Paul M. Hollister Collection, The Rakow Research Library of The Corning Museum of Glass
Transcribed by Bard Graduate Center
Title: Paul Hollister Interviews with Edward Larrabee Barnes and James Carpenter, c. 1991 (Rakow title: James Carpenter interview [sound recording] / with Paul Hollister, BIB ID: 168555).
Edward Larrabee Barnes, Interviewee
Kathy Achelpohl, participant
Amie Rennolds, participant
James Carpenter, Interviewee
Paul Hollister, Interviewer
Barnes interview location: likely Barnes’ studio [according to Kathy Achelpohl then of Edward Larrabee Barnes Associates, probably 320 W. 13th St., New York, New York]
Carpenter interview location: likely Carpenter’s studio [probably 47 or 49 Crosby Street, New York, New York]
Colleen Terrell, Transcriber
Barb Elam and Michelle Jackson-Beckett, Editors
Lauren Drapala and Colleen Terrell, Summary
Duration: 65:42
Length: 47 pages

Note: This transcript is based upon an audiotaped recording that has been digitally converted. The recording is part of the Paul M. Hollister Collection at The Rakow Research Library at The Corning Museum of Glass, Corning, New York, and was transcribed at Bard Graduate Center, New York, New York, for the digital exhibition and archive Voices in Studio Glass History: Art and Craft, Maker and Place, and the Critical Writings and Photography of Paul Hollister. Usage requests for all or part of this transcript must be obtained from The Rakow Research Library at The Corning Museum of Glass. 

Paul Hollister often made audio recordings for research purposes in preparation for writing, including interviews with artists and curators, and lectures. The reader should bear in mind that transcriptions of these recordings reflect spoken, rather than written, prose. While every effort was made to be as accurate as possible, the sound quality of the recordings in the Paul Hollister Collection varies greatly. Transcripts have been edited for readability and occasionally condensed. They should serve as a best-effort guide to the original only and not be considered verbatim.

Edward Larrabee Barnes (1915–2004) was an American architect who studied under Walter Gropius and Marcel Breuer and graduated from Harvard Graduate School of Design in 1942. After working for Henry Dreyfuss in Los Angeles designing prototypes for mass-produced homes, Barnes founded Edward Larrabee Barnes Associates in New York City in 1949. He undertook a wide range of architectural projects, often in collaboration with his wife, interior designer Mary Barnes.

American architectural designer and glass artist James Carpenter (1949– ) became interested in glass while an undergraduate at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), where he studied and collaborated with Dale Chihuly; he earned a BFA in sculpture from RISD in 1972. Carpenter contributed to the development of new glass materials at Corning Glass Works throughout the 1970s, and in 1978, he established his own cross-disciplinary architectural practice, James Carpenter Design Associates. Working at the intersection of art, engineering, and the built environment, the firm is noted for its ability to employ glass as a means to mediate interior and exterior spaces and to exploit the performative aspects of light.

Summary: This interview is broken up into multiple sections and was recorded at different times and locations, the first of which involves Edward Larrabee Barnes and Paul Hollister discussing the Stevenson Chapel at the Christian Theological Seminary (Indianapolis, Indiana), which featured a collaboration between Barnes and James Carpenter. Later sections record Hollister’s interview with Carpenter. The two discuss the breadth of Carpenter’s career in glass experimentation, with Carpenter detailing his approach to the transparency in three-dimensional glass structures as a means of defining architectural space, as well as his years working at Steuben Glass Works.

Mentioned: American Museum of Natural History, Yamanaka Armstrong, Edward Larrabee Barnes, Bibliothèque Nationale de France, bubbling, James Carpenter, Chapelle du Rosaire de Vence, Dale Chihuly, Citicorp Center [later Citigroup Center], cloisters, glass casting, glass sandwiching, glassblowing, ice, Maison de la culture du Japon à Paris, Herman Mueller, Lewis Mumford, Barton Myers, National Endowment for the Arts, Louise Nevelson, Royal College of Art, Saint Peter’s Church, Seville, Spain, soap, stained glass, Steuben Glass Works, Stevenson Chapel, Christian Theological Seminary, three-dimensional, ultraviolet light, Venini, windows, x-rays

Related asset: Paul Hollister, “James Carpenter: Adventures in Light and Color in Space.” American Craft 51, no. 3 (June/July 1991): 28-35.

Paul Hollister (PH): Yeah.

Edward Larrabee Barnes (ELB): And then there—there you can see what it does. It’s going through, and what’s on the ceiling, you can see the little flecks there, changing color from apricot to different colors.

PH: Coated with metallic oxides.

ELB: Now, you look straight through. It’s just—it’s just like a view. And the—

PH: Yeah.

ELB: You’ve probably seen pictures of this. This is the chapel.

PH: I’ve only seen that.

ELB: Yeah, well the way this splits.

PH: Yeah.

ELB: I think it’s too severe, and it was—it’s almost harsh, it’s so severe. But on the other hand, the religion is plain living and high [laughs]—you know, I think there’s something nice about it, not having it schmaltzy. But what was also pretty was when there were dappled leaves, and this was softened a little bit. Very pretty.

PH: It’s nice with that, isn’t it?

ELB: Oh, yeah see the pretty colors here?

PH: The contrast—yeah.

ELB: The colors—it scatters around the inner—I don’t think we have very many interior shots here.

PH: Geez, it’s gonna give some of the ladies a blue rinse, isn’t it? [ELB laughs] Sitting in the pew?

ELB: Well, yes, they get a blue rinse, but it changes to lavender—

PH: Lavender.

ELB: —while the sermon is going on.

PH: And old lace.

ELB: And old [laughs] and old lace, if it’s a long enough sermon. [PH laughs] So okay, then—

PH: That’s interesting. Yeah.

ELB: That’s what that is. But that’s the dichroic glass.

PH: Yeah.

ELB: Now, this one—what’s worrying me about—that’s mounted on plastic.

PH: Hmm. These are stained with metallic oxides, are they?

ME: Yeah.

PH: Right?

ELB: Yeah, I think that’s right.

PH: One on one side, and one on the other.

ELB: And then the whole thing is in the—when you use it, it’s laminated in the real glass on each side.

PH: Yeah.

ELB: In other words, this you can see, the core, which has the color, and the real glass laminated.

PH: Yeah, yeah. There’s what, three layers there?

ELB: Well, two to protect it, and the real thing is in the middle.

PH: Huh?

ELB: So there’s no way of scratching that surface. What you see there is the unadulterated thing, not plastic.

PH: Hmm.

ELB: But that would get scratched with cleaning and everything, so it’s all put in a sandwich.

PH: Yeah, I’d like to get a shot of that.

[Recording breaks and resumes again]

ELB: Is it this way?

Amie Rennolds (AR): This way.

ELB: If you get where the sun hits you in the eye—if you’re sitting here, and look up through the outside pane you just—because somebody’s gonna say we need a window shade.

PH: Mm-hmm.

ELB: And I wanted to see what it was like to reverse that. You know what we want to do? You know why you’re going up the ladder?

AR: Yeah.

Kathy Achelpohl (KA): To reverse the [inaudible] glass—

AR: To put the—

ELB: To put the—

KA: Which color? Either? Or both?

ELB: No, no, no. Put the little one on the outside.

AR: The little one—

KA: Right. All of the colors?

ELB: —and the big one on the in—well, just any one of those. Can you—can you put the little one in the outside slot?

AR: Why don’t you let me hold that for you?

ELB: Alright, now, that’s heavy, Kathy. Can you—I’ll hold the ladder?

ELB: Maybe you should put the little one in first.

AR: [inaudible] It’s probably that there’s different thicknesses and he [inaudible] them out.

ELB: Oh. Then how can we—

AR: [inaudible] Alright, we’ll have to get some little wedges of paper to stick in there like matchbooks or something. I’ll go get—

ELB: Let’s do it down here.

AR: Okay.

ELB: Let’s bring them down to this level, and we’ll do it there first, to see—Now this is the effect that Jamie [James Carpenter] wanted, was that the clear glass was on the outside.

PH: Mm-hmm.

ELB: And I think it’s probably much prettier, because all around, in real life you see leaves and things, you know.

PH: Yeah.

ELB: But this way, if you did it the other way, this would be keeping the sun out over the whole window, but I think it would be forbidding.

KA: Yes, it would be.

ELB: It would be forbidding—

PH: Yeah.

ELB: Don’t you agree? I mean, this would be—the room would be closed in.

PH: Yeah. Quite dark.

ELB: Yeah, right.

PH: Hmm.

ELB: Amy, do you know where that photograph is of the—

AR: Of the whole window?

ELB: Of the whole window, of his mock up?

AR:  I have it.

KA: Did Paul see these?

PH: Yeah. How does it look from the outside of the building when you stand there and just look out the window?

ELB: You’re talking about the dichroic?

PH: Well, any one.

ELB: Well, this is one job, and this is another.

PH: Right.

ELB: This one, when you’re at nighttime, the whole thing reverses. That is, the lights inside that come through the glass, change colors and reflect from it. It’s just exactly the same thing in reverse. In other words, if it’s nighttime—if there were no lights in the building, you wouldn’t see anything. If you have the lights on inside, this whole thing reverses. In other words—

PH: Uh-huh. It sends it out, in other words.

ELB: Yeah, it sends it out. Let’s say that’s grass outside, and it’s all covered with the distorted lights that—coming from the lights inside, through the glass. And the ones that get scattered up, what few, if it leaves, you see them.

PH: But, for this it looks very dark blue-gray, kind of, from the outside.

ELB: From this one, you really need the clear glass. You’ll see—this one, it looks very hard-boiled, but that’s the way it is.

PH: From the outside?

ELB: From the inside.

PH: From the inside. Right. Right. I see now.

ELB: This is clear, and that’s frosted, and these are hung with about two feet between here and there, and this is a window, with beautiful—a lawn and trees and all kinds of things out there. It’s a pretty window. So that this is over a clear view, very unusual. And you have to see the shape of the whole room to—understand. There are two windows like this.

PH: Now, this part of it, you had planned already. I mean, the shape—

ELB: The shape.

PH: —and the—and that it was gonna have half and half—

ELB: Well, they definitely—all of us, the Unitarians, all of us, when we got this site, said we have to look at the view.

PH: Mm-hmm.

ELB: I should get you the model. Kathy? Kathy? Could you get the model of the room so I can show it to Paul?

KA: Okay, yeah.

ELB: Then you’ll see.

PH: But I mean, this was structurally—

ELB: There.

PH: You planned that; that’s the way it is. He’s gotta work with this space—

ELB: That’s true.

PH: So that the person standing outside is really looking through here and seeing what goes on. They’re not looking through that as if it were a lab, closed off to the public or something—

ELB: That’s true. This is above and this is below. This is like a shade, and this is clear.

PH: The top part is a kind of a, sort of a trapezoid. I don’t know if that’s a trapezoid, but it looks like a trapezoid. [laughs]

ELB: Wait til you see this cockeyed room that it goes with. There’s the room.

PH: Wow.

ELB: Now, there you can see the view. The organ’s in the corner. You sit, like in the round—

PH: Hmm.

ELB: This is the huge chancel, and the windows—you can sit and look out the windows.

PH: Hmm. Hmm.

ELB: All the top light in the room is shielded. And these windows, while they look big in that picture, are relatively small in the whole room.

PH: Yeah. Small part of the room.

ELB: Yeah.

PH: This has a little of the feeling of the thing that [Louise] Nevelson had. This stuff in on, what, 54th St. and Lex [Lexington Avenue] [Saint Peter’s Church, New York, New York]?

EB: Oh, yeah. Yes, it does. Yes, it does.

PH: Isn’t that that building—

ELB: It’s the same thing. Citicorp [Citicorp Center, later Citigroup Center, New York, New York]

PH: Citicorp.

ELB: Citicorp. The building has some of the same geometry. They used the diagonal of the room.

PH: Yeah. Height, yeah. Let me get a picture of that, while I’m at it.

ELB: Alright.

PH: I mean this clarifies it in my mind—

ELB: Sure.

[recording breaks off, then resumes in new location, starting mid-sentence]

James Carpenter (JC): [inaudible] doing at this same time was continuing on with the ice project. The ice—[sounds of traffic in background]

PH: Uh-huh.

JC: I’ll show you some of this—

PH: Ice capades.

JC: Ice capades, right.

[recording breaks off, then resumes with PH talking to himself, recording notes]

PH: Jamie got his Bachelor of Fine Arts in’72. B-F-A—F-A in ’72 from RISD [Rhode Island School of Design]. He got a National Endowment for Arts grant in ’75. Got the European Honors Program in ’72.

[recording stops and starts again]

He’s in collections everywhere: in Corning [The Corning Museum of Glass, Corning, New York]; Bellerive—Museum Bellerive—Kunstgewerbe Museum Bellerive in Zurich [Switzerland], whose collections now include at least some of what had been in the Bellerive, including a collaborative piece by Carpenter and Dale Chihuly.; Musée du Verre in Belgium [Musée du Verre, Marcinelle, Belgium]; Contemporary Crafts, New York [Museum of Contemporary Crafts, now the Museum of Arts and Design, New York, New York]; Seattle Art Museum [Seattle, Washington]; and so forth. And shows in Hamburg, in Frankfurt, at the Renwick [Renwick Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.], Portland Art Museum [Oregon], Tacoma Art Museum [Washington], Toledo Museum of Art [Ohio], University of Massachusetts, Australia, Western Australia Art Gallery Perth [Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth Cultural Centre, Perth, Australia], and so forth and so on.

[recording breaks, then resumes mid-sentence]

PH: [inaudible] there was neon and argon, and basically those two, I think. And then there was the one that colored it—

JC: Right, right.

PH: The mercury.

JC: Mm-hmm.

PH: Which colored it a green color. But it was that period. Okay, so that’s all behind us now. These are nice.

JC: Mm-hmm.

PH: And that one that I have of you is quite nice that I found in my file, with the black cover, smaller than this, about that size. And it shows you and Dale [Chihuly] working on a piece and pulling it out like that, and he’s—

JC: Oh, for the Toledo National thing?

PH: Yeah, yeah.

JC: Right.

PH: Toledo National. And you are looking very severely at it, and you have [inaudible]—

JC: [Inaudible]. [laughs] I think my interest in it has always been more this fascination with the transparency, sort of this impermanence. And that’s what the ice project was really about, and the neon things were about this other quality of glass, and that’s what these projects are all about. I mean, what does glass share with soap bubbles and the formation of soap bubbles, sort of the impermanence of soap bubbles, and then working on these sculptures that combine glass and ice and soap bubbles or, in this instance it’s scotch tape and different ideas of transparency. You know this, all these—

PH: Yeah. Yeah.

JC: These are all glass. These are all photographs on glass plates—

PH: Uh-huh.

JC: And they are held with a cast glass—a very tall glass casting. These are castings, they’re like, this tall and about that thick. And actually the electrical wire is cast into them, and then they hold the glass plate on top and then the bulbs—the bulbs fits in right behind it so they’re sort of illuminated from behind, but the image is projected at you. So when you’re looking at these things—I can show you a slide of it—when you’re looking at these glass plate photographs, there’s a light bulb behind it, a light source behind it, and they sort of radiate out at you—

PH: Hmm. As if your hand were touching fire—

JC: There are all these ideas, like, here’s a pond, and how the heat of your hand opens this window down below the surface of the ice, so you actually see through the—this—

PH: Yeah.

JC: —the surface of the pond below—

PH: Yeah.

JC: This is sort of this idea, like some animals carry this whole quality of translucency or transparency, luminosity.

PH: Yeah.

JC: All these different ideas of transparency.  I mean, as a liquid, or as a sort of almost elixir. I mean, there’s something about transparency that separates—it sets boundaries between us and the world around us.

PH: Yeah. And then when you’re talking about looking at this thing on the edge, and looking at it the other way, I got that message. [JC laughs]

JC: The material, the immaterial, right.

PH: The immaterial, and, you know, the nonexistent.

JC: Mm-hmm.

PH: Nothing there.

JC: Right.

PH: Until you walk into it.

JC: Right, right.

[recording breaks, then resumes]

JC: Right, and you remember we were talking about this—maybe that’s getting a little too far afield, but if light—

PH: No, no, that’s not too far afield. Go ahead.

JC: If light carries information, and all surfaces are having this information falling upon them, you know, like the reflected light off of this—

PH: Hmm. I can see it here—the window—

JC: We read this, but it’s also striking a material like this, which doesn’t allow you to read it, but when it strikes transparent materials, you know, that information tends to become compounded. That sort of complexity of information gets denser.

PH: Hmm.

JC: And I think that’s very fascinating [inaudible. PH and JC speaking simultaneously].

PH: As I look across this table and see the window reflected in the watery wobbly surface—

JC: Right.

PH: —what you’re trying to do is to take the idea of that information and do something with a piece of glass that will communicate that to some other space.

JC: Right. Right.

PH: Related to the room space or a wall, or changing time—

JC: Or make you more aware of the space you’re in. You know, somehow it transforms the space you’re in by bringing all this other information.

PH: And also time of day.

JC: Right. But here’s the key, like what you were just saying, when you look at this, and you have, like, five or six different focal points—

PH: [inaudible] So, yeah.

JC: [inaudible] I tried to get [inaudible] Steuben [Steuben Glass Works, Corning, New York], one of the main things I was working on besides these pieces, which were very straightforward, was to get them to put these chemicals in the Steuben batch—

[recording breaks, then resumes]

JC: —I mean, if you look at the reflection hitting your focal lens—distance is really that. It’s not this surface. You actually have to focus on what’s across the street.

PH: Yeah.

JC: So you have all these different focal lengths. All that information is here, and then as you focus, you’re gathering different pieces of information as your eye changes focus, but it’s all in this one plane. It’s like a plane that carries—

PH: Yeah, this is the best one—this is the closest we got [JC laughs]

JC:  —but it’s sort of this plane that has all this information—

PH: And what do you do with the information?

JC: Exactly. I mean, or how do you understand the information, and then how do you elicit that information to make it more understandable, or more comprehensible? I mean, I think what we’re after is we’re really trying to figure out how do you keep—to sort of understand this,  and you can only understand it in a generality, how do you start pulling it apart and work with that, work with it?

PH: Use the elements in it.

JC: Yeah. How do you start working with that, and understanding that you realize there is all this information, how do you start making it apparent to other people, you know? It’s self-evident in a way.

PH: Which I gather intuitively that you can’t do in an abstract way. You have to do it with a given set of conditions and say, okay, I’ve got this problem, this space, this situation, and this is what I can do with that, rather than just sort of—

JC: Anything goes, or—

PH: [inaudible] all dreamy—

JC: No, no, no, no. I think each context has a very real set of problems to deal with, you know.

PH: You’re doing a different kind of thing.

JC: I mean, you bring to that context whatever understanding you have of it, and you try to re-use that context to explore a new way of looking at that same body of information.

PH: I’m tempted by the idea—I haven’t decided on it yet—but I’m tempted by the idea of going out, ending this piece, with the cloister problems, which is not yet solved.

JC: Right, right.

PH: You see? And sort of open it up and leave the reader to guess what might happen along with you.

JC: Right. Right. It’s a fascinating problem.

PH: It’s a fascinating problem. Because you’ve already got everything so set.

JC: Mm-hmm.

PH: You’ve got the perimeter, and you got the non-barrier open space between the columns, or whatever it is—

JC: Right, right, right.

PH: —or under the hanging roof—

JC: Right, right.

PH: —maybe they’re not even going to be columns.

JC: Right, right. Glass columns.

PH: Glass columns.

JC: That’s what we’re doing. Right.

PH: You are?

JC: We’re thinking about it [inaudible].

PH: But I mean, you face the—even—if they just cantilevered it over like a railroad platform—

JC: Right.

PH: —you know, and it didn’t have any columns, what would you do then?

JC: In this plane. Right, right, right.

PH: Yeah, working from the back wall—

JC: Right, right, right. Well, the cloisters got a marvelous set of parameters to it, you know.

PH: —and there’s a couple of sentences in Lewis Mumford that I will copy down and phone into you. it’s about people being able to retreat from the world and sort of take stock of where they are in life and reflect and not have all the distractions that you would have if you were in an equivalent space which was a town square—

JC: Uh-huh. Right, right, right.

PH: —that has people dashing all over the place, and it’s quite different. This is an isolation that concentrates the mind and the thoughts, and so forth. And I can copy that out for you. He used it in two books.

[recording breaks, then resumes]

PH: I know.

JC: And regrettably, I don’t get to do it as much as I used to or take part in it that much.

PH: And this thing is a sideline. And of course you’ve seen all the [Herman O.] Mueller lampwork at the Natural History Museum [American Museum of Natural History, New York, New York].

JC: The one at the Peabody? [Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts]

PH: New York. New York.

JC: Oh, here. Right. And all the animals, and the sea life—

PH: Protozoa, diatom, radiolaria, and all—

JC: Right, right—that’s fantastic.

PH: Unbelievable.

JC: But also the collection at the Peabody, the glass flowers was always very impressive.

PH: Oh, yeah, yeah. I took my anthropology course there.

JC: I was just looking for a book that I could give you, actually. I have a—where would it be? I might have it upstairs, but I should give you a copy of a book that I did on herbs [The Herbs of Lost Thyme, by John Ferris, illustrated by James Carpenter (Shelburne Mass: The Lost Thyme Press, 1971)].

PH: On herbs?

JC: Yeah.

PH: Oh.

JC: Around ’70. Actually done around 1971.

PH: Oh.

[inaudible. PH and JC voices very faint, as though they have moved away from the recorder]

JC: I might have it upstairs, actually.

PH: Oh—

[recording breaks, then resumes]

PH: It’s gonna help me a good deal in sort of clinching this thing down to make a distinction, which you made casually, in the restaurant, in talking about the difference between what you’re doing, throwing light and so forth, and the stained glass windows, even the modern German ones—

JC: Right, right.

PH: —and all these other pieces that were decorating rectangular spaces—

JC: The borders, right, right.

PH: And their only possibilities, as far as I can see it, are reflective light and transmitted light.

JC: And it’s actually a graphic image. Right, right.

PH: It’s a graphic. Yeah. It’s a two-dimensional image—

JC: Right.

PH: —that has—

JC: Some interaction—

PH: —some interaction—

JC: Right, right.

PH: —you know, the possibilities of the light thrown onto the floor, whatever.

JC: Right, right.

PH: But it’s not thrown onto the floor with method, the way yours is—

JC: Or with intention. And the intention, I think, is still the two dimensions. And then the three-dimensional phenomenon is really a by-product almost.

PH: Well, when they did some of these German churches, modern ones—

JC: Mm-hmm.

PH: —and the re-doing of—of cathedrals in England that were bombed and that sort of thing, where they’ve re-done it with modern windows.

JC: Right, right.

PH: There is an almost mathematical graph-like placement of the squares of glass—

JC: Right, right—

PH: —or the shapes of glass and that kind of thing—

JC: Right, right, right.

PH: —they must have had some feeling that that was doing something on the floor—

JC: Beyond the window itself. Right.

PH:  —beyond the window itself.

JC: Right, right, right.

PH: And I want to draw a distinction between that and the further thing that you’re doing, you see what I mean?

JC: Right, right.

PH: Cause I could see somebody saying, ‘Well, look, we did that, too. Sure. Look at that pattern on the floor.’And the pattern when you mentioned, or I read, of the pattern on the nuns’ habits in the Vence Chapel [Chapelle du Rosaire de Vence, Vence, France].

JC: Right, right, right, right. What distinguishes that, and what—

PH: Yeah, how is that different from yours, except that the things that you’re doing with colors, the tint to the glass, to laminate and overlap it and that kind of thing—

JC: Right.

PH: Aside from that treatment of the glass, which is quite different a distinction—

JC: Between that, right, right. Well, I think one of the primary distinctions is that the window itself that we’re doing is always left clear. The actual window is left totally transparent, with no color, or no interference. And that all of the events—

PH: You mean your windows—

JC: Yes, right, right. We actually—the window is always totally clear.

PH: Mm-hmm.

JC: And then that is done intentionally to allow the highest transmission of light, and then the only—if you want to call it interference—that we put into it always occurs in another dimension, actually does occur three-dimensionally. [inaudible] or not putting something in the window two-dimensionally. We’re actually bringing the structure—it comes out of the wall and becomes three-dimensionally structured.

PH: The window itself is three-dimensional—

JC: —is three-dimensional.

PH: Three-ply, or with the space, or—

JC: Or—or it may be three or four feet deep.

PH: Yeah, yeah.

JC: I mean, we’re doing one right now that’s 15 feet deep.

PH: Yeah.

JC: You know, from outer wall to inner wall.

PH: Yeah, yeah.

JC: And then all the stuff that happens in between, it’s just two clear walls and horizontal pieces of glass, or shaped pieces of glass that then create another phenomenon, you know, in that space. Typically, if you think of a, say, even in a church window, like an old church window, you have this plane, this really serves as, like a membrane, and the boundary between interior and exterior is kept to a line, essentially.

PH: Mm-hmm.

JC: And what we’re really trying to do is take this boundary, and expand the boundary, the boundary itself is really physically expanded, and therefore it interacts with much greater effect with the intensity of the light—

PH: It’s expanding because of what?

JC: Structure, really. I mean, we’re actually building the window three-dimensionally. The window—

PH: And because this is part of it, and that’s part of it.

JC: Right. This is all the window plane—this is part of it, and that’s part of it.

PH: I see.

JC: Right. There’s a whole—like in Ed’s [Edward Larrabee Barnes] window—I mean, this is actually a model of one of the chapels, right here.

PH: We were just looking at an embrasure. In the first one you drew there, right?

JC: Right. It’s similar to that, right. But that’s like a model of one of the earlier samples for Ed. You know, that’s not the one that was built. But I mean, it’s very similar to that—

PH: Mm-hmm. Right.

JC: —but you see the window actually has depth to it.

PH: Yeah. Yeah.

JC: You know, the window’s no longer just a plane—

PH: No, no. It’s an accordion—

JC: It’s the same on this one. See the window wall here is totally clear, it was totally clear on Ed’s—it’s just clear glass, and then whatever we do, is in this zone either behind or in front or—just keep expanding that zone a little bit more. And what we really try to do is we don’t try to have the graphic image projected onto the floor, we’re really after a much more active interaction of elements. You know, like you take the German windows, and they would have a very precise—not precise, the pattern, and if you shine the light through it, you get that same pattern on the floor. And so what we’re doing is that pattern is different, you know, depending on whatever angle the sun is [inaudible. PH and JC speaking simultaneously]

PH: Where you are, and the colors—the colors blend, and that sort of thing.

JC: Well, the colors change, too, rather dramatically. Like, this whole window’s gonna be totally clear glass, but those horizontal pieces are going to be, you know, they’re very shaped, almost like shaped prisms.

PH: Yeah. But they’re being treated. When you say totally clear, they’re being treated with something that—

JC: They are—they’re totally clear. I don’t know where they are.

PH: Well, I mean, they’re treated with a metallic oxide, or—

JC: No.

PH: No? Well, what do they do?

JC: They will refract the light. Just the angle of the light hitting these. They’re machined prisms, really. They’re like machined prisms—

PH: Oh, I see. This is like a chandelier taken apart.

JC: Somewhat. I mean, it’s much more extreme than that. The glass is much thicker and it’s very steep. You see this—

PH: You mean in this?

JC: Yeah. Those were those horizontal pieces.

PH: Uh-huh.

JC: There will be a light coating on here, but it takes the light and refracts that light all through the whole space. So we’re really setting up almost like optical systems; they’re really working like optical systems—

PH: It’s a sculpture. It’s a sculpture, isn’t it?

JC: Yeah, definitely. Well, that’s actually why we say it’s a sculpture. I mean, it has a body to it

PH: Well, it’s three-dimensional, automatically makes it sculpture in a sense, but, but—

JC: And then its interaction with the light, makes everything more dimensional.

PH: —and interaction with the light, where the light is changing, as you move around.

JC: The whole thing changes.

PH: Yeah.

JC: So that’s a very big distinction I think from what everyone else is working on. Everyone else is working I think in this plane, and we’re trying to deny that plane. We’re trying to expand that plane and turn it into something more.

PH: On this one, this one that is what, maybe two feet thick through—

JC: Almost two feet at the end there.

PH: Yeah.

JC: And then it tapers down to about 10 inches at the middle.

PH: Oh. And then goes back out again?

JC: [inaudible. JC and PH speaking simultaneously]

PH: Mm-hmm. This is a slow curve.

JC: A hundred and 50 feet from here to the other end—

PH: Uh-huh.

JC: —and it goes from two feet down to [inaudible. JC and PH speaking simultaneously]

PH: Uh-huh. And then up to two feet. Just to get it through my head—is it treated with metallic oxide or something?

JC: This will have a coating, but not like these that we’ve used on Ed’s window. Not those really intense coatings.

PH: Okay.

JC: [inaudible. JC and PH speaking simultaneously]

PH: But it will have a coating that does something—

JC: Right. [inaudible] This one, which is very clear, very transparent—

PH: Right.

JC: —but then watch what happens when you [inaudible].

PH: Yeah. Yeah.

JC: So at some angles, it’ll be very transparent—

PH: Has that a got a dichroic gizmo in the middle there?

JC: It’s a different type of coating, but it’s in that family, yeah. It’s a very high red reflection; it’s very red when you look at it at an angle.

PH: Yeah. And then it’s a blue—

JC: Very transparent. It’s very clear, almost no color in it, until you see it at least at [inaudible].

PH: Yeah.

JC: So there’s sort of like that quality, that sometimes you don’t see anything, and all of a sudden it appears. It disappears and it appears, really.

PH: Hmm. Hmm. Hmm.

JC: And then we work on all these things.

PH: But the appearance, that coppery color depends on the coating—

JC: —on the angle of the light.

PH: —the angle of the light, but the coating—

JC: —and on the [inaudible. JC and PH speaking simultaneously] too.

PH: —right? And then there’s a coating in there? Or a different color glass?

JC: Oh no, just one coating. Just one layer of metal oxide in there.

PH: On both sides?

JC: No, just one piece of glass.

PH: In there.

JC: Yeah.

PH: Yeah.

JC: And then it’s just been sandwiched to protect it.

PH: Huh. Fascinating.

JC: And then we developed this whole system. This is a whole method of attachment, you know, like the whole mechanical part of it. It’s something we’re developing right now, where the mechanical part that holds it all—it’s all flush to the surface of the glass. It all fits right inside the glass.

PH: Hmm.

JC: And therefore lets the edges be free, so the whole structure is right inside here.

PH: Yeah. Got it. Wish I’d come to you when I was trying to design a canvas stretcher—[JC laughs]. They did come up with a good one, you know, on all these—these metal ones, [inaudible] design after design trying to figure out how could you do it with a simple thing, without nails and wedges and all that kind of thing. How could you lock it together. They’re wonderful.

JC: Yeah.

PH: They’re just marvelous. The aluminum framing and so forth—

JC: Huh. So I think anyway that’s very different from what people—and I think that what we’re interested in. We’re not interested in stained glass, or even just glass. You know, we’re interested in light, and matter—and transparencies. I mean, transparencies and how you affect light, or how you bring form to light, really, is what it has to do. How do you bring from form to light, something which is invisible, how do you make it visible.

PH: Yeah. How do you bring form to light? That’s the key thing, really, isn’t it?

[. . . ]

PH: Tell me something about that one.

JC: The Maison du Japon? [Maison de la culture du Japon à Paris, Paris, France]

PH: The Maison de la Culture du Japon.

JC: Japon. Right. Small building, I’d say, well, six-story building in Paris. It’s right next to the Eiffel Tower. Or right down the river from the Eiffel Tower, in sight of it. And we are commissioned by the architects to work with them—

PH: Yamanaka Armstrong?

JC: —right. On developing how this building appears, really. I mean, how—what does this building look like from the outside, how does it interact with light, how are the walls structured. I mean the whole thing, how they’re structured, what they do, how it enlivens the façade, I mean, really, like define the exterior of the building.

PH: The curtain wall is outside, is it? I mean, it’s—

JC: It’s all the outside walls, right.

PH: Okay.But, they called you in on this thing to work with them. Or you convinced them that they wanted you.

JC: No, no, they called, and then they asked us to get involved in doing it, I mean, to help them on designing what the skin of this building, I mean, how—

PH: As a question of the potential viewer of this building, I’m standing out in the street, is any of this visible to me?

JC: Absolutely, yeah. In this case, yeah, absolutely, it will be very visible.

PH: It—it does what?

JC: I can show you the—

PH: I mean, it projects something, or—

JC: It’s gonna capture light. It’s gonna be a very rich surface, I mean, it’s gonna bring light. I’ll show it to you—

[pause for five seconds]

PH: Surface of this Maison de Culture catches light. Glass, of course, glass surface.

[recording breaks, then resumes mid-sentence]

JC: [inaudible] building. And then this is this new building right in here—

PH: Yeah.

JC: —this is Maison du Japon—

PH: Uh-huh.

JC: Here’s the Seine, the Seine goes right in there.

PH: So, it’s really sort of a slice of a pie, isn’t it?

JC: It’s the whole corner of a block. Here’s a photograph of one of the early study models.

PH: Mm-hmm.

JC: But—I don’t know, about 90 feet high, 85 or 90 feet high. And it’s 200 feet along this curve.

PH: Mmm.

JC: And we were sort of given this job—or commission anyway—we’ve been working with them on this, of doing all of the walls, the back wall, and all of the walls around the whole building.

PH: Mm-hmm.

JC: And what we’ve tried to do here is the building itself is contained in a smaller piece, and the outer wall of the building is out here. There’s actually a zone between the inside of the building and the actual outside of the building there. It’s like a large, 80, 90 foot-high atrium space—

PH: Hmm. Hmm.

JC: —and we’re gonna work with this wall and this wall together. The sun will come in over the top and down into this zone, and then we’re gonna work with glass materials and this façade, so that when the light comes in, it essentially has sort of a life to it on this wall. This is a north elevation, here, so it gets no direct light.

PH: Yeah. It’s all from the south—

JC: We’re gonna try to skid the light over the roof and then bring it down the inside edge of this wall, so that when you look at the building from the outside, what would normally be in shadow is actually very illuminated, very bright, very sort of active. You know, the light sort of spilling down, spilling down on the inside.

PH: Yeah, I got it. I love that skidding the light.

JC: Skid the light down over the edge—

PH: Yeah. That is a great—

JC: What we want to try to do is keep it relatively translucent, from the point of view of it’ll be very bright and active, but not much transparency, not—transparency in the sense that you can see through it. Then we’re just gonna set up clear windows here and clear windows so you get very specific views of, say, the Eiffel Tower, or you get very specific views across the river.

PH: Mm-hmm.

JS: So it’ll be just views, they’ll be framed—

PH: You mean there.

JC: No, no. Even in here, even in this part of the wall. This—there’ll be—

PH: This is just an early—

JC: Yeah, this is a very early model. Yeah, this is a model before these. And then there’ll be a clear section in there that corresponds to a clear section on the inner wall. So you look out, and you might look just at a very specific view and a very specific angle—

PH: Hmm. Hmm. Hmm.

JC: —at something.

PH: Fascinating.

JC: It is a pretty fascinating thing. And I can show you the other one.

PH: It’s nice. Such a weird shape.

[recording breaks, then resumes]

PH: They call it a cloister?

JC: Yeah, yeah. Mitterand’s cloister [a nickname for the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Paris, France].

PH: Yeah. Mitterand’s cloister.

JC: But it’s a typical cloister from the point of view when you’re in it. I mean, you’re only going to see these towers. You’re only going to see these. So you have a restricted view, right here. You only can see that.

PH: Yeah.

JC: And then you only see the rest of this area.

PH: The zone. What is that area, the rest of that area in the middle, what is it? Outside of the cloister?

JC: That’s all outside. It’s all trees, it’s all planted, it’s all trees.

PH: So a garden—

JC: A garden, right.

PH: Kind of a park.

JC: A park, right. But restricted to library use. I mean, here’s a top view of it here.

PH: Yeah. Yeah.

JC: And they’re not even certain people can go out there.

PH: Mm-hmm. Hmm. Fascinating. Because you’ve got such a big thing—wow.

JC: And then these are 30 story buildings.

PH: Yeah.

JC: And those are just book storage.

PH: Mm-hmm.

JC: There’s no people in there at all. It’s just books.

PH: Press a button and it comes down, stacks—

JC: Yeah, one of those things, totally. And then the library staff is right in these ground floors.

PH: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm.

JC: And then these lobbies—which is pretty difficult to see at this scale, but you see this lobby, this is the lobby for that tower. That’s also about a 80 to 90 foot high space, and we’re supposed to work on some things in there that actually catch the light and then project the light—sculptures, really, that bring the light down into that zone, sort of illuminate these lobbies.

PH: So, really, in a sense [inaudible; loud rumbling noise in background] verbally, you’re kind of receiving and disbursing. You’re handling light in a receiving way.

JC: Right.

PH: Almost as if you were receiving merchandise and sending it out—

JC: And then—and then re—

PH: And then—

JC: Altering it and re-projecting it.

PH: —putting it out into another function—

JC: —a different form, right.

PH: Huh.

JC: Yeah. That’s pretty good.

PH: You want me to publish the—[JC laughs] I can dream up a lot of stuff.

JC: But, yeah, we’re essentially just vehicles to transform the light. I mean, to make it do something else.

PH: Well, I think I got most of it now.

JC: So that’s, when you come back to your question about what’s the difference between this and stained glass, that’s a very big difference.

PH: That does it.

JC: You know, huge difference.

PH: That does it.

JC: I mean, the concern is not—the concern isn’t with this thing, you know, it’s not with the membrane as much as it is with what the product is. I mean, if we use your merchandise idea. I mean—

PH: Yeah.

JC: You’re sort of bringing in—something, and then you’re transforming it, into—into [inaudible]—

PH: And the membrane in the sense of—looking at the table on the edge, the membrane this way is just invisible.

JC: Right. Right.

PH: This doesn’t exist. You don’t think about it.

JC: Right. And then as soon as you start—

PH: It’s what it’s sending out—

JC: And sort of the way we were talking before, about focusing on this thing at different focal lengths, with all these different pieces of information here, you know, if you focus on different levels of it, of the glass, right, you’re either focusing on the building across the street and you can read the brick work in the surface of this table.

PH: Mm-hmm.

JC: Or you read the dirt on the table, or you read the texture here, or you read the light that you’re reading from below.

PH: Yeah.

JC: Only when you start allowing this thing to become freer, do you allow all this information to start—break it loose from this surface [inaudible] or you break it loose from this piece of material.

PH: Yeah. I wish you could break it loose from words like information.

JC: Right. Yeah.

PH: Because that ties me up instead of letting me loose—

JC: Right, right.

PH: —visually, when I—

JC: Right, right.

PH: —do I have—

JC: But it’s only information from the point,when you’re describing—I mean, all those things, they’re fragments of information.

PH: No, I know [inaudible. PH and JC speaking simultaneously]

JC: No, it’s visual complexity, really. It allows you to understand the complexity of things around us.

PH: You’re doing it as terminology. And what I’m trying to do is take terminology out of it.

JC: Right, right, right, right.

PH: Just leave the projection.

JC: The whole thing.

PH: The image.

JC: Right, right, right.

PH: I think I got it.

JC: Yeah? Do you think that’s—

PH: Yeah. I think I got it. You know, I think I understand it. Now—

JC: Anyway, these are two very good projects that we’re doing, right now

PH: Yeah. That’s an enormous space, isn’t it?

JC: It’s a huge project.

PH: And you say it really is a quarter of a mile long?

JC: Yeah. It’s one of the largest projects in the world today, actually. It is probably, I think the largest project.

PH: So this would be, what, 350 feet? This would be about 700 feet.

JC: This is 35 stories, times—so 35, 30 times 10 feet [inaudible. PH and JC speaking simultaneously]

PH: What’s the length of that, just for argument’s sake?

JC: 500 and something feet, I think it is? So it’s not quite a quarter of a mile, but it’s five—more than that, 600 and something feet.

PH: It must be about twice this.

JC: Right. Right.

PH: Cause you have 750 feet.

JC: That’s six to 700, right. Right.

PH: A little under 1,600 feet, you’ve got 5,280 to go. Four—four fifteenths is sixteen, right? That works out.

JC: So a little less than a quarter, or around a quarter.

PH: Yeah, yeah. Something on the order of—

JC: But the interesting thing is that these people come to us—like this architect came to us. You know, we didn’t go to them; they came to us, cause they want something—that’s sort of mysterious. I mean, something that’s going to really make people be fascinated forever, you know, with this wall. I mean, not just a glass wall that you look through the outside, but the wall itself has in part some sort of richness or enhancement, visual richness in the building—

PH: And they came to you, too.

JC: Right.

PH: Yeah.

JC: Right. For quite similar reasons, I mean, in terms of light. People seem to come to us—

PH: And this is part of what you were saying the other day, that in the last eight months, you’ve been—

JC: Starting to happen.

PH: Instead of having you chase—

JC: Right. Right. Right. I mean, there’s certainly stuff we go after, but I mean, these are two of our better projects, and they just sort of came in, you know, right now.

PH: Hmm. Are there any old ones that are—[sound of page flipping] cause I did things here, made notes here before. Oh, what was that thing about the pavilion in Seville?

JC: Oh. That was with Barton Myers.

PH: That’s for a show that’s coming up? Or what was that?

JC: Well, this architect, we did a little work on this, what, two years ago. This was done by an architect named Barton Myers. And the government didn’t fund the project until just this past January, and it’s supposed to be finished by next year.

PH: They’re supposed to have a fair there. Yeah.

JC: An exhibition by next year, yeah. They didn’t fund it until just this January, and we haven’t been involved again, and I don’t know if we will be or not.

PH: I was fascinated by the pavilions from years and years ago when they had it there.

JC: Oh, in Seville?

PH: Yeah. Seville. You’d drive around, and see all these wonderful buildings—the American building—

JC: Is that right?

PH: —and the Austrian building, and all that different stuff.

JC: From when—when would that be, like, in the ’20s, or?

PH: I forget. Yeah, it was some time in there. And some of them were very reactionary, some Swiss chalets, and— [sounds of traffic in the background]

JC: Right. Right. Right.

PH: —but interesting to see them because it’s such a nice town to lay out, parks that go out, and everything—

JC: Right. Right. Right.

PH: —we took a horse and buggy ride around—shown around the thing there.

JC: All those things?

PH: Hmm. [inaudible] see it again, I thought it was gonna be Barcelona.

JC: Which—which—it’s a much more beautiful city, right? Isn’t it, Seville? Isn’t it a real rich city that way? I mean, rich in terms of—

PH: Yeah, it’s quite nifty.

JC: —more Islamic and—

PH: It doesn’t  have that go-getter commercial—

JC: Right. Right.

PH: —sort of thing, but much better. I was very impressed with Barcelona too. Oh, dear. Any other questions—I do want just a little input on the experience with Steuben. I just put down there—I know you designed the double bowls, and I—

JC: Mm-hmm.

PH: —I’ve read that. And I understand that. They blew—you didn’t blow ’em—

JC: Right. Right. Under my direction.

PH: Yeah, under direction. I have the feeling that what they do is to get these people in and sort of, you know, milk ’em and then spit ’em out.

JC: [laughs] Well, I’m not sure that it’s intentionally that, but I think that they have a problem knowing how to market the ideas that they try to take in. They keep falling back on their animals, and sort of their given market, and I think they’ve been very unable to sort of re-think of themselves as a company. You know, they keep falling back on this tradition and not as sort of an innovative glass company—

PH: Yeah, oh boy.

JC: —bringing in really good designers and [inaudible. PH and JC speaking simultaneously]

PH: Oh boy, yeah. How have they done with your hearts?

JC: Oh, I think that’s been a runaway moneymaker.

PH: Yeah. And the bowls?

JC: The bowls—they actually only produced the complicated bowls just for about a year or two, by order. And I think they’ve produced one or two very simple bowls that I did, still today. But I think the hearts is really one of the few—few things—

PH: Didn’t you do one that was sort of like a derby hat? Had the bottom part and then the flange—

JC: Yeah, sort of that shape.

PH: Yeah.

JC: Sort of a double bowl thing, right? Right. There’s that, and then there were some that were, you know, doubled bowls, very thick bottom.

PH: Yeah.

JC: And this whole idea of the double thing has to do with the optical quality that you get out of the thick glass.

PH: Right.

JC: And then the thin sections.

PH: And the joining.

JC: Right.

PH: Do they blow them as two pieces?

JC: Mm-hmm. Yeah, yeah.

PH: They have two different blowers?

JC: Right, right. So I sort of brought them that technique.

PH: I figured they must have—that bubble in the middle—that very thick bubble in the middle.

JC: That’s from Venice. You know, I learned that in Venice, that whole technique.

PH: Hmm.

JC: I sort of went to them and then sort of taught them how to do it.

PH: Hmm. Hmm. Hmm. And then you give me that diagram.

JC: And then there were a bunch of the pieces, too, which were like the solid crystal ball, you know, spun out, you know, like in the middle of a big bowl, very thick. Very thick crystal ball. The whole bowl is opened up at the bottom and a crystal ball put up inside of it.

PH: Yeah. Right. Right. Like a baluster stem sort of thing.

JC: Right. But the bowl is an open bubble. This is not, you know, the bubble is opened, actually, with a hole at the bottom of it, and you actually put the ball inside it.

PH: Hmm.

JC: Cause the other way to produce that would be to stretch the bottom of the bowl over it—

PH: Mm-hmm.

JC: But this actually broke the bowl and then joined it to the—

PH: Hmm. How the hell did they do that? They blow the bubble into the—

JC: Yeah. You blow the bubble—

PH: —into the bottom of the bowl.

JC: You blow a bubble on the blowpipe, [from the intonations and cadence, it is probable that JC is drawing what he is describing] and you neck it down—

PH: Uh-huh.

JC: And break it off, so you actually have an open shape on the end of the blowpipe, right? And then steam it—steam it out, so it has more shape to it. And then on the separate blowpipe the guys made a bubble with an air trap in it, a solid ball—that’s a solid—really, a solid ball, and that’s then just inserted right up inside there. And then it’s broken off the blowpipe, and it’s left on this pipe for opening, and then you shape it.

PH: Right.

JC: I have one upstairs—

PH: Hmm.

JC: It’s this same bowl.

PH: [inaudible]

JC: It’s a beautiful thing, but again it’s something that other people have sort of picked up on—

PH: Yeah.

JC: It’s quite a beautiful technique.

PH: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

JC: So all of the work I did at Steuben was really about technique. I mean, trying to work with some other techniques in a way. [sound of phone ringing in background] And the heart was about that, too. But the heart was like an extrusion, you know, you made a rod [probable that JC is drawing again]—a rod that was sort of that shape—just a continuous rod this shape. And then every time you slice that rod at a 30-degree angle, all of a sudden that rod makes—

PH: Oh.

JC: —a heart. So every time you cut it, you’re getting two pieces. You get two hearts out of—every time you cut this rod, if you cut it again here, you know, if you’re looking at it in plan, if you cut the rod there and there, and if you cut this at a 30-degree angle through there, this actually produces—this actually produced a heart, it was actually sort of that shape, when you cut through that rod—

PH: Yeah. Yeah.

JC: —eventually. So every time—so it’s just a process for efficiency, right.

PH: Cost reduction.

JC: Right. Definitely. It was geared to that. Yeah, yeah. I mean, how—but they couldn’t figure out how to do it.

PH: Yeah, that’s wonderful.

JC: So that’s where that came from. And then they’ve since done other projects like this.

PH: You listen to this part about the two hearts in three-quarter time, here.

JC: [laughs] Anyway—

PH: Three-quarter time and a half.

JC: [laughs] Three-quarter time and half. So all the work I did with Steuben was about processes, really—

PH: And what about the decade since?

JC: What have they done, you mean?

PH: No, you.

JC: Oh, I haven’t done much glass at all. I did a couple things for Venini, which you knew. Like these—

PH: Yeah.

JC: —these things.  I have not done much other than that, really.

PH: But in terms of this—here—

JC: Oh, yeah. No, we’re totally focused on this work, yeah. Entirely.

PH: Since about what—’80?

JC: Well I’ve been trying to do this since about ’77, ’78. I mean, I sort of knew this was what I wanted to do. And I couldn’t quite figure out how it would happen.

PH: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

JC: I started doing some designing, I made some money, and just tried to keep pushing this direction.

PH: Hmm.

JC: Now it’s sort of taking shape.

PH: And you teach there in the Royal College [Royal College of Art, London, United Kingdom]—

JC: Teach over there, a little bit. Right. Teach there still.

PH: Yeah.

JC: Visiting lecturer.

PH: Yeah. Okay.

JC: But it’s been a long haul.

PH:  Oh God, I know.

JC: I mean, the problem is this isn’t making objects that are sold in a gallery. This is like a whole commitment. You know, if somebody hires us, it’s a couple-million-dollar commitment. And they need to stay with it, and that’s why a lot of these projects happen, or they don’t happen. I mean, money is—when they’re big projects, some happen and some don’t happen.

[recording stops then resumes]

PH: [speaks into recorder regarding information lost when tape stopped] Jamie was talking about Corning have done some circuitry—kind of circuit board glass back in the fifties, and he got some—they discontinued the thing, and he’d gotten some samples of it and was fooling around with it. That’s a wonderful one, isn’t it?

JC: Hmm.

PH: It’s quite lovely.

JC: I tried to get Steuben to put these things in their glass so that you could do a decorative process or a process in Steuben glass that was not etching and engraving and traditional techniques, but it might open up a whole, very unique to them, way of putting images—imagery in—in their blown glass pieces. You’d essentially blow a glass bowl or something, and then produce a whole—whatever you wanted, you know, in the glass.

PH: Yeah.

JC: Which would have been quite extraordinary.

PH: Instead of starting to engrave it out, or—

JC: Use trad—you know, which is fine, the traditional end of it, but it might have opened up another whole thing. And this is Steuben glass, with different chemicals added to it.

PH: Hmm.

JC: And you could actually produce Steuben glass—it’d be water clear and be the regular Steuben glass, but if you treated it with x-ray radiation—this is all done with ultraviolet light—

PH: Mm-hmm.

JC: —very intense ultraviolet light. This is done with x-ray. You could then actually put pattern in the glass, just with x-ray. You could make a bowl, mask it off in lead, and then project, you know, x-ray into it, and you can produce patterns right in the glass.

PH: But the—in terms of the regular Steuben line, the customer would say ‘Well, it’s got too many bubbles, and it’s not clear, and’—

JC: Oh, well that’s just a test.

PH: —all that kind of thing.

JC: I mean, you could get a perfectly clear—it could have just been melted perfectly in the regular Steuben batch. This is just a test melt.

PH: Mm-hmm.

JC: To prove that you could add these chemicals—

PH: Mm-hmm.

JC: —to Steuben glass that still maintains its clarity as it always—so this would have opened up another whole technical development within blown glass that nobody’s even touched on yet. —

PH: Hmm. Hmm.

JC: Yeah.

PH: It would be fascinating. You know, I don’t know if you’re still interested in that kind of thing, because you’ve sort of passed beyond it into architecture, which is, in a sense the greatest—or is often said to be the greatest of all the arts—

JC: Mm-hmm. Right.

PH: Man’s greatest buildings—

JC: Maybe. [laughs]

PH: Right? [JC laughs] Right? No, I mean it is. It’s more than painting, or more than sculpture, which are rather dwarfed by it. I mean it’s the most permanent, obvious, visible thing.

JC: [inaudible] But I mean this—I mean, of course it’d be interesting to re-do this, you know?

PH:  But wouldn’t it be? I mean, if you could get some place like even Blenko or some place to—

JC: Oh no, it would have to be someone like Corning, or—

PH: More sophisticated—

JC: [inaudible] or somewhere that really has the capability, technically of doing that. I sort of saw that you could almost transform the whole idea of functional glass, like this. I mean, it could become something completely different.

PH: The x-ray does that somehow?

JC: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. It’s just a beam of x-ray going through the glass, and it changes the color.

PH: To more than red? And blue? I mean, it just—

JC: It can be all red, it could be all blue. Those are just the only two colors there, or this was the other—that was the other glass. That’s also photosensitive—

PH: Oh. Yeah.

JC: That’s all clear. That was a clear piece of glass, and this is just five seconds of exposure, 10, 15, 20, 25 seconds of exposure to ultraviolet light. And you can produce the whole color spectrum—

PH: God. That’s wonder—I can see you going back to stained glass [inaudible] instant.

JC: Well, this, but I mean, this would have been amazing—

PH: No, isn’t it wonderful.

JC: But technically you could have done it. But it would have taken a commitment to do it. And this actually, you probably know some pieces. Historically there are some pieces of glass—this is actually where I started thinking about—

PH: [inaudible] showed me some. He was using for TV—for color TV in some way. About the size of a cigarette package.

JC: Possibly. But there’s even some stuff that—this is for 19th-century or 18th-century glass, which has gold and silver in the composition, and when they reheated the glass, you know, like went back in and struck it, you’d get changing bands of color up in here. I don’t know what the specific name of this is, but I’ve seen it—

PH: Called a pousse-café, that’s what it’s called.

JC: Huh? [laughs]

PH: Called a pousse-café.

JC: No. Huh?

PH: Have you ever seen one?

JC: No, no. But this would be pink, like a darker pink, and a less pink, and then almost comes back to clear, would be all clear down here.

PH: Uh-huh. That’s part of the striking process.

JC: Striking it, right.

PH: Yeah. And then [inaudible] surface—

JC: It’s a similar phenomenon, but this is like taking it to another level of—

PH: With exposure with x-rays. It’s wonderful.

JC: Yeah, this is ultraviolet.

PH: What does it do after the red? Does it go into the red-orange?

JC: No, this is ultraviolet. No, this just keeps going, it’d go, like, you know, sort of this one’s lavender, red, orange, yellow, and then—

PH: Oh, does it go into the red-orange?

JC: —sort of this one’s lavender, red, orange, yellow, and then—

PH: Rainbow.

JC: —red-yellow, yellow, then green. Yeah. Goes through the whole spectrum.

PH: Exposure to ultraviolet rays, is that it?

JC: [Inaudible] draw very intense ultraviolet light, yeah. As is this. This is all ultraviolet exposure, too. It triggers a growth in the glass, a crystalline growth.

PH: Marvelous.

JC: I mean, this is like another whole world.

PH: Hmm.

JC: You know, this is actually what I was trying to do at Steuben, was to get them to realize that you could do all of this. All of a sudden you’d have something that no one else in the world would be able to touch, technically.

PH: But since the Steuben thing until recently, you’ve been really struggling to get [inaudible. PH and JC speaking simultaneously]

JC: Well, I tried and tried to get them to do it. And I got very frustrated. I just realized I had to do it on my own. If I wanted to ever do it.

PH: Hmm. Hmm. How long have you had this place here?

JC: The studio? Or this—doing what we’re doing?

PH: Hmm. Well, both.

JC: Doing what we’re doing, since about ’78 or nine.

PH: Really?

JC: Right. And doing this—

PH: In the other space?

JC: No, in the other space, we’ve been here six years.

PH: Hmm.

JC: And I was on Green Street for two years. And I was downtown for five years.

PH: Oh, that’s right. I remember that.

JC: On [inaudible; PH and JC speaking simultaneously] West Street, right? Yeah.

PH: I went there.

JC: Right. Right.

PH: Yeah. I remember. You showed me your—

JC: So since about ’79—But at that point I was sort of trying to do design—that type of designing and tried to do this architectural work.

PH: So this is the last, really, decade—

JC: Yeah. It was just starting to happen. Well, actually I’d say it’s just starting now. Just—just the beginning, actually.

PH: Yeah, but, for a decade, which would be, what ’81—

JC: Right.

PH: You’ve decided that you’re gonna do this kind of thing, and you’ve been knocking your head against that.

JC: To do it, right.

PH: To do it.

JC: Right. And then each one of them you learn more about.

PH: Along with the teaching and the other—

JC: Right, right, right.

PH: —small [inaudible] in the beginning.

JC: Exactly, right. Yeah. So that’s been a struggle. And then when I look back at doing, you know, all the stuff with Dale [Chihuly], you know, that’s another whole life, right? Doing that stuff with Dale, doing sort of the botanical work, doing these film projects—

PH: Hmm.

JC: —and then, you know, it’s sort of like all of a sudden sort of trying to—this seems to be making more sense.

PH: Hmm. Hmm. Hmm. Oh, I know.

JC: So it hasn’t been what you’d call a linear progression. [laughs]

PH: [inaudible] constant reincarnation.

JC: [laughs] Right. Right.

PH: Alright.

JC: And then I should say, I mean, it’s really, you know, we work as a group. We’ve got five or six of us here, you know that work with me. People work with me, and we really work collaboratively on projects.

PH: Yeah. Yeah.

JC: So I don’t know if it’s a possibility here, but I’d like to actually sort of mention those people at some point. I mean, who’s in the studio—

PH: Yeah. Give me the—

JC: Here they are. This is it.

PH: Okay.

JC: So I always try to be more conscious of mentioning them, because all these projects take a lot of effort on everybody’s part—

PH: Group effort.

JC: Right, right.

PH: So there’s four, you’ve got.

JC: Four architects who work here for me, yeah.

PH: There, they’ve got architectural—

JC: They’re all architectural positions.

PH: You are the [inaudible] genius with the [inaudible].

JC: [laughs] Not really, no, no. We sort of try to combine efforts here.

PH: [inaudible] It’s kinda nice, being off in a—must be terribly exasperating to be in side pockets in the other—in the other [inaudible].

JC: Well, no, it’s definitely another whole thing.

PH: Hmm. Hmm.

JC: Completely different.

PH: Hmm.

JC: And I think in the end it’ll be a much more substantial actually thing, that comes out of it, but—

PH: But you—it’s like a—a choreographer, or somebody who does the choreography and the scenery for the musical or the opera, or whatever, and you’re not a dancer.

JC: Right, right, right.

PH: They’re the dancers.

JC: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm.

PH: They can’t do it without the opus.

JC: With a backdrop—

PH: The direction—

JC: —and all that sort of other—

PH: Direction.

JC: Right. Right. Right.

PH: [inaudible] putting the entire thing together. Mary [Barnes] took me into—introduced me to absolutely everybody in that office.

JC: [laughs] Wasn’t that nice?

PH: [inaudible]

JC: Did you meet Bevington? Alistair Bevington?

PH: All of them. Oh, yes.

JC: Did you meet him, with the ponytail [inaudible].

PH: He showed me—

JC: He does know a lot about glass. He knows quite a bit about glass. Stained glass. He used to make stained glass.

PH: He showed me a series of projects, four houses—twelfth-century houses he owns in—

JC: Oh, owns.

PH: In [inaudible].

JC: Did he have slides of those?

PH: He did. Yeah. He showed the whole thing. Everything, the construction of them, and what they’ve done to them, and all that kind of thing.

[. . .]

JC: He’s a character. He was actually very good friends with Robert Sowers.

PH: Oh, really?

JC: Mm-hmm.

PH: Yeah.

JC: Actually one of his few friends, I think.

PH: I liked Sowers—

JC: —close friends.

PH: but I didn’t—only talked to him on the phone, I never met him, but I thought he had—

JC: Mm-hmm.

PH: —more going for him than some of them. Decorative stuff.

JC: Are you still writing—are you still writing things on the blown glass? Things, occasionally, for the [New York] Times, or any of that, or—

PH: Oh, I write for—well, I’m—I’m toying with the idea of doing—kind of putting together a Howard Ben Tré thing for that show at Cowles [Charles Cowles Gallery, New York, New York].

JC: Mm-hmm.

PH: In April. I might try that.

JC: Right.

PH: [inaudible whispering] … so forth. And then, she’ll come over, will she? [inaudible. PH and JC speaking simultaneously]

JC: I think they will, yeah. I—I did, yeah, and I said they’d just sort of wait and sort of, after this is all together then we’ll—

PH: —come over and see what she wants and [inaudible. PH and JC speaking simultaneously]

JC: —and then we can all look at photos—

PH: —and I said I understand that—I think you’ve got some marvelous stuff that really should be on the cover. And [inaudible] as well there is a possibility of the cover. [inaudible] there is a distinct possibility. I think they just don’t want to be thrown into it.

JC: Right away. Right. Right.

Unknown Person (UP): [inaudible]

JC: Here it is. [laughs] Well let them come to that conclusion themselves, I guess right?

PH: Yeah, yeah. That’s right. So—

JC: But I think it would be good if they came down and we could just pull out some photos, and we could all look at them and see what seems to illustrate things the best.

PH: Mm-hmm. We’ll I’m happy. I think I can—

JC: And she [probably referring to Lois Moran] said it’s June, actually. June issue.

PH: Did she?

JC: Hmm.

PH: Alright. We’ll be in Scandinavia, so [JC laughs] there’ll be no discussion [inaudible].

JC: [laughs] One of those little Russian submarines [inaudible].

PH: Yeah, yeah. Well, that’s happened before.

[recording ends]