Artist Residency in Nations Capital

Glass casting in DCRobyn Townsend and I have ferried our way back to the States for round two in Washington DC. This time we will be spending two weeks working as artists in residence at the Washington Glass Studio. So far we’ve met many of the artists in neighboring studios, Flux, and Red Dirt, and seen some really inspiring works. We’ve spent that last two days making lots of waxes and moulds, so watch this space to see how things turn out!

Waxes ready to be cast DC



Glass goddess sets eyes on Austria

Glass work inspired by the image of the Goddess Legacy Glass Artcelebrated by different cultures over   thousands of years created by a Sunderland graduate is going on show in Austria.

University of Sunderland graduate Criss Chaney’s work is to be placed on display in Austria as part of a solo exhibition lasting two months.

Based at the Museum Humanum in Fratres from August 24 until October, the public will be able to come and celebrate “The Year of the Woman” in glass art form.

Criss’s work is on show at the 2013 Kulturbrücke Festival in Austria that will concentrate on human experience, spirituality and the subconscious. Artwork will look at the past and the different cultures in which humans have felt the need to create religions, spiritual practices, and art to express their subjective and intuitive experiences.

Criss said: “Most of my inspiration comes from Goddess figurines, it’s a theme that reappears again and again in all cultures across the world. I’m not really trying to portray anything to the public, I just hope they like it and it can be a starting point for discussion around the intersections of religion, spirituality and science and how they can be reconciled with each other in today’s world.”

Spirituality sculpture art cenoteThe internationally acclaimed glass artist has exhibited extensively in the UK, Europe and the United States since graduating in Glass, Architectural Glass, and Ceramics from the University of Sunderland in 2006.

The exhibition is a double act of Sunderland graduates with Helma Rud who is organising the event also a former student at the University.

Criss explains: “Helma is a long time friend of mine, we studied together back in 2005-2006 and she is a well known Austrian artist in her own right. She had an exhibition at the Museum a few years ago, and while working on that she presented my work to its owner Peter Coreth, from that I was invited to submit a proposal.

“She has only recently moved back to Austria and became involved in the Kulturbruecke, so they assigned her to be my curator, which has been such great news as I don’t know how I could have done it without her. I hope to pass on the good fortune to anotheArt Spirit Goddessr of my Sunderland colleagues and hopefully we can really start creating a cultural exchange between the two regions.”

All the artworks will be on sale, for more information about the exhibition, please visit:, or contact

Written by Dan White, Originally published on Monday 19th August 2013 (

Turrini to Visit ‘Places of Contemplation’ at Museum Humanum

Glass Sculpture TokenAcclaimed Austrian author Peter Turrini will be paying my exhibition a visit! This Saturday the Kulturbruecke Fratres is hosting a special event ‘Turrini Liest Turrini’ whereby Turrini will be reading a selection of his work. Visitors for the day will be able to view the Museum and Exhibition before sitting down to enjoy a reading of one of his powerful works. Its sure to be an engaging and enlightening evening.

The event will be held on September 7th, and the reading starts promptly at 6pm. Come early to view the grounds, museum and gallery. For more information visit the Kulturbruecke’s website and facebook page.

Peter Turrini at Museum Humanum

Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens to Host International Glass + Clay Exhibition

Wall Art Criss ChaneyUS and UK artists meet for exhibition of Glass and Ceramics

I am delighted to be a part of this showcase in Sunderland of the International Glass and Clay Exhibition, which was held in Washington DC in March of this year, until 29 September.  The original exhibition included the work of 16 Sunderland creative businesses and artists alongside glass and ceramics pieces by artists from the DC area (curated in partnership with Washington Glass School, Flux Ceramics studio, and Artomatic in Washington DC under the city’s Friendship Agreement).

The Sunderland showcase is shared by 2 venues: small scale cabinet work is being shown at Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens (Burdon Road, Sunderland, SR1 1PP) and larger scale and wall pieces are being show at Creative Cohesion Gallery at 21Nile St, Sunniside.

Alongside the work of Sunderland makers, this showcase event features pieces by seven of the DC based artists, including Tim Tate and Michael Janis who spent 2 weeks here at the University and National Glass Centre as Fulbright Visiting Specialists in March 2012 (working with students and staff as well as with Sunderland creative businesses through Creative Cohesion).

Using an art exhibition as a bridge between two countries, the Sister City program brought together Sunderland and Washington DC in a show that celebrates the medias of glass and clay and the relationship between the two cities. The exhibition was first shown at Washington DC’s Edison Place Gallery in March this year and has now traveled to Sunderland, England; this is the third collaboration with Sunderland’s Sister City DC. In 2008 Glass 3 was held in Georgetown and in 2009, 38 artists from Sunderland participated in the 10th Artomatic.

The exhibition is being shown over two venues in Sunderland, Creative Cohesion and Sunderland Museum from 22nd August- 29th September.

DC artists exhibiting: Sean Hennessey, Jeff Herrity, Michael Janis, Tamara Laird, Laurel Lukaszewski, Tim Tate, Novie Trump.

UK artists exhibiting: Stephen Beardsell, Criss Chaney, James Maskrey, Brian Thompson, Robyn Townsend, Margareth Troli, Roger Tye, Phil Vickery and Philippa Whiteside.

Glass and Clay poster

Archetypal Images in Art

The Peter Coreth Collection

By Kate Reynolds (Berkeley)

The name “Museum Humanum” suggests the approach Peter Coreth has taken in presenting his collection to the public. He has displayed objects from many ages and many cultures. He invites visitors to speculate on the meaning of these artefacts by seeing them in a context that reveals the commonality of human experience. In his written statement, describing the mission of this museum, he says he believes in the old maxim that the fight for survival (for the human race) must be fought by intellectual means rather than by violent acts.

Museum Humanum The Female Vessel

Peter uses the phrase, “variegated expressions of human orientation,” in describing his collection. The orientation of which he speaks is grounded simultaneously in the external world of temporal events and the subjective realm of experience. The link between these two dimensions is referred to by St. Paul when he claimed, “as above, so below” and was rephrased by Goethe when he said, “as within, so without.”

There is no clearer evidence of a disorientation from this centre than our current existential crisis. Our world lacks its own image because we have lost an understanding of the coordinates that join these polarities. We no longer agree upon what is true and what is real. These agreements are provisional truths but they underlie all high cultures. In this collection we can see the evidence of these provisional truths, which are mythological. This is the reason why the collection has so much to teach us.

At present, the customary approach to studying art and cultural objects are similar to those of science. Science draws comparisons between things in horizontal lines like those in the categories of Linnaeus: one tree parallel to another, mammals more similar to each other than to molluscs. For scholars, art is studied by period, style, and within a specific culture. Contrary to the modern paradigm, the mythological mind makes vertical correspondences that liken an animal to a constellation, a planet to a colour or musical note.

A schematic representation of this theory could be pictured as a helix. It is a representation of the manifest universe. Time and space are round, seasons spinning and planets turning. All phenomena are serial, limited, and cyclic; each plane of existence reflected in the level above and below. The bridges between one thing and another do not have obvious links but come out of a tradition sunk deep in human consciousness; one that informs our individual and collective dreams (myth) and is called the Theory of Correspondances by Hermetic philosophers.

Here entities on one plane of existence correspond to the plane above through common rhythms; which is to say through a common modality or essential expression. The snake, whose sinuous movements correspond to a helix, the most seminal symbol for the life force in time, corresponds to a dragon on the plane above. The dragon is a hybred between biological and spiritual forces. It changes to an eagle on the plane above. The logic behind these links belong to a tradition long abandoned in the West, but still visible in all natural cultures. In megalithic and astrobiological cultures the mythic imagination forged links between animals and planets, musical instruments and implements of work, parts of the body and landscapes, cardinal directions and seasons. The nature of myth and these symbols are as inexplicable as consciousness itself.

It was for this reason that the orientation of the organic world of life and death was counterposed to the realm of the heavens for ancient man. In all the works of his imagination he looked for the blue print of these archetypes, for the form of the Sacred. The making of Art was not an existential exercise, but an attempt to find that which is unvarying and unchanging.

That has certainly been the quest of modern science. I would like to suggest that it may be more prudent to look to art for unvarying truths as has been done by Peter Coreth in this collection. For it is the intermediate zone between the inner and outer worlds that one can find what is constant to both. The language of this common field is art and myth.

Original Text can be found at the Museum Humanum’s Website

Don’t forget, ‘The Year of the Woman’ solo show by Criss Chaney, opens August 24th at 3pm. At Museum Humanum, Fratres 11, A-3844 Waldkirchen/Thaya, Austria. For more information please email

2013 Kulturbrücke/ 2013 Culture Bridge

Glass art for the homeThe Culture Bridge, Fratres is a cultural platform that was founded in 1995 after the fall of the Iron Curtain. The organisation is dedicated to overcoming cultural barriers and is made up of two pillars: On the Austrian side of the border is the Museum Humanum Fratres, located in the northernmost part of the Waldviertel, and on the Czech side is The Gallery House in Slavonice (Zlabings). Kulturbrücke offers creators and visitors a politically independent forum. Led by enthusiastic volunteers, the aim is to revive, through numerous high-profile events, the culturally desolate border region and to set into motion a sustainable process of cultural exchange beyond Europe.

The club puts on numerous events to strengthen regional identity, to advance European cultural understanding, and lead to an intercultural dialogue beyond Europe. These events regularly culminate in joint musical performances, exhibitions, readings, and discussions with Austrian and Czech intellectual leaders.

For the full line up of the 2013 Kulturbrücke, please visit their website, or download the brochure.

Don’t forget, ‘The Year of the Woman’ solo show by Criss Chaney, opens August 24th at 3pm. At Museum Humanum, Fratres 11, A-3844 Waldkirchen/Thaya, Austria. For more information please email

Places of Contemplation

The work showing at the Museum Humanum this August as part of the 2013 Kulturbrücke is about the human experience, spirituality and the subconscious. Throughout time and across cultures humans have felt the need to create religions, spiritual practices, and art to express their subjective and intuitive experiences. For the Musuem Humanum I am exhibiting work that incorporates the archetypal female form with artifact and cave imagery.

Glimmer Glass Art

Artifacts have a life of their own that span many human lifetimes. They can often be the only windows we have into another person’s life and how they understood the world. Can we really identify with a prehistoric person? They may have the very same basic desires for food, shelter, and clothing, and perhaps even self-expression, but their worldview would be so different. Can we ever view their possessions with the same understanding they did? They who may have made it and viewed it as a vital part of their life and survival, and us who hold it up high and revere it as valuable art?

Moving from the objects that people leave behind, to their stories and myths, we find caves playing a mythical role in society. Caves are closely tied with female sexuality and its life giving powers, they were considered to be the ‘wombs’ of ‘Mother Earth’. Mayans believed caves to be sacred, a place where the gods could move between worlds. In my work I use caves as a metaphor for the subconscious, and spiritual dimensions of human existence. With the shift to a secular society, science has replaced mysticism and has renamed the realm of the gods ‘the subconscious’. Spirituality, psychoanalysis, and art are all human endeavors to explore this hidden aspect of our nature.

Using the archetypal female form and its close associations with caves this exhibition explores a common and deep-seated intuitive attraction to these forms and the mysteries they present.

“The Year of the Woman” opens on August 24th, 2013 at 3pm, at the Museum Humanum, Fratres, Austria. Please email for more information if you would like to attend.