Glassigator

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9780935172294: Glassigator
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Libbey and her friends Art, Sash, and Krixvisit her dad's studio, where their imaginations are fired by the spectacle of glassblowing. The children meet Mr. Gaffer and his assistants Tekna and Pepe. They watch the glassblowers work together, demonstrating skills and experience to create Glassigator, a zany and thrilling sculpture. Dan and Allison Dailey's story explains the art of blowing glass, using watercolor-and-ink illustrations to show the excitement and precision of this unique art form.

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About the Author:

Dan Dailey has wanted to write a children's book about the art of blowing glass since he began teaching. After receiving a B.F.A. from Philadelphia College of Art (now University of the Arts) and an M.F.A. from the Rhode Island School of Design, he worked at the Venini factory on the island of Murano, Venice, Italy, in 1972 on a Fulbright fellowship. His studio is in New Hampshire. He has taught at numerous glass programs including RISD, Pilchuck, and Haystack, and is a professor at the Massachusetts College of Art, Boston, where in 1974 he founded the glass program. He has participated in more than 300 juried and invitational exhibits since 1971, including a major retrospective at the Renwick Gallery, Smithsonian Institution. He has been an independent artist/designer for Cristallerie Daum, France, since 1977 and has worked for Steuben Glass and with various factories to produce large-scale works, including Fenton Art Glass, Waterford, and Bullseye Glass. Allison Macneil Dailey graduated recently from the Architecture Department of Cornell University. Raised by professional artists Dan Dailey and Linda MacNeil, her work at home was mysterious to friends. She found herself confounded by questions like, Why did your dad make that? Prior to leaving home for St. Paul's School, she spent a lot of time drawing with her father and admiring the work of Milton Glaser, Al Hirschfeld, and Lionel Feininger. Her drawings of people highlight the differences between personalities and reveal the mixed and universal emotions inside all of us.

Review:

Things get off to a rocky start in Glassigator: a snowball hurled by Libbey Gaffer's pal, Krix, breaks a window in her dad's studio. But the kids are lured inside for hot cocoa and wind up watching Mr. Gaffer and his able assistants wielding pontils and blowpipes. jacks and tweezers as they work molten glass into a vase shaped like an alligator. The 36-page children's book which describes how glass is made is a first-time venture for the Toledo Museum of Art. It's complemented by an exhibit, The Dailey Show, opening Friday in Gallery 18 with 20 original watercolor illustrations from the book by Allison MacNeil Dailey, who collaborated on the project with her father, renowned glass artist Dan Dailey. I started when I was still in college but I never had the time to produce anything much, said Ms. Dailey, 26, who graduated with a degree in architecture from Cornell University in May, 2006. For the next seven months, she hunkered down at her father's southern New Hampshire studio where he leads a team of 10 glassmakers. From the time she was a child, she drew with her father, sometimes copying his crisp designs. I was always impressed with his drawing technique and line quality, she said. I know the style dad likes; extra-long feet, long noses, pronounced features, facial characteristics, clothing styles. They reviewed the notes he uses for teaching glass blowing, which he's done at the Massachusetts College of Art since 1989. They considered tools of the trade and how they are held during the process, which Mr. Dailey has distilled to 14 steps. I made the original pencil drawings of the process, what it's like to use the tools and move around the studio, said Mr. Dailey, in a separate interview. Allison adapted my drawings, so my drawings became her illustrations. Together, they developed characters and the barely-there plot. Both of us wrote the text. We each wrote and read to each other, he said. She photographed her father's hands and body while he worked. And they discussed everything with Sandra E. Knudsen, the museum's coordinator of scholarly publishing, who engaged Mr. Dailey in the project in September, 2003. Ms. Dailey drew and re-drew, making the same kind of sinuous, tight lines her father does with a Rapidograph fountain pen used in technical drawing. He was the director and I was the producer, said Ms. Dailey, who works as an architect for a landscape architectural firm in Cambridge, Mass. Each drawing you look at has some of dad and some of me. Her final illustrations are larger than those in the 9-by-12-inch book for which she chose Dr. Ph. Martin's watercolors. They're really saturated, beautiful, rich colors. Black-haired Mr. Gaffer, of course, was patterned after her father, even down to the green socks (he wears them when he wants to make money, she said), and purple slippers (he got a pair in Italy). Her Libbey was inspired by her favorite children's books, the Eloise series from the 1950s, about a precocious six-year-old, and named for Edward and Florence Libbey who led the founding of the Toledo museum. And the brown and white wing-tip shoes worn by Pepe the glassmaker? Her father thinks they're funny, she said, adding it's probably something from the Sixties. Near the end of the project, Ms. Dailey came to Toledo to scrutinize the color proofs, making sure each image was true to her watercolors. And when she was working on a different project overseas, her father pinch-hit, drawing Libbey for the back cover. It was a real chore for me to make it look like hers, he said. The glass alligator of the book is one of about 40 expressionistic animal vases Mr. Dailey, 60, blew in the 1990s. He lent six to the museum for this exhibit, which continues to Jan. 13. --Tahree Lane, Toledo Blade, 26 September 2007

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