Bengt Hokanson and Trevney Dix live in a part of the Hamptons that might more properly be called the Un-Hamptons. Pine forests crowd their home. There is no beach or jitney in sight. Sag Harbor is about three miles down the road, but it might also be a hundred. All things considered, this is the perfect place for this kind of art.
Next to the house where Hukanson grew up is the so-called “hot shop” where temperatures in the Big Bang furnace and “annealing” can reach 2,100 degrees Celsius. Next to that is another kiln called the “glory hole,” where shapeless blocks of glass sit before being pushed, pulled, spun or blown into fanciful shapes.
One recent day, these furnaces were cold, awaiting the arrival of an important part replacement. But it’s easy to imagine a typical afternoon here – an industrial-era factory located right outside of Dickens, with enough heat to liquefy metal or glass.
“You either love it or you hate it,” Hokkanson says of glassblowing. This is easy enough to imagine why, too.
Some of their work is on display in the exhibition “Fire and Shape: New Directions in Glass” at the Long Island Museum in Stony Brook until December 19, along with two other distinguished glassblowers – Andy Stenerson of Amagansett and Marianne Weil of Directing.
“There aren’t many glassblowers on Long Island, but there are definitely more and more artists working with glass,” says Joshua Ruff, the museum’s director of collections and interpretation. “These four have a well-established working group.”
Get it right
Glassblowing is a complex and expensive compound that is extremely difficult to debug, and is easy to commit. Along with a handful of other glassblowers here, Hokanson and Dix accomplished the first.
A married couple with two teenage children (Asha and Cassius, who aren’t particularly interested in glassblowing yet, Dix says), they’ve both been in this place since meeting as students in New Orleans in the early 1990s, when Hokanson was studying archeology.
Late last summer, the Long Island Museum held an exhibition, also running through December 19, dedicated to Louis Comfort Tiffany’s famous stained glass windows. Ruf figured it out because so many people are “connected” [Tiffany] With art, we decided to build an exhibition that showed a lot of different aspects of the art of glassmaking. “
Glassblowing is really hot — pun unabashedly — while there’s an ongoing popular series on Netflix, “Blown Away” as proof of that. But the real event was a long time ago in Seattle, where Dale Chihuly is based — along with museums, hot shops, and the Pilchuck Glass School dedicated to his work. Some Chihuly-inspired works have gained fame because they are so fanciful, with their soaring meandering references to tall glass towers like buildings. By contrast, the Long Island Museum exhibit is the microcosm of that. On a small but equally exotic scale, there are about 50 works on display, nearly a third by these fine folks on Long Island.
color and themes
The many pieces drawn by Dix and Hokanson found here tend to be more commonly associated with art glass in the popular imagination: delicately curved vessels decorated with or hovering with ‘moren’ chromatic patterns. (Based on a technology dating back 4,000 years, ‘murines’ are layers of color used to create patterns in glass.)
Some of Stenerson’s pieces are called “rondelles,” or circles of glass sculptures, that are meant to be placed in windows so that natural light can pass through. Hanging from the nearby ceiling are a pair of Stenerson lamps designed to resemble lobster pots. (Nautical themes are big with local artists: Bohanson and Dix incorporate different styles meant to evoke the sails in some pieces.)
Then there’s Will’s cut. This includes a pair of solid blocks of glass, wedged into copper wire, both of which seem to show their own light source – different shades of blue and green that emit from the depths.
“The thing to know about Marianne, and everyone in this show really, except for one – Deborah Czyrescu.” [winner of the first season of “Blown Away”] —Did they all start out as something else early on,” says Ruf. Will was a sculptor, he says, and she started incorporating glass into her work about 15 years ago.
Incidentally, so was Dix. “I had no interest in glass when I was a student sculptor,” says Dix, who studied art at Indiana University. “But when I started working in the studio where they were pouring glass, I saw a lot of similarities [with sculpture] Glass was more interesting in terms of its susceptibility to color and how it can change shape. “
Hokanson and Dix started their first studio in Greenport, then moved that—lock, stock and cylinder—to North Carolina and later to Durango, Colorado, before moving home in 2013.
“When we went back, everything changed [but] We also realized how important it is to be a Long Islander. …we totally underestimated it.”
what or what “Fire and Shape: New Trends in Glass”
when | where Until December 19, noon – evening Thursday through Sunday, Long Island Museum, 1200 GMT. 25A, Stony Brook
informations $10, $7 for age 62 and older, $5 for age 6-17, college students with ID, free for ages 5 or younger; 631-751-0066. longislandmuseum.org