The MIT Museum has announced the Oct. 4 opening of "Incandescent Spirit: Page Hazlegrove," an exhibition featuring works by the late Page Hazlegrove, a renowned artist in blown glass, at the Compton Gallery from Oct. 4 through Dec. 14.
"This exhibition highlights the work of one of the true champions of the MIT Glass Lab," said Beryl Rosenthal, the museum's director of exhibitions and programs. "She was not only a beloved instructor at MIT, but she has left a true artistic legacy that will live on outside the walls of MIT."
The exhibit will feature many works from Hazlegrove's oeuvre of blown glass sculpture. She completed her B.F.A. at the Rhode Island School of Design in 1987 and later served as director of the Glass Lab in Building 4, both as an instructor and as an artist-in-residence, from 1986 until her sudden death in 1997.
The Glass Lab was originated more than 30 years ago as a result of ceramics and glass processing research in MIT's Materials Science Department. It grew out of the research effort of Professor David Kingery and Pam Vandiver, both of whom studied glass batch chemistry and processing, and it was natural to include glass-blowing as a great experience for the students.
Kingery's and Vandiver's departure from MIT meant quite a few years when the Glass Lab was not operational. In 1986, two students and a young Hazlegrove asked the new lab director whether they might use the existing glass furnace. Soon, the hot shop was back up and running, and Hazlegrove had convinced the director that the lab's sorry state could be rectified with just a few funds and a little effort. The lab is now directed by Peter Houk and has a web site.
Hazlegrove's energy, determination and love of art were responsible for reviving a dormant glass art program. She also recognized that many MIT students have an increasing desire for experiences beyond those that are purely academic or quantitative. The Glass Lab was a perfect vehicle to tap that creative side.
Glass-blowing is a coordinated effort among a team of people, and the significance of that "social" experience while working on a creative problem was something that Hazlegrove very much believed in. Much of her work explores the themes of vulnerability, protection, isolation, confinement and growth.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on September 26, 2001.