|ACRO BAGS (1997), BY JOHN LITTLETON AND KATE VOGEL|
ACQUIRED FROM AN AUCTION TO BENEFIT THE SPRUCE PINE MONTESSORI SCHOOL, SPRUCE PINE, NORTH CAROLINA, DECEMBER 2001
HAND-BLOWN AND FUSED GLASS, SIGNATURE ENGRAVED ON THE BASE OF THE WORK BY BOTH ARTISTS
I acquired one of John and Kate's Bag Explosion works at the Penland Auction in August 2000, and have been very impressed by their works in glass. So, when I received a notice in the mail that a number of artists, including John and Kate, were donating works to an auction to benefit the Spruce Pine Montessori School, I resolved to take a look and see what they had to offer. When the auction began on eBay, this work immediately caught my eye. I was fortunate enough to be the winning bidder when the auction was complete.
Like the Bag Explosion, this work consists of a number of glass bags, each hand-blown and then fused together into the desired form. However, this work doesn't contain any exploding bags. Instead, its bags are perched in a way that looks rather precarious... hence the name Acro Bags, a pun on the word "acrobat". The bags in this work are blue, copper blue, and green, a color combination I find particularly appealing.
This work has an interesting history. Almost immediately after it was created in 1997, Maurine Littleton (John's sister) lent it to the US Department of State's Art in Embassies program, which places donated works of art in United States embassies all over the world. From early 1998 to mid-2001, this work resided in Brussels, Belgium, in the offices of the US ambassador to NATO, Alexander Vershbow. (Technically, he was the US permanent representative on the North Atlantic Council, but it's pretty much an ambassadorship. Mr. Vershbow is now the US ambassador to Russia.) I think it's pretty cool that this work was seen by hundreds or thousands of visitors and dignitaries during its time overseas.
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