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Artist of the Month
March 2012

Artist of the Month

Laura Donefer

Canadian/American artist Laura Donefer has used glass as the primary medium in her art for 30 years. Mentoring/teaching is equally important to Laura, who has taught at Espace Verre since 1988 and at Pilchuck, Penland and Corning Museum of Glass for decades. Laura is the notorious instigator behind the crazy Glass Fashion Shows, the next one being at the GAS conference in Toledo! Laura is represented by Hodgell Gallery, Sarasota, Florida.

Click on each photo to the right for full picture.

Laura Donefer

Artist of the Month

Artist Statement:

Glass can be a seductive beast. 

For the past three decades, my challenge as an artist has been to look past the surface shine with its intrinsic beauty, and use glass to explore ideas concerning memory, assault, bereavement, joy and madness. My work begins as an emotional response to a specific situation that deeply affects me. I then experiment with how to treat the glass to best illustrate my reaction. Many of the pieces created, from the early “Witchpot” series to the latest installation, “Shields to Ward off Madness,” also contain diverse materials to compliment the glass components, and this combination of ingredients adds to the power of the work. The exception is the “Amulet Basket” series, initiated after 9/11 with their joy-inducing blasts of color. Here, I use the clout commanded by the strength of the glass palette to reinforce a spirit of joie de vivre in people’s lives. Throughout my career, I have attempted to produce heartfelt work with an unbridled passion, seeking to push past the boundaries of traditional glassmaking. With whatever series I am working on, I am seeking to communicate my inner core with the rest of the world.

 (phtoto) Self portrait with glass hair.

About Laura Donefer

Laura Donefer was born in Ithaca, New York, and raised in Quebec, Canada. In 1973 Laura studied sculpture for a year at the National Art School of Cubanacan in Havana, Cuba, and in 1979 graduated with honors from McGill University in Montreal. After traveling the world and working with many interesting people, Laura trained as a glass artist at Sheridan College School of Craft and Design, graduating in 1985. She has been using glass as the primary medium in her work for 30 years, often combining it with diverse materials.

Creating her work is extremely important to Laura, but so is teaching. She has been staff in the glass department at Sheridan College and has been permanent part-time faculty at Espace Verre in Montreal for over 25 years, helping to mold the school with her dynamic classes. Laura has spent many years teaching at Pilchuck, Penland, Corning, Red Deer, and conducts many workshops in schools throughout North America and beyond, including Japan and Australia. As president of the Glass Art Association of Canada, Laura was instrumental in trying to unite all of the glass artists across Canada when she began publishing a quarterly magazine which has developed into the major voice of the Canadian glass artist today. 

In addition to all her teaching and lecturing, Laura keeps to a very busy exhibition schedule, presenting her work internationally since 1985. She has participated in many solo and group exhibitions, including shows at the Hokkaido Museum of Modern Art in Japan, the Museo del Vidrio in Mexico, the Museum of Fine Art in Montreal and the Museum of Modern Art in Shanghai, China. Her work is in many public and private collections, including the Corning Museum of Glass, the Museum of Art & Design in New York, and the Museum of Fine Art in Quebec City. Laura has received many awards, among them the “Lifetime Achievement Award” from the Glass Art Association of Canada, the “Honorary Membership Award” from the Glass Art Society and the International Flame Working award for “Extraordinary Contributions to the Glass Art World.” 

Laura loves organizing her wacky notorious glass fashion shows, and the next one will be in Toledo, Ohio on June 16, 2012. It promises to be the wildest one yet!  Laura lives near Harrowsmith, Ontario with her husband, Dave. In her spare time she gardens, hangs out with her dachshund, and kayaks the nearby waterways. Check out her website and see pictures of her installations “Shields to Ward off Madness” and “Bereft,” her latest series of Amulet Baskets, and of course some crazy pictures of the Glass Fashion Show costumes. 

(photo) Laura Donefer blowing glass with Pablow in 2010 at the Toledo Museum of Art.

Acknowledgment of Gallery:
We are grateful to Hodgell Gallery of Sarasota, Florida, for providing the materials for the Artist of the Month.

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Our Mission

The Art Alliance for Contemporary Glass is a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to further the development and appreciation of art made from glass.

The Alliance informs collectors, critics and curators by encouraging and supporting museum exhibitions, university glass departments and specialized teaching programs, regional collector groups, visits to private collections, and public seminars.