winners in three categories – Gold (1st place), Silver (2nd), and Bronze (3rd) – were, as always, chosen by employee votes.

Art pieces varied from a crystal ball on a metal stand by Paul McNulty, to Ian Stevens’ wooden mansion on stilts with a plethora of colored glass windows. McNulty commented to THE BEE, “At Bullseye, I test, break, inspect, improve, and repair all the glass and equipment.” Stevens’ bio indicated he’s “preoccupied with complexities of deterioration, fragility, and inconsistency”, as reflected in his ramshackle creation, a multi-storied dwelling entitled "So the Wind Won’t Blow it All Away, IV”.

Artist Meredith T. Gill reflected, “Through the imagination process, a person gives life to inanimate objects, while assuming a role in his or her play.” This statement contrasted with Erika Chubeck’s sly tongue-in-cheek scene of fused glass foxes entitled “The Widowmaker”. Steve Lechleiter displayed a red-and-green fused glass tic-tac-toe board called “Let’s Play”, along with a sign that read, “Please touch”. Sales Associate Charity Reeves’ entry was short and sweet – a “Little Pink Cake Stand”.

Artists each year are awarded prizes in the categories “functional”, “non-functional”, “first-timer”, “President’s Choice”, and the “David Jobe Memorial Award for experimental/creative use of glass”.

In the latest exhibition, the first place winner in the Functional category was Jim Weller’s “Art Deco Light”. First place in Non-Functional (sculpture, etc.) was Ian Stevens’ “So the Wind Won’t blow It All Away, IV”. Stevens also won a first award as a First-Time participant. President’s Choice went to “Sphere” by Paul McNulty, and the David Jobe Memorial Award was presented to Jake Hogan and John Santellano for their collaborative entry “Melt Down” – a diorama of glass furnaces melting down pools of various colored glass.