All Set at SOFA | Bullseye Glass Co. | Bullseye Glass Co

All Set at SOFA

Somewhere back in Portland, Oregon,  Susan, Janet and a dozen other serious-minded staffers at the Bullseye Glass Company imagine that their leader, Jim – in Chicago for Bullseye Gallery’s showing at SOFA 2009 – is working hard to uphold the supremely professional reputation of the company and the many fine artists its gallery represents.


Wrong. Made irreparably giddy by the fumes of Sherwin-Williams #7048, the normally no-nonsense Mr Jones has been buzzing about the monkey bars all morning, drunkenly painting and repainting the endless corners and angles that make up the skeleton of Michael Rogers’ Beekeeper’s Staircase.

Enough. Stop, Jim!. We’re done. Thank goodness.


Each 75-lb glass tread fits perfectly onto the steel supports and swarms upwards around the Rogers’ corner of the Bullseye booth, their bee imagery bouncing off the artist’s wall- and pedestal-work.

I am struck by the contrast of Rogers’ energetic creations with Jess Loughlin’s  serenely meditative surfaces.


I am struck, in fact, by a LOT of stuff in this space. It’s all finally come together after months of planning.  At the end of set-up I just wanted to wander around and look at it all from every angle. Here goes….

The opposite end of  the Loughlin “plank”  plunges like a visual diving board into the vertical glass slabs designed by Giles Bettison (left) and Ted Sawyer (right). To the far left, Catharine Newell’s wall-mounted triptych Murder of Crows.


Among my favorite views: Loughlin design work (foreground) collides with Loughlin artwork (background). It’s a fine line that the artist battled over …and I believe won:


But I need to back up and restate the mission of this year’s Bullseye space: Building with Light: Contemporary Glass Art + Architecture is a project intended to showcase how fine design and art in glass can be designed  into space.


The five artists we selected to work with Bullseye’s studio fabrication team on this year’s SOFA projects were: Giles Bettison, Jessica Loughlin, Catharine Newell, Michael Rogers and Ted Sawyer.

In yet another telling contrast, Sawyer’s four-part wall set Notes I-IV sits conventionally against the booth’s back wall until it runs into the return wall which is itself partially glass – and light – built by Sawyer’s 2″ thick glass slab.


Sawyer slab from the front aisle, Note I behind. Where does art end and design begin? We’re all still debating this one…as have others for ages. It’s one discussion among many that we look forward to at SOFA this year.


In the end, that’s what this whole space is to us each year: a stage for conversation, a place to meet, gather and discuss. To promote the potential of the medium and the artists on its leading edge.


PS. For those who each year berate me for my chromophobic tendencies, we are hosting adjacent to the Building With Light space, a solo exhibition of works by our favorite chromophile, master and pioneer of contemporary kiln-glass, Klaus Moje.

Klaus will be with us at SOFA and able to speak more engagingly on his work than my little Canon Powershot can hope to capture.


Now that we’re set to go, I’d like to say….

Thanks to my relentless partner Dan for his engineering (and design) brilliance; to Ted’s and Tom’s team for their long hours of calculating, cutting and firing; to the gallery team (Chris, Jeff, Michael, Ryan, Jamie, and Kay) for their months of preparation; to the inspired sensitivity of all our artists; and to Jim J. for putting up with my jerking him around SOFA Chicago 2009.

Sorry, Jim, the hardest part is still to come.

10 Responses to All Set at SOFA

  1. STUNNING! ! !

  2. silvia says:

    compliments!!!!è bellissssssimisssimo! complimenti agli artisti e a tutti voi! un bacio grande e in bocca al lupo!

  3. Susan says:

    Glad you are putting Mr. Jones to work, Lani! Sheesh, I always thought putting together a trade show booth was hard work. I can clearly see that the Art Fair Booth is much more time consuming and taxing. It’s worth it though, it looks gorgeous. We enjoyed the opening of Giles Bettison’s show here in Portland last night- he should be in Chicago soon. Have a great time!

  4. Oh, major cool. Even better than I’d hoped, in fact, when I first heard about this exhibit. I sure wish I could see it in person but the photos are wonderful. I saw Ted’s pieces down at the theatre and was struck by them then, but they really fit in this context.

    But what a huge amount of work! (And…are you sticking the treads on with VHB? Or just what–curious as usual…)

  5. What a gorgeous booth! Great job and thanks again for sharing!

  6. Love the Acid Green…. Fab. Hope you get a chance to rest soon or have a cocktail… at the very least.

  7. Lani says:

    Thanks for the support, all! We’ve survived Opening night (and a few cocktails). Good crowd.

    Cynthia, no VHB tape. The treads are grooved (1.5″ deep x 1.25″ wide) on the underside and slide down over the rails (2″ x 1″ tubing)

  8. How beautiful! You are always so elegant! Have a great show!

  9. WOW!! wow. wow again.
    Like Cynthia, I wanted to know about VHB. Cynthia knows. Lani knows it wasn’t. What is VHB? A glass sticker?
    Agree with Sarinda on the acid green- perfect foil for Giles.
    If authors/publishers of design/
    exhibition books don’t rush to photograph this, they just don’t get it. To me, it reaches the pinacle of art and design.
    For those of us who can’t be there: cut the house lights; fill your digitals with photos;
    have a LOT of cocktails.
    Best, Phelan

  10. All the work looks amazing. LOVE THOSE STAIRS. Great work Team Bullseye!

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