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Featured Artist Archive > July, 2010

FEATURED ARTIST:
VIRGINIA WILSON TOCCALINO

Virginia Wilson Toccalino paperweight
Virginia Wilson Toccalino
click picture to enlarge
click picture to enlarge

Since 1984, Virginia Wilson Toccalino has worked with glass, first making stained glass panels and lamps for which her original designs won many awards. Her interest evolved into sandblasting and the skills of cutting and engraving crystal. By 1994, she was captivated by glassblowing and enrolled in the three-year glass program at Sheridan College in Oakville, Ontario, Canada.

Virginia, assisted by her husband Tony, evolved the glass cane rods for which she is known today. Initially she rented time at local hot glass shops to make her product. Later, they set up their own workshop, which over the years has been known by different names: Glas Faden, Spacesyde Hot Glass, and later, Galactic Art Glass. For nine years in the 1990's, Virginia was the resident glassblower at the Ontario Renaissance Festival — she gave glassblowing demonstrations while Tony provided an informative commentary, raising awareness of the wonders of glassblowing. Since 2006, her glass has been promoted under her own name — Virginia Wilson Toccalino — and the logo VWT, in part to avoid any connotations of factory production. Virginia and Tony complete every step in the process themselves, making their glass objects extremely personal creations.

Virginia was awarded scholarships to study with Venetian glass masters in the creation of murrini, complex cane and filigrana techniques. A background in textiles has subliminally molded her work, which is noted for its sense of style and fluidity. Specializing in techniques that were mastered by the Venetians over 500 years ago and held as closely guarded secrets for centuries, she has developed her art to incorporate various types of simple and complex glass canes and murrinis as the decorative medium on her forms. The results are linear and threadlike patterns that dance and sway on complex, shimmering works, captivating the imagination and stimulating wonder in the viewer.

A love for making glass beads at the torch in her spare time has led her to combine furnace techniques with flame working, to create unique beads and murrini. This has blossomed into creating complicated, hand-built murrinis for use in solid and blown forms made at the furnace. Her latest creations in paperweights portray the life cycle of the frog. Mortimer the Mortified Mutant Frog (see picture above) is portrayed from UV-activated glow in the dark egg murrinis through 4 stages of tadpoles, to a fully formed frog with attitude!

Virginia's glass has been exhibited widely in both juried and invitation-only exhibitions within Canada, the United States, and abroad, and is represented in private and public collections worldwide. Most notably, selections of her work are housed at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, DC, and the Claridge Collection in Montreal, Quebec.

Virginia's Galactic Art Glass Studio is located at 781 Main St. E #26-27, Milton, Ontario Canada and collectors are welcome to visit the studio. Contact Virginia by email at hotglass@xplornet.com.



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