Winter Speaker Series: Toots Zynsky

Due to snow, this event will begin at 3pm.

March 2, 2019 3:00 pm Griswold House

"The Endangered Birds Series"

“She is one of a small, core group of pioneering artists who made contemporary glass a worldwide phenomenon, and her distinctive kiln-formed vessels enjoy widespread popularity for their often magnificent, and always unique, explorations in color.”

Tina Oldknow, former curator of modern glass at the Corning Museum of Glass

Toots Zynsky is known internationally as one of the most innovative voices in the American Studio Glass Movement. In 1971, she assisted Dale Chihuly and others in the founding and early development of Pilchuck Glass School, and later, the second New York Experimental Glass Workshop, now UrbanGlass. While living in Europe from 1983-1999, she developed her renowned and unique “filet-de-verre” technique. Equal parts artist, scientist, visionary and pioneer, Toots Zynsky has helped establish a place in the fine art world for contemporary glass.

In June 2018 Zynsky introduced a new series of work titled “Endangered Species”, which highlights the peril birds face from human impacts, including unchecked climate change. The works in this new series are inspired by birds from every continent around the world already at high risk of extinction. Join us for an inspiring lecture on her long career, studio processes, and how she is inspired to use her work as an agent for change.

Each lecture will be followed by audience Q&A, and continued conversation in the galleries over  hot tea, coffee, and scrumptious light fare and desserts, courtesy of Blenheim-Newport, a Benchmark Senior Living Community.


Toots Zynsky, Cinnamon-headed Green Dove, 2018 (Southeast Asia), 11 x 25 x 8 7/8 inches, Filet-de-Verre (fused and thermoformed color glass threads) Courtesy: Heller Gallery, New York, NY

Toots Zynsky received her BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1973.  From 1971 to 1973 she assisted in the founding and early development of Pilchuck Glass School. From 1980 to 1983, she was a key participant in the rebuilding and development of the second New York Experimental Glass Workshop, now UrbanGlass. While living in Europe from 1983-1999 Zynsky collaborated with Mathijs Teunissen Van Manen to create a glass thread-pulling machine. During these years, she developed her unique filet de verre technique. Her lifelong love of music led her to West Africa from 1984-85 on a highly specialized music recording project.

Among other awards, she has been a recipient of two National Endowment for the Arts grants and the Pell Award for Excellence in the Arts in 2006, and the 2015 Smithsonian Institute Visionary Award. Zynsky was selected to be the 2016 artist to participate in Corning Inc. and the Corning Museum of Glass’ prestigious Specialty Glass Residency program which gave her the opportunity to spend time spanning from January to June of 2016 at Corning Inc.’s research facility. There she experimented with Corning’s uniquely formulated glass materials while collaborating with its scientists using highly specialized materials, machinery and equipment.

Zynsky’s work is represented in museums and private collections around the world.

Thank you to our generous sponsors

Ronald Lee Fleming
Fleming Family Foundation

Lee C. Bakalarski
Lockett Ford Ballard, Jr., in memory of Canon Lockett Ford Ballard & Charlotte Carr Morrinson Ballard
Johanna and Ronald Becker
Anita and George Furbish
Mary Jennings
Cynthia Sinclair
Kathleen Shinners
The Hope Foundation

This event is made possible by your support of the Annual Fund.

Thank you to the Winter Speaker Series Committee

Dick Hunt, Chairman
Burt Alpert
Bruce Amand
Johanna Becker
Eleanor Doumato
Jack Galvin
Anne DeBose Joslin
Susan Kieronski
Cristin Searles-Bilodeau
Kathleen Shinners