Rene Culler  
About the Artist

Cleveland Courses

National Courses

International Courses


Critic's Comments about Rene Culler

Journal Publications

Periodical Publications

Rene Culler's Articles including
the subjects of teaching and travel

Art Work in Books


Design Career

Teaching Career

Conference Participation and Travel


Published Articles




Rene Culler's Articles including the Subjects of Teaching and Travel


Philippa Beveridge and Anna Marco: Dialogues in Glass, Glass Magazine: the UrbanGlass Quarterly. number 85, Winter 2001. page 56.

Sketches of Spain, Glass Magazine: the UrbanGlass Quarterly. number 83, Summer 2001. pages 54-55.

The First Hispanic Conference on the History of Glass: Barcelona, Spain, GAS News: The Newsletter of the Glass Art Society, volume 12, issue 2, March-April, 2001. page 9, photos.

Modernism: A Celebration of Glass and Mosaics, GlasHaus: Internationales Magazin fur Studioglas, 1/2002, page 16, 17.


Color Cloud, Celebration of the Spirit: Outdoor Art at Lakeview Cemetery, 2001, pages 32-33, photos.

Journal Articles

The Poetic Grail As Glass, 1 Jornades Hispaniques d'Historia del Vidre. Monographies . Barcelona: Museu d'Arqueologia de Catalunya, 249-261, photos

Kiln-Transformed Glass: A Unique Sculptural Method, The Glass Art Society, 2001 Journal. pages 124-127, photos.

There are numerous newspaper reviews and mentions, regarding the work of Rene Culler, please see the Critics Comments page.

Dialegs en Vidre- Dialogues in Glass
Review of show-published in Glass Magazine: The UrbanGlass Quarterly, Winter 2001, number 85

Museu d'Arqueologia de Catalunya, Passeig Santa Madrona, 39-41, 08038 Barcelona, Spain, June 26th- September 15, 2001

"Dialogues in Glass" linked ancient artifacts of the collection, to contemporary provocative work created in various glass forming methods. The exhibition featured the lyrical work of Philippa Beveridge and Anna Marco. The new objects and installations created for the exhibition revealed imagination and refinement. An extremely successful dialogue between the past, the present, and between the two sculptors was evident.

The featured work of contemporary artists, both female, provided an interesting dichotomy installed in conjunction with ancient objects surely crafted in the past by men. Ancient objects, were generally small, delicate, and always functional. The new work was bold, considerably larger, and weighty both in substance and in meaning. Beveridge and Marcos responded to the objects and relied on function as metaphor.

Beveridge concentrated on two forms; the pomegranate and the pillow- both sensuous organic forms. Beveridge is concerned with the passage of time, and the record of disintegration evident in the corruptible flesh of the fruit. The floor installation, "perque en el record no hi ha distances" (because in remembrance there are no distances) was inspired by cinerary urns which stored small flasks containing the tears of mourners. Beveridge chose to transform the container into a hollow symbol of sleep, a landscape of glass cloud-like pillows. The variety of the forms with their subtly printed words and phrases whispered suggestions. The pillows floated on a sea of salt, the residue of tears. Nine pillows represented the children of Saturn, and the tenth, the father who devoured his own. While in Spain, one cannot help but think of Goya's treatment of Saturn. Beveridge is sympathetic as she links classic painting with mythology in a manner that is new and understandable to contemporary viewers.

Marcos cast glass forms were certainly based on the feminine sex, the opening to a dark nether world. With Marcos the cast glass negated the ancient mysterious aura of femininity in its illuminated, transparent and water white appearance. Her forms were that of a modern day chaste Madonna exposed for the world to see. This was evident in the openings of the wall mounted works, which ripple into much revealed interior spaces. "Infinito" becomes more sensuous in its smooth abstraction of simplified minimalist form. Instead of emptiness there is a subtle drawing within the solid glass. It is a satisfying object which beckons to be caressed.

An encounter with an ancient glass object is a magical moment. The distant past is confronted and made relevant through the appreciation of an object which possesses both beauty and grace. The sensitivity of the artists, Philippa Beveridge and Anna Marco enhanced this moment, as their dialogue delivered a significant energy to the work, both old and new.

Modernism: a Celebration of Glass and Mosaics, a Course Review

Modernism: a Celebration of Glass and Mosaics, a Course Review, Published in GlasHaus, 1/2002 Germany

Travel engages the senses, and that describes the intensive course, "Modernism: A Celebration of Glass and Mosaic", an inspired immersion into the art and culture of Barcelona, with instruction in glass and mosaic technique. Held at the spacious Fundacio Centre del Vidre, in August of 2001, the course set out to combine the use of the city of Barcelona as an outdoor classroom; for visitation of historical sights featuring the beauty of the architectural skin of mosaic, with exploration of a wide breadth of glass techniques at the Glass Centre.

Each day began with relevant slide shows in the well appointed library, followed by technical demonstrations and studio work time. Students were instructed in glass technique which included sandblasting, glass enameling, fusing and pate de verre.

A daily break for a traditional three course mid-day meal at a local restaurant allowed everyone to recharge their batteries (no time for siestas!) All returned to the Centre ready for additional studio work before setting off on one of the many well planned, and thought provoking excursions. These ranged from walking tours of the Gothic Quarter to the close-up viewing of Brian Clarke's spectacular contemporary stained glass windows in La Plaça Catalunya. All sites reflected the interesting dichotomy between the medieval and the contemporary. There were, of course, numerous excursions to visit the wonderful, well-preserved works of Catalonia's famous Modernist architects, Gaudí and Domènech i Montaner, plus museum visits to view works of the Catalan artists Picasso, Miró and Tapiés.

Participants could smell the sea breezes as well as the paella , of which many sampled, on the special day spent touring lovely Sitges. This medieval Mediterranean coastal town just south of Barcelona, hosts several museums that celebrate Catalonian culture and art.

Fun was essential; an amazing evening at the old style dance hall, La Paloma provided the backdrop for midnight dancing and listening enjoyment to the Latin beat of a live 10 piece band. A Cuban diva dressed in a magenta and black-ruffled gown, completed the effect with her sexy ballads performed in the red velvet and crystal-appointed ballroom. It is no wonder that class began later the next day!

And to what end was this total immersion into Modernism, the Spanish version of Art Nouveau? The making of creative studio work was the aim. The students used their newly acquired wealth of technical information, together with the inspiration provided by the excursions, for the hands- on satisfaction of creating two finished works; a glass mosaic and a small fused glass collage. Instruction given in mosaic featured the double reverse method along with tips for the use of directly applied tessarea and the Catalan- trencadis. These unique mosaic projects incorporated many of the techniques demonstrated; special fused multicolored and mettalic tessarae, sandblasted tiles, found objects and pate de verre bas reliefs for a focal point.

The highly successful projects were accomplished by all the participants. Although their sources of inspiration and techniques used were the same, the finished compositions presented a wonderful range of personal styles. Everyone left the experience with loads of information, a beautiful mosaic, new friends and a great love for Barcelona, Spain.

International Glass Making in Turkey

I marvel at how the world has changed. Today, I e-mail friends in the glass world; responses arrive from Seattle, Barcelona, and Turkey, appearing almost instantly and I usually think nothing of this. A decade ago, international communication would have meant a trek to the post office. It is easy to keep in touch in our small world. It is also easy to find a way to remain apart, as our politicians erect ever-enclosing fences in what is becoming a xenophobic country. We hear the day's security color warning, as we wonder what those colors mean, as if we are all supposed to remember or care. Let's live life.

Last summer I taught at the Glass Furnace near Istanbul, Turkey. It was a great experience and I am delighted that I have been invited to return this summer of '04. Unfortunately, in '03,the enrollment was low, due to the war and the close proximity to Iraq - the two main reasons why people stayed away.

Upon leaving the airport in Istanbul, for the journey to the school, I felt a bit surprised and uneasy when I encountered a city skyline filled with minarets rather than the omnipresent European cathedral steeples. It was upsetting to realize how conditioned I had become thanks to incessant war reports. The uneasiness soon passed as I arrived at the Glass Furnace and was welcomed with open arms and many kisses.

While we all can communicate through the ether, there is nothing to compare with real travel. As humans, we recognize similarities, but we should also recognize, enjoy and celebrate cultural differences. What was immediately apparent to me was the hospitality and politeness of the Turkish people. The founder of the Glass Furnace, Yilmaz Yalcinkaya, is a big teddy bear, always concerned, and exhibiting generosity without bounds. He seems to live and breathe the school and his dream for an international celebration of glass in his home country.

The school is situated outside of Istanbul, and it is definitely modern and posh by school standards. You can bring your DVD's for outdoor movies on a large screen in the Agora when the sun goes down. And of course there is the very nice swimming pool…I was happy for the tasty vegetarian meals, the weekly outdoor Saturday barbeque made me begin to reconsider the meatless menu. The countryside is rolling and mountainous. It is a peaceful place especially when one walks down by the river to relax or read. I enjoyed the sound of the cowbells as those "girls" filed along the other bank on their way home for the evening.

As workshops go, the fee is extremely reasonable, and the classes are happily mixed with Turkish students and other international glass lovers. Yilmaz is hoping to create a world microcosm on the Glass Furnace campus and we should all hope that he succeeds. A visit to the website, illustrates the importance of sharing glass, art and culture.

Everyone journeys to Istanbul at least once during the term of the workshop. It is truly a lovely place. The historic sites; the incredible architecture of Haigha Sofia, and the Blue Mosque are separated by a lovely garden. The Topkapi Palace of the Sultan is located in close proximity, as is the popular ancient Cistern and the Archeological and Mosaic museums. The palace and Mosque are covered in beautiful Iznik ceramic tile from the height of Moorish tile production. Nearby is a view of the Straits of Bosphorus, and the Golden Horn. From the high ground one contemplates the sea and the many ferries that take citizens and travelers from Europe to Asia and back again. A short cab ride gets you to the Grand Bazaar, where you must make a purchase and sample the obligatory tea. Happily, Turkey is not a "dry' country; Try the national drink: Reki. Istanbul has more than carpets and kilims; restaurants offering local mezzes and nightlife are available especially in the Takim region.

I have designed my '04 fusing course around the objects of the Treasury of the Topkapi for inspiration. I noticed that last year, students wanted very deeply to process their experiences into meaningful work. The school is a wonderful place to recharge, relax, and recognize the beauty in a very misunderstood Moslem culture. There is always a "graduation" of sorts with a performance, and many Turkish people arrive to see what the students have created. Luckily for us, a Dervish whirled inside the hot shop as his double was created in glass for the performance, Don't blow war winds, blow glass.

Michael Rodgers, out going president of G.A.S., Dervish creator, and my colleague at the Glass Furnace, describes his experience: "I would encourage everyone to attend courses at the Furnace in Turkey. Everyone at the Furnace was helpful and friendly. I enjoyed the time spent with students, staff and other instructors. It would be impossible not to be inspired after a visit to Istanbul, and it is wonderful to be able to get directly in the Furnace studios after such a visit to create some reaction to it all. It was really a remarkable experience that will never be forgotten and that will take years for me to assimilate."

Instructors are rewarded with a gracious week's residency to create. They are asked to donate a work of art from the residency to the school, to be housed in the Glass Museum that will become part of the campus. At this time, many wonderful works are displayed within the halls of the school, and/or the grounds. The art provides a resource for students as well as records of pleasant memories. The Glass Furnace is a very special place to look and learn. Should you choose to attend, it will be one of the most important experiences of your life.

- Rene Culler February 1, 2004

Rene Culler