fifth poster is a view
from Lanier Mansion window
poster adds to shows
celebration of glass art in America
(September 2012) "It cant be done.
This brief dismissal was intended to nip Harvey Littletons dream
in the bud. Instead, it became the inspiration for an entirely new art
Bill Borden poses with his work.
From the times of ancient Rome, teams of glass blowers,
each member with his own specialized role, created glass pieces for market.
Glass blowing, a highly technical skill passed to the next generation
through lengthy apprenticeship, remained through the centuries within
an industrial setting.
In 1962, Harvey Littleton changed all that.
Littleton bemoaned the increasing role of machines in glass-making and
the concurrent loss of ancient skills passed through generations of glass
blowers. Littleton wondered, If potters could make pottery with
little ovens in their garages, why couldnt glass blowers do the
That idea became the foundation of the 1962 Toledo Glass Blowing Workshop
at the Toledo Museum of Art. According to the Art Alliance for Contemporary
Glass, that workshop took glass blowing out of the factories and
into the world of art.
The 2012 Madison Chautauqua Festival of Art celebrates the 50th anniversary
of this birth of studio glass with a special emphasis on blown glass throughout
This emphasis was captured by local artist, Bill Borden,
for the 2012 Madison Chautauqua poster print. The painting offers a view
of the Lanier Mansion lawn through a window of the mansion but features
several beautiful pieces of glass resting on the window sill. Borden depicts
in vivid color the uniqueness of each glass piece, creating a window into
the art of glass-making as the theme for Chautauqua.
Bordens love for art began as a child. I started painting
in kindergarten and just never grew up, he jokes. Borden graduated
from the Cleveland Institute of Art in 1966. He went on to work for Ford
Motor Co. but kept up his love of painting throughout his career. He continuously
exhibited his work in festivals, such as the Ann Arbor (Mich.) Street
Art Fair and galleries.
When Bordens work for Ford required him to travel to Europe and
Australia, his art benefitted. I would rush out on lunch hours while
in Australia and paint post-card size paintings. Because the skies are
always changing in Melbourne, I got a lot of practice painting skies and
clouds. The colors, the atmosphere everything is different,
so I learned a different way of painting. I loved that time.
Borden moved to Hanover after retiring from Ford. I came here because
I can walk out my front door and paint. I wont live long enough
to paint all the beauty that is here, says Borden, 69.
He prefers painting his landscapes on site so he can walk around and get
a variety of perspectives on his subject. If something doesnt
make sense, I can walk around until I understand the landscape and make
the elements work.
His talent has made him a favorite choice as artist for the Madison Chautauqua
poster print. This year marks the sixth time he has been chosen
the most of anyone.
When asked how artists are chosen, Chautauqua coordinator Georgie Kelly
said the process differs depending on the year. Some years, we simply
invite local artists to submit their ideas, and the committee decides
which entry works best. This year, we knew we wanted to focus on the studio
glass in recognition of the 50th anniversary, so we wanted an artist who
could capture that theme. Choosing Bill was easy. Bill is wonderful. We
knew he could do the job.
An important job it is. Sales of the limited edition 200 posters prints
help finance all the background efforts of the Chautauqua. These include
finding and processing exhibitors, paying musicians and food vendors,
organizing a variety of volunteer teams, paying for and organizing parking
for both artists and patrons, making signs to direct patrons; producing
maps, and much more. Kelly notes that producing the Chautauqua is a year-round
effort, requiring attention to a myriad of details in a huge range of
jobs. Proceeds from the poster sales provide between $4,000 and $6,000
each year toward those efforts, she said.
Further, proceeds help fund scholarships so that budding artists from
the Madison area can go on to hone their skills with higher education
and perhaps one day become exhibitors themselves.
One scholarship recipient went to college to study piano. She has
now returned to Madison and serves on the board for Chautauqua,
Borden said he hopes people will purchase the poster prints to support
these endeavors. We have people who come each year to buy a poster
to add to their collection, he said.
Madison Chautauqua poster prints are priced
at $45 each and can be ordered online at www.VisitMadison.org purchased
at the Lanier-Madison Visitors Center, 601 W. First St. or purchased at
the Information Tent located on Broadway Street at Chautauqua while supplies
last. Call (812) 265-2956 for more information.