About the Artist

Virginia Wilson Toccalino
Virginia Wilson Toccalino

Virginia has been a devoted citizen of the glass world since 1982, the year she first laid her hands on stained glass. She experimented with the medium for 12 years, before being inspired to study other aspects of glass making. Virginia’s interest in glassblowing was sparked while taking an engraving course at a local college. She could not resist the lure of the glass blowing studio and immediately enrolled full time in the college’s intensive, three year glass program. Since graduating, she has been rewarded numerous grants and scholarships.

Virginia specializes in techniques that were mastered by the Venetians and held as closely guarded secrets for centuries. Working as a team with her husband Tony, she has developed her art to incorporate various types of simple and complex glass canes as the decorative medium on her forms.  What follows are linear and threadlike patterns that dance and sway on shimmering works, captivating the imagination and stimulating wonder in the viewer.

I feel a magical connection to the entire process of blowing glass. My spirit is nourished and enthralled by the fiery glow of the furnace as it transforms silica sand into clear molten crystal at 2400/F. The substance itself, a kind of primordial, slow-moving liquid, capable of being formed and molded with the breath of life, inspires in me a wellspring of creative energy. To transfer such energy takes exact timing and balance, a fluidity and adaptability of movement not unlike that of molten glass itself; in a very real sense, the artist must become one with the glass. In the end, the glass cools, and what was a dynamic, creative process becomes, in essence, frozen in time; and nothing is more fulfilling than looking at a finished piece and being able to sense my energy suspended within.

“Nature’s colors and shapes whisper softly into my pieces. Patterns of creation subtly inform my work.   My rods of glass have been compared to strands of DNA, the building blocks of life itself.  I find it fitting to use them exclusively in my works that are molded by my experiences and inspired by my dreams.”

Virginia’s glass has been exhibited widely in both juried and invitation only exhibitions within Canada and the United States. She is represented in private and public collections throughout North America and abroad.

EDUCATION
1993-96 Sheridan College School of Crafts and Design, Oakville, Ontario, Glass Program

SCHOLARSHIPS, GRANTS & SPECIAL STUDIES
2006    -Ontario Crafts Council, Tucker’s Pottery Supplies Grant
2005    -Ontario Crafts Council, Tucker’s Pottery Supplies Grant
1999    -Ontario Crafts Council, Diana Crawford Award for Excellence
-Canada Council for the Arts, Creation/ Production Grant
1998    -Ontario Arts Council, Creation/ Production Grant
-Ontario  Crafts  Council  Scholarship for  further study with Lino  Tagliapietra        and Gianni Toso at The Studio of the Corning Museum of Glass, Corning, NY
1996    -Ontario Crafts Council, Volunteer Committee Scholarship to study two weeks   with  William Gudenrath ‘Glassblowing in the Venetian Style’ at The Studio of the Corning Museum of Glass, Corning, NY, July 1996
-Full scholarship from The Corning Museum of Glass, Corning NY to study one week with Ruth King, ‘Technique and Beyond’ August 1996
-Work study grant, Mary B. Bishop/Francis S. Merrit Scholarship Fund, to study
1995    -The Making of Cane and Murrini and their use in Blown Forms’ for two weeks with Dick Marquis and Ruth King at the Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, Deer Isle, Maine, August, 1995

WORKSHOPS TAKEN
2005    -Flame working using Ultimate Detail with Loren Stump
2004    -Glassblowing with Elio Quarisa workshop
2000    -Glassblowing: Developing an Historical Foundation with Alan Goldfarb, The                           Studio of the Corning Museum of Glass, Corning, NY
1995    -Glass Sculpture with Karen Willenbrink, Red Deer College,    Red Deer, Alberta ,
-Goblet Making with Mark Wiener, Mississauga, ON
-Intermediate Glassblowing with Andrew Kuntz, Sheridan College, Oakville, ON
-Glassblowing Technique with Unto Suomenen, Sheridan College, Oakville, ON
-Glass Sculpture with Karen Willenbrink, Sheridan College, Oakville, ON
-Glass Travels with Norm Faulkner, Sheridan College, Oakville, ON
-Glassblowing with Ian Forbes, Sheridan College, Oakville, ON

WORKSHOPS GIVEN
-Introduction to Glassblowing, Galactic Art Glass Studio, Milton, ON
-Introduction to Flameworking, Galactic Art Glass Studio, Milton, ON

DEMONSTRATIONS, RESIDENT ARTIST
Ontario Renaissance Festival, Resident Glassblower, demonstrating traditional and nontraditional glassblowing techniques with information narrative. 1996-2003, Milton, ON Weekends during July and August

Various Private Demonstrations at our studio for Paperweight Collectors Group and Glassfax Group at our shop Galactic Art Glass Studio in Milton On.

Resident artist at the Living Arts Centre Mississauga On. 1997- 1999

LECTURES GIVEN
2012     Artist Lecture and Slide Presentation,Fine Arts Society, Milton On
2011     Artist Lecture and Slide Presentation, Toronto Bead Society,  , Toronto , ON
2011     Filigree Glass and Murrini Lecture and Slide Presentation at PCA Ontario,            meeting, Toronto ON
2011     Visiting Artist Lecture and Slide Presentation, Deleware Valley Paperweight   Collector Meeting, Ambler, PA,
2011     Lunch and Learn Slide Presentation, PCA Inc. Convention, Washington,DC, USA
2010     Lunch and Learn Slide Presentation, Paperweight Weekend, Wheaton Village, NJ, USA
2008     Lunch and Learn Slide Presentation, Paperweight Weekend, Wheaton Arts, NJ, US
2007     How Cane and Marbles are Made, Wallaceburg Museum, Wallaceburg, ON
2007     ROM 7th Annual Brocklebank Paperweight Lecture, Toronto, ON
2007     Paperweight Connoisseur’s Morning at the ROM, Toronto, ON
2006     Lunch and Learn, Paperweight Weekend, Wheaton Village, NJ, USA
 
TV SHOW FEATURED ARTIST
How It is Made Discovery Channel Season 16 Episode 1 Millefiore Paperweights
How It is Made Discovery Channel Season 16 Episode 5 Filigree Glass

BIBLIOGRAPHY
Block, Mark P.  The Encyclopedia of Modern Marbles, Spheres, & Orbs. Atglen,PA  Shciffer Publishing Ltd. 2005  ISBN  0-7643-2294-X

Dohan, Andrew H. The Dictionary of Signature Cane Inclusions: Paperweights, Beads, Buttons , Marbles: Identification and Dating Volume 2 with full Restatement of, and Errata and Supplements to Dictionary of Paperweight Signature Canes Volume 1, CD, 2007

Musselwhite, Brian, Glass Worlds, Paperweights from the ROM’s Collection, Ottawa, Ontario, Tri Graphic Printing, 2007 ISBN978-0-88854-449-0

Paperweight  Collectors Association, Inc.,Annual Bulletin of the Paperweight Collectors Association, Inc, 2009  ISBN 978-0-9748948-5-0

Paperweight  Collectors Association, Inc.,Annual Bulletin of the Paperweight Collectors Association, Inc  2008  ISBN 978-0-9748948-4-3

Paperweight  Collectors Association, Inc.,Annual Bulletin of the Paperweight Collectors Association, Inc, 2007 ISBN 978-0-9748948-3
A. Trinidad Jr., Glass Bells from Around the World 2010 ISBN: 978-0-7643-3488-7
Library of Congress control # 2009940100

PERMANENT COLLECTIONS
Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, ON
Claridge Collection, Montreal, Quebec
Smithsonian Institute, Washington, DC
Many private paperweight and marble collections

g&t

 Tony Toccalino

Tony spent over twenty years in the custom contracting industry, building and designing one-off proposals using log fitting and timber framing techniques. He was involved in projects ranging from solariums to eco-friendly and efficient homes. During this time he cultivated an excellent sense of scale and balance, and developed an understanding for how the blending and complementing of individual components relate to the total picture of a given project. These are skills that Tony has successfully applied to his work as a glass blower.

He was introduced to glass in 1982 when his wife, Virginia, became interested in the medium. Since then, he has graciously assumed a role of positive reinforcement in support of her endeavors, helping and participating whenever possible. Tony has taken several courses in glassblowing, flame working and murrini making. However, he has benefited most from working closely with his wife and partner in the production of Venetian style filigrana cane and murrini.

ARTIST STATEMENT

My transition to the glass medium has been a long and steady learning curve. I am attracted by the complexities of the material itself and the vast array of colors available. Combining multiple colors in a fluid yet stable manner is a perpetual challenge that I find absorbing. A finished piece genuinely excites me, particularly when viewed and handled for the first time. Continually innovating new products, designs, and color applications in ways that identify Ginny and me to the world of collectors and enthusiasts is truly rewarding work. I find it comforting to think that the beauty we create will live on through the ages, long after we are both gone. I believe that glass has an almost eternal quality. In works of glass art we see a persistence of color, contour and clarity that, in relation to human life, is free from the effects of time. It is this sense of timelessness that really inspires me as a glass artist.

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