"The windows were more interesting than most sermons." Toots Zynsky on her experience sitting in church as a child.
Born Mary Ann Zynsky in 1951 in Boston, Toots (as she has been called almost all her life) is one of the most widely collected living glass artists with her work in the Smithsonian, the Corning Museum of Glass, and The White House Collection of American Crafts among many other collections.
Zynsky's work -- glass vessels that are made from fine glass threads and hand shaped while hot -- is distinctive and easily recognized.
From her profile on The Wheeler Gallery web site:
In 1971, Zynsky was among the original group of glass artists who founded the now world renowned Pilchuck Glass School. She received her BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1973. In 1980, following many other creative ventures, moving to New York City, she went on the contribute her considerable energies to the founding and development of the second New York Experimental Glass Workshop (now called UrbanGlass). There she began to further explore and work with hand pulled glass threads, fusing them separately and combining them with blown forms. The origins and evolution of her current work can be directly traced back to these experiments with glass thread in the early eighties, and the pieces she created at that time.
By the end of 1982, with her guidance, a thread pulling machine was designed and built for her by a friend and colleague, enabling her to produce larger quantities of longer and finer thread, in as many colors as she chose. It was at this time that she started being able to make pieces that were entirely comprised of thousands of glass threads. Zynsky gave a name to this technique that she developed: "filet-de-verre" (or fused and thermo formed glass threads).