“Art” glass is defined as glass that goes beyond the mere functional form of an object. The artist or designer adds to the utility of the piece an expression of artistic vision, creating an “art glass” object.
When art glass lovers and professional and novice antiques collectors from all over the region flock to Chattanooga each February to shop at and hear from glass experts, they are treated to a three-day Antiques Show & Sale at Stratton Hall, 3146 Broad St., and hosted by the Houston Museum, a boutique museum nestled in the heart of the Bluff View Arts District.
Featured at the 2018 show is Tom Jiamachello, an expert on American-made art glass circa 1883-1963. His topic will be the 1883-1887 Phoenix Glass Company line called “Webb Art Glass,” which an array of shapes and colors of colorful Victorian art glass pieces, as well as the art glass objects made by the Consolidated Lamp & Glass Company from 1893-1963 considered to be the Masters of Cased Glass in America at the time. He also will give verbal appraisals.
Admission is $10 and gives access to all three days: Friday, Feb. 23, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Feb. 24, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; and Feb. 25, 12-4 p.m. The show and sale kicks off with a preview party that isn’t included in the cost of admission to the show and sale -- Thursday, Feb. 22, at 7 p.m. Tickets to the preview party are $75, which also gives unlimited access to all three days of the show.
“Attendees come to the show and sale to shop at the dozens of richly adorned booths from some of the country’s top antiques dealers and specialists,” said Amy Autenreith, executive director of the Houston. “Visitors will find everything from pottery to furniture, books and maps to china and silver, linens, blown glass and many other artistic creations.”
She added that many of their patrons are looking forward to Mr. Jiamachello’s presentation about the Phoenix Glass Company of Monaca, Pa., and the Consolidated Lamp & Glass Company of Coraopolis, Pa., two companies which produced designs in art glass from 1883-1963.
After teaching high school French for 38 years, Mr. Jiamachello now teaches, writes about and lectures about antiques and collectibles. He started his own antiques business – Yesteryear Here – in 1981 in Essex Junction, Vt.
“All the artistry and technical expertise of the same glass makers who made the stunning pieces held by the Houston Museum, also were applied to everyday Victorian table adornments like pickle castors, spooners, celery vases, covered butters,” said Mr. Jiamachello. “I am excited to be able to view the famous ‘hanging pitcher’ collection at the Houston Museum.”
Mr. Jiamachello is a national expert in the art glass patterns made by the Consolidated Lamp & Glass Company (1893-1963) and the Phoenix Glass Company (1883-1980). This glass went far beyond the practical utilitarian function of the glass item and showcased the artistry of the glass maker and glass decorator yielding amazing objects of everlasting beauty that graced many American homes in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries.
“This technical mastery and artistry most likely will never come together to produce utilitarian art glass items again,” he added. “It’s not only cost prohibitive, but the skills of making this type of glass have been lost.”
In 1883, the Phoenix Glass Company lured Joseph Webb from England to be in charge of all glass making for them, hoping to enter the booming Victorian art glass market.
For lecture times and verbal appraisals from Mr. Jiamachello, please visit www.thehoustonmuseum.org.