Spectrum Glass Update

The Great News

KSU Glass has been able to secure enough Spectrum Studio Nuggets AT THE OLD PRICE to keep our program running unchanged for the next year!

The Good News

Spectrum is selling off its formula and equipment to another manufacturer so that Spectrum Nuggets will continue to be produced and supply the glass studios around the country. In the meantime Spectrum itself has committed to Nugget production through Sept, and possibly longer.

The Bad News

This will probably mean an increase in price, which will eventually trickle down to student material fees. (Bullseye Glass has already raised their rates by 12% across the board.) However, since KSU Glass was prescient enough to act in time, that eventuality will be delayed as long as possible.

 Other Good News

KSU Glass has acquired thousands of pounds of System 96 cullet, both clear, crystal clear, and a variety of colors. This will enable us to continue to offer larger-scale glass casting to those Seniors and Graduate Students interested in economical, large-scale sculptural glass casting.

Bullseye Glass Struggles & Spectrum to Close Doors.

bullseye_logo
Bullseye Glass, one of the most popular manufacturers of studio art glass, has recently had trouble with their emissions. Here is an excerpt from their statement:

Some colors are currently suspended from production while we acquire, install, and test new equipment. These colors are made with cadmium (used for bright yellows, oranges, and reds) and chromium (used for greens). We plan to have an additional furnace for making cadmium glasses in early June, and we also plan to have the ability to produce glasses containing chromium in early August, at which time the required controls will be in place and functioning.

Read Full Letter Here.

This is happening at the same time that Spectrum Glass has been forced to announce that they are shutting their doors at the end of July 2016. Apparently the biggest factor has been economic.

Market factors have played the most significant role. Our facility was built to support product demand at the height of art glass movement, but our sales never fully recovered following the Great Recession. We have watched our sales dwindle dramatically to only 40 percent of production capacity, while overhead expenses have continued to increase. Our consistently reduced levels of sales simply cannot cover the fixed costs required to operate a facility of our size.

Full announcement here.

What this means for the glass art community in the long run is yet to be seen. Short term many studios will be caught off guard as their favorite source of affordable blowing glass (Spectrum Studio Nuggets) will be difficult (or impossible) to acquire. There are rumors that Olympic Color Rods is trying to step in and fill the gap, with inquiries into alternate vendors to keep the system going (System 96). It’s also rumored that Uroboros will be picking up colors that Spectrum was melting, but Uroboros is definitely more expensive than Spectrum, even though they’ve been working together on the System 96 line for years. Hopefully this doesn’t mark the end of an age. It would be a shame if Bullseye remained the only compatible glass system out there.

The Glass Age, Pt 1

Want to download 17,000 HD movies from NetFlix® in a single second? Use glass.

Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman introduce us to a whole new way of thinking about glass. Learn the history of glass innovation and watch incredible demonstrations of bendable optical fiber and thin, ultra-flexible glass.This is the Glass Age, where materials science is constantly pushing boundaries and creating new possibilities for glass-enabled technology and design. See how glass is shaping the future at http://www.TheGlassAge.com
Presented by Corning.

*

I first ran across this idea on a British show called QI, but it had truthfully been rattling around in my head for a while: the unique benefits bestowed by glass. Now, the Quizmaster of QI—Stephen Fry—had a different take on this, namely that the western world’s fascination with the clarity of glass led to it’s dominance in science and industry. Nevertheless, the point was made.

It is the unique property of glass that has bestowed on the modern world such prosperity. Think of population and lifespan. Major advances in medicine were mere guesswork until the invention of lens let us see that there were indeed tiny things that (contrary to common superstition) might make us sick. Glass allows light into our homes, UV light that is harmful to many pathogens that thrive in the dark and damp. Glass allows us to create lanterns (and later flashlights) that allow us to take our “torches” with us and move safely in the dark. Glass let light into the holds of ships that transported goods (and people) across oceans, transporting the raw materials that built our modern world and (more importantly) mixing and mingling the populations of the world. Glass also housed the liquid wherein sat the needle of the compasses that guided those ships.

Imagine a world without glass. No smartphone. No car windows. No windows. No TV screens. No Lightbulbs. No glasses. No wine glasses. Truly, this is the Glass Age.